Friday, May 22, 2015

Newbery Contender for 2016

Ok, I have another potential award winner for you!  Seems like they are cropping up all over the place this year.  It is certainly shaping up to be an exciting time in kid's literature.  2015 if overrun with potential winners and historical fiction is seeing a resurgence.  This always makes me so happy.  I love it when kids get a little history lesson with their compelling narrative.  A win/win I like to call it!

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Title: Echo

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about:  
Three sisters are trapped in the woods by a witch’s spell.  Their only hope of escape is a harmonica which must save a life in order for them to be released,  The reader follows the path of the harmonica from Otto, a boy lost in the woods, to Friedrich, a German boy during World War II.  Just as we find Friedrich about to be taken by the Nazis, the harmonica moves to an orphanage in Philidelphia two years later where Mike and his brother are searching for a family.  Just when it seems that they will never find a new home and peril will befall them, the harmonica moves seven years in time to California with a Hispanic girl whose family is looking for a better life.  As the fate of her brother who is fighting in the war is about to be revealed, we learn how this harmonica has changed the lives of all the people it has touched.

Why I love this book: 
This book requires us to be invested in the lives of four characters whose stories are heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.  Each story leaves you on the edge of your seat as a new one begins, only providing resolution in the final few chapters.

I love historical fiction and this one deftly delved into Germany during the war, the US before they were involved in WW II as well as the Japanese internment and the early plight of the Hispanic community in California.  I was wholeheartedly caught up in each story and their beautiful resolution made the journey a satisfying one.

Who this book is for: 
This is a hard one for me.  This book is 587 pages and it looks scary.  However the print inside is large so it reads much faster than it’s girth implies, but I can see kids getting intimidated.  This is one of those books that will require a little intervention to get kids to pick it up but they will be happy they did.  My son is reading it for school literature circles and was quite caught up in the story, so with some encouragement I think kids will take to the story.

Final thoughts:
This one will be talked about come awards season.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Echo  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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