Pam Muñoz Ryan: Getting Readers to Turn the Page

Episode 27 · December 5th, 2016 · 25 mins 10 secs

About this Episode

Pam Muñoz Ryan, the celebrated and critically acclaimed author of Esperanza RisingThe Dreamer, and Riding Freedom, among many others, joins us in the studio today with her editor, Tracy Mack, to talk about her writing process, the genesis of her latest New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor novel, Echo, and why so many of her novels contain themes of social justice. 

Additional Resources:

About Echo:

Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.


  • Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestseller, Echo, as well as the recipient of the Kirkus Prize, the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books for young readers. Her celebrated novels, Esperanza RisingRiding FreedomBecoming Naomi LéonPaint the Wind, and The Dreamer, have received numerous accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and an Americas Award. Ryan's acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Rideand When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Kirkus Reviews described Echo as "a grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance." Ryan lives near San Diego, California with her family. You can visit her at
  • Tracy Mack is a vice president and publisher at Scholastic, and Pam Muñoz Ryan's editor.

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Emily Morrow