I don’t often re-visit the children’s books I’ve read, but Echo Mountain is worth taking a second dip. In 1930’s post-depression era Maine Ellie is the middle child of a white family displaced by the depression that moved to the mountains to start fresh. Ellie’s father has been in a coma after an accident for which Ellie has been silently (and mistakenly) blamed by her elder sister and her mother. The family has been in survival mode ever since, with both Ellie’s mother and older sister fervently wishing to return to the town they left.
This tale has all the elements I love in books: a strong girl main character whose strength lies in learning about healing, dogs, bees, nature, a scary/not-scary old lady in a rickety old house, naming and not naming, claiming and not claiming spaces, truth and consequences, and growing. This is one of those great books that I think fans of James Herriot’s books, fans of historical fiction, and fans of books like A Girl of the Limberlost would enjoy. It has the feel of a classic and the writing is excellent. Highly recommended as a read-alone or family read-aloud for ages 7 – 12.