74 pages 2 hours read

Pam Muñoz Ryan


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2015

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


Teacher Introduction


  • Genre: Fiction; Historical fiction, children's
  • Originally Published: 2015
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 680L; Grades 4-7
  • Structure/Length: Four interconnected stories; approximately 592 pages; approximately 10 hours, 3 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novel weaves together the stories of three young protagonists—Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California—across different time periods. Each of them discovers a magical harmonica that has the power to change lives. As the harmonica travels through time, it influences the characters’ destinies and connects their stories in unexpected ways. The central conflict revolves around the characters’ individual challenges and aspirations, as well as the role of music and destiny in their lives.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Death; World War II; Naziism; eugenics; concentration and “internment” camps; loss of parents; child labor; racism and discrimination

Pam Muñoz Ryan, Author

  • Bio: Born 1951; American author known for her children’s and young adult novels; recognized for her ability to tackle complex themes through engaging storytelling; has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to children’s literature; committed to promoting literacy and diversity; Echo remains one of her most acclaimed works and is celebrated for its combination of history, music, and fantasy
  • Other Works: Esperanza Rising (2000); Becoming Naomi León (2004); Paint the Wind (2007); The Dreamer (2010); Echo (2015)
  • Awards: The Kirkus Prize (2015); NAPPA Gold Award (2015); SCIBA Middle Grade Book of the Year (2015); Newbery Honor (2016); New York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize (2016); Américas Award (2016)