Downloadable Literature Guides

You can purchase the Kids Wings' 112 page Literature Guide PLUS an interactive Jeopardy-type game for Echo, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, an immediate download for only $19.95!
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Newbery Honor Book
A Texas Bluebonnet Nominee

Echo is a symphony of four stories. The introduction is a fantasy. The others are historical fiction, all connected by one musical instrument whose power saddens, comforts, revives, cheers, rejoices, and provides hope in the hands that hold it.

This first story begins in Germany, fifty years before the war to end all wars. Otto Messenger had just bought a book from a Gypsy who insisted he take a harmonica as well. He then hurries to play hide-and-seek with his friends in a forest. It isn't long before he becomes entangled in a fairy tale in which three infant princesses are rejected by their king-father, taken in by a witch, and eventually put under a spell that condemned them to stay in the forest until a prophesy is fulfilled. It is then that Otto Messenger meets the three princesses. Will he be able to break their spell? What part of fulfilling the prophesy will he have? Can he himself return to the real world?

In 1933, fifteen years later in the same country, the second story begins. Young Friedrich Schmitt and his family find themselves threatened by the rise of Nazism, led by Adolph Hitler, the evil Chancellor of Germany. Born a gifted musician Friedrich enjoys playing chamber music with his family and working in a harmonica factory. One day, he finds what he imagines to be an enchanted harmonica in an old warehouse. Admired by its mature tone and unique, magical sound, it provides him hours of comfort and hope. However, with an obvious physical deformity, Friedrich is rejected and abused by those who chose to bow to Hitler's new laws dictating that Germany become a pure society with no physical defects. Hitler also declares Jewish people to be enemies of the state, a fact that Friedrich's father opposes vehemently because many of their friends, coworkers, and musical colleagues are Jews. Even their dentist and their grocer are Jews. Will Friedrich be in danger because of his physical deformity? What will Friedrich do when his own sister comes home from college and announces that she has joined Hitler's League of Girls? What will his father say? Will their family, too, bow down to Hitler's evil power or stand against him and risk arrest and incarceration in Dachua?

The third story begins in an orphanage in the United States of America in 1935 during The Great Depression. Two brothers are being raised by their grandmother who allows them to sit beside her while she teaches piano lessons. The boys become accomplished pianists. When Granny gets sick, she looks for the best orphanage for the boys and settles for Bishop's Home for Friendless and Destitute Children, convinced by the old piano in the Visiting Room. One night, the whistling notes of "America the Beautiful" wind their way into a dismal dorm room where young Mike Flannigan awakes suddenly upon hearing his little brother's "mergency" signal. Frankie anxiously shares the news he has heard. People are coming to adopt boys in the morning! It will turn out to be another disaster for the boys who are desperate to stay together and to escape the disease and filthy living conditions of the orphanage. Even the home's beloved piano is in jeopardy of being sold so the evil director can pocket the money. A few days later, two well-dressed lawyers representing a rich widow come to listen to Mike play the piano. After a brief meeting with the boys, they sign adoption papers and take the boys to their new mansion home. However, the two boys turn out to be an unwelcome surprise for Mrs. Sturbridge, their adoptive mother. Taken under wing by her employees, the Potters, the boys learn to master harmonicas even as Mike fears that the orphanage might once again be in their future. Will a newspaper ad from Hoxie's Harmonica Wizards be another empty promise?

The fourth story in the Echo symphony, set in a barrio of California in 1942. World War II is raging. Ivy, the daughter of a Mexican farm worker lives in the music she plays on her harmonica. Her teacher has chosen Ivy to play a harmonica solo on a radio program. She and her parents wait daily for a letter from her brother who is fighting in the war. When her father announces that he has a job opportunity in Fresno to become the caretaker of a farm that belongs to a Japanese family who has been moved into a Japanese Relocation Camp. Ivy, like the Japanese-Americans, finds herself met with prejudice and bigotry. Hoping to join the school's orchestra, Ivy is disappointed. New Mexican students, assumed to have low skills and poor English, are relegated to a separate area to build basic skills. Ivy is bored and used as a tutor. Her dreams of playing in the orchestra dissolve into disappointment. What can change Ivy's future? Why do different flags appear in windows of her community? Will her brother return from the war? Will the Japanese farmer return?

After three of the stories, students are given the opportunity to write the last chapter as a conclusion in the Kids Wings literature guide. Going through the writing process, students will share their conclusions and compare them to those in the last chapter of Echo that provides the surprising ribbon to tie the four stories together.

The Kids Wings literature guide for this Newbery Honor Book Echo extends the enjoyment of surprising literary symphony that weaves three crucial, dangerous periods of world history. The Kids' Wings literature guide invites youngsters to participate in group discussion, problem solving, research, skill building, authentic writing, printable/projectable group activities, and a culminating interactive Jeopardy-type game. Echo will become a celebrated addition to every classroom and library.

Research Links
for Echo


Hitler's Germany
Timeline of World War II in Europe

Eyewitness to History

Hoxie’s Harmonica Wizards
Sousa’s Harmonica Wizard March and the Orange Blossom Special

The Relocation of Japanese-Americans

Children of the Camps

Preparation for the Mock Trial of Mrs. Pennypacker
in the Kids Wings Literature Guide
The Trial of Goldilocks (an example of a mock trial)
A Principal on Trial (an example of a mock trial)

A unit PLUS interactive Jeopardy-type game, perfect for lesson planning, handouts, or projection on your SmartBoard for Echo is NOW available

The Activity Guide Contains:

Introduction and Fairy Tale:

Overview Discussion Cards
Fly Over! A Bird’s Eye View
Fairy Tale Vocabulary Game
The Prophecy, A 3-page Readers' Theater Script
Preparing Your Intellectual Tools, Dialectical Journal
Vocabulary by Chapters in Introduction
Making Connections, Predict and Confirm Questions—Fairy Tale Introduction
A Fairy Tale Introduction, Multiple Choice

Part 1

Discussion Cards for Nazi Germany
Where in the World Is Germany? Map Activities
The Power of Music
Friedrich’s Story Begins, A 2-page Readers' Theater Script
Vocabulary in Part 1, Chapters 1-26
Making Connections--Chapters 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-15, 16-21, 22-26
Chapter Titles and Pre- and Post-Reading Discussion Guides

Beginning of Change, Part 1, Chapters 1-3, Multiple Choice
5 Character Studies
Figures of Speech! Get the Picture?

The Research Song
Research and Report:
Who Was Mattias Hohner?
Who Was Adolph Hitler?
Dachau, A Research Report

The Factory, Answer and Illustrate, Chapters 4-6
Startling Revelations, Multiple Choice, Chapters 7-9
Defending What I Believe
Visualizing Chapters 10-15
Vocabulary Check-up, Chapters 16-21
Echoes of Hitler’s Germany, Visualizing Chapters 1-26
The Missing Ending, Chapter 27

Part 2
Discussion Cards
Mike’s Story Begins, 3-page Readers' Theater Script
Vocabulary in Part 2, Chapters 1-23
Making Connections, Part 2, Chapters 1-5, 6-11, 12-15, 16-20, 21-24
Titles and Pre- and Post-Reading Discussion Guides
Part 2, Chapters 1-5, Multiple Choice
6 Character Studies
Part 2: Visualizing Chapters 6-11
Understanding the Story, Part 2, Chapters 12-15, Multiple Choice & Short Answer
Hoxie’s Harmonica Wizards: A Research Report
Part 2: The Missing Ending, Chapter 25

Part 3
Pre-reading Discussion Cards
Vocabulary List with Suggestions
Making Connections, Part 3, Chapters 1-5, 6-11, 12-15, 16-21
Titles and Pre- and Post-Reading Discussion Guides
Part 3: The Missing Ending, Chapter 22
Visualizing Chapters 1-5, Part 3
Character Studies
Research and Report: "My Country Tis of Thee"
The Yamamoto Family, Part 3, Chapter 6: Finish the Sentences
A Growing Friendship, Part 3, Chapters 7-10, Multiple Choice
Discovery, Relief, and Dread, Part 3, Chapters 16-21

Part 4
From Precipice to Performance, Part 4, Finalization Chart
Comparing Four Characters
Fly Over! A Bird’s Eye View, Completed Teacher Answer Page

Plus, an interactive Jeopardy-type game!

5 Categories, 25 Questions and Answers PLUS a Bonus Question


Literary Connections:

Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald, the story of the Nazi Invasion of France
Weedflower, A Japanese-American Family's Move to Interment Camps
Someone Named Eva,, A full-length Holocaust novel by Joan M. Wolf
The Yellow Star, The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark
by Carmen Agra Deedy
The Greatest Skating Race
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, a picture book by Margot Theis Raven
Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan

On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck,
the story of the American Home Front during World War II

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, the story of life in Stalin's Russia
(another evil dictator)


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Check out our complete list of Kids Wings terrific units.

Over 1000 more downloadable interdisciplinary Literature Guides for
Grades K-12 are available in the Kids Wings Index of Literature Guides.

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