Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, three children– Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California– find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.
It’s been said that music has the power to heal and Ryan’s historical fiction novel is proof of that statement. This story follows a magical harmonica as it is passed on through the lives of three very different children all facing a dark time in history. The subjects of the Holocaust, the Great Depression, racism, and internment camps are not easy to discuss for young readers, but this story is able to present them while maintaining optimism in the face of despair. I personally enjoyed that the author focused on a song in each story that encapsulated time and place to help the reader with the setting of each story within a story. So whether it’s Brahms’ “Lullaby,” “America the Beautiful,” “Auld Lang Syne” or “Some Enchanted Evening,” let the music of Echo fill you with hope despite all odds.