Newbery Prediction #6: Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
Please note that each title is appearing in no specific order other than publication date and that it is physically impossible for us to choose just ONE title to receive the Newbery medal, therefore we have narrowed it down to our top 10!
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Summary from the publisher:
When the Great Depression takes almost everything they own, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.
Determined to help her father, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal and, with them, a fresh chance at happiness.
Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Newbery Honor- and Scott O’Dell Award-winning author Lauren Wolk weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families, set against the rough and ragged beauty of the mountain they all call home.
Why have we chosen this title?
First off, let us begin this post by mentioning that if you haven’t picked up a middle grade book by Lauren Wolk, now is the time to do so.
Her first middle grade instant classic Wolf Hollow tells the story of an incredibly smart and brave female protagonist that is determined to set the record straight about a local bully that has gone missing. Think To Kill a Mockingbird, the value of the story focusing on honesty and injustice. After that came Beyond the Bright Sea, another incredibly brave and smart 12-year-old female protagonist determined to find the missing pieces of her story and where she truly came from. The main focus really being on the true meaning of family and the path of discovery and danger that curiosity can sometimes lead you down.
Now we dive into Echo Mountain, which I must say might be my absolute favorite of the three (so far of course). It reads almost as if it has some magic to it. The landscape, timeframe and characters all have this incredible ability to truly be a part of the story. The mountain itself seems to have this eerie, fairytale like mysticism and wonder to it. Just like in her previous two, this is the story of yet another wonderfully, unforgettable brave heroine that is on a new journey of self-discovery. She embraces this incredible new natural world that the Great Depression has displaced her and her family into. However, when her father slips into a coma, it is up to Ellie to make it right. Wolk’s incredible setting descriptions, character development and uncanny ability to make a reader feel as if they have time travelled back into the past and have been placed right next to the protagonist in the story makes it (just like her others) an instant classic and a treasure to have on your shelves for a reader to discover.