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Island of the Blue Dolphins

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Overview

The gripping story of young Karana, who survives by herself for eighteen years on a deserted island off the California coast.

Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.

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Overview

The gripping story of young Karana, who survives by herself for eighteen years on a deserted island off the California coast.

Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1961, this story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an island off the coast of California, still fascinates young readers. Her survival story-fighting the wild dogs and loneliness, hunting for food, and hoping to be rescued-is spellbinding. 1996 (orig.
From the Publisher
"A haunting and unusual story based on the fact that in the early 1800s an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone on a rocky island far off the coast of California . . . A quiet acceptance of fate characterizes her ordeal." School Library Journal, Starred

"O'Dell tells the miraculous story of how Karana forages on land and in the ocean, clothes herself (in a green-cormorant skirt and an otter cape on special occasions), and secures shelter. Perhaps even more startlingly, she finds strength and serenity living alone on the island. This beautiful edition of Island of the Blue Dolphins is enriched with 12 full-page watercolor paintings by Ted Lewin, illustrator of more than 100 children's books, including Ali, Child of the Desert. A gripping story of battling wild dogs and sea elephants, this simply told, suspenseful tale of survival is also an uplifting adventure of the spirit." Amazon.com

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
This 50th Anniversary Edition contains the same, beloved, classic story of Karana and her epic adventure of surviving on a Pacific island by herself for 18 years. The difference is that this edition begins with an Introduction by Lois Lowry. In it, Lowry recaps what is known about the real Karana, a woman who came to be known as Juana Maria, although she never answered to that name because she did not share a common language with anyone on the mainland of California. Lowry provides additional details to the Author's Note included in every edition of the book. For example, she tells readers that a Russian American trading company landed on the island of San Nicolas in 1811 to hunt sea otters, possibly setting off a chain reaction of human massacres. She also recounts the many stories or versions of why Karana ended up remaining behind when the rest of her people left on a schooner sponsored by the Santa Barbara Mission. Lowry includes musings and commentary about O'Dell's writing. She wonders at his ability to tell such a rich story with only one human character, and she regrets that she had not asked him a multitude of questions about the craft of his writing while he was still alive. Lowry as well as readers will have to be content with savoring the story itself and letting some of the mysteries and questions behind it remain unanswered. In 1982, O'Dell established the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, whose annual $5,000 prize is given to recognize meritorious work published for children or young adults. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
This beautiful edition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the book's original publication in 1960. A welcome addition is the introduction by Lois Lowry, providing background on the historical events which inspired this story, and some thoughtful questions about O'Dell's interpretation of those events. Although this was O'Dell's first YA novel, it garnered him the Newbery Medal and he went on to receive the Hans Christian Andersen medal for his body of work. Readers meet 12-year-old Karana, the sole survivor of a tribe of indigenous people inhabiting a remote island about seventy miles southwest of Santa Barbara. After otter hunters and wild dogs kill off most of her people, Karana becomes self-sufficient and protects herself against wild animals, the weather, and potential intruders. Karana first tries to kill and then befriends Rantu, the leader of the dog pack, who becomes her beloved companion. This opens the door to her shifting view of all the animals on the island as more than just food, but spiritual beings with whom she may live in harmony. When at last Karana is rescued from the island and taken to the mission in Santa Barbara, she remains alone, because no one is alive who understands her language. It is a touching story of resilience and determination in the face of astounding obstacles. This new edition can foster rediscovery of a compelling character and enhance social science lessons about indigenous peoples, the role of missionaries in colonization, and California history. Readers will be impressed by Karana's strength, resourcefulness and her survival skills. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440439882
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/1987
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott O'Dell was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 1898. He attended Occidental College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford University, and University of Rome. He worked as a technical director for Paramount, a cameraman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and a book editor of a Los Angeles newspaper before serving in the United States Air Force during World War II. The recipient of numerous book awards, he established the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction in 1981. He died on October 15, 1989.
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Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Island of the Blue Dolphins

There are no trees on the island except the small ones stunted by the
wind. When a log came ashore, as happened once in a long time, it was
always carried to the village and worked on where a chance wave could
not wash it away. That the men were sent to hollow out the log in the
cove, and to sleep beside it during the night, meant that they were there
to watch the Aleuts, to give the alarm should Captain Orlov try to sail
off without paying us for the otter skins.

Everyone was afraid he might, so besides the men in the cove who watch
the Aleut ship, others kept watch on the camp.

Every hour someone brought news. Ulape said that the Aleut woman spent
a whole afternoon cleaning her skin aprons, which she had not done before
while she had been there. Early one morning, Ramo said he had just seen
Captain Orlov carefully trimming his beard so that it looked the way it
did when he first came. The Aleuts who sharpened the log spears stopped
this work and gave all their time to skinning the otter which were brought
in at dusk.

We in the village of Ghalas-at knew that Captain Orlov and his hunters
were getting ready to leave the island. Would he pay us for the otter
he had slain or would he try to sneak away in the night? Would our men
have to fight for our rightful share?

These questions everyone asked while the Aleuts went about their preparations
—everyone except my father, who said nothing, but each night worked
on the new spear he was making.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 899 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(571)

4 Star

(155)

3 Star

(68)

2 Star

(35)

1 Star

(70)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 900 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    Never forgot the story!

    I read this book when I was in 4th grade. That was 15 years ago and I still remember the story from beginning to end. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading and the knowledge that can be gained from it.

    64 out of 73 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    Forever will be a classic

    I remember reading Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was eleven. Recently I found my old copy, dusted it off, and started from the beginning. I could not put the book down. It was just as fresh to me as it was twenty-five years earlier. This is a book all ages can enjoy. I'm looking forward to reading it to my daughter in a few years. Scott O' Dell beautifully created a strong female protagonist that figured out a way to survive against the odds.

    39 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    I recomend this book!

    Island of the Blue Dolphins is a very good book. I love books that have the ocean in them. The book tells the story of a girl named Karona. She is left on the island for 18 years. While she is waiting for a ship to come get her she must build shelter, gather and hunt food, and fight her enemies the wild dogs. I thought this book would be a regular old book with a beggining, middle, and an end. I sure was wrong! Karona even befriended a wild dog! I recomend this book for ages 9 and up. If you are younger than 9, and you like true stories you will enjoy this book.

    32 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    "It was the blue dolphins that brought her home..." Well, I wish they had taken me away from this awful book too...

    I often wonder why in the world certain books have won the prized golden sticker, aka, for all of you out there that dont know what i am talking about, the Newberry. the Oscars of the book world, minus the red carpet. Criss Cross is in my opinion, the best newberry ever, right up there with Holes and The Tale of Desperaux. The worst, is the blasted Witch of Blackbird Pond and...this one. This whole book, a Robinson Crusoe/Castaway tale of an Indian girl who is living alone at an island for 18 years, is mostly a tell book...the character, Karana, has no emotion, no feeling whatsoever. This is mostly what i hated about this novel. It's approx 200 pages felt like 2,000 pages becuase of how dull and lackluster it was. No emotion, no feeling. You would think the poor girl would be heartbroken, no? Well, she isnt at all. Every chapter is her making a speat or sewing a skirt or sailing down the river. This gets very dull after 100 pages of it. I was bored to death, sadly.
    Content....everything is okey dokey. No sex or language. There is some mild violence and thematic elements.
    This could have been such a great novel. But This book lacked depth, and the most important ingredient in every children's book...a little spice called feeling. without that one thing, everything else just comes out tasteless and burnt.

    **Thanks for reading my review! Please mark it as helpful and check out my other reviews! Thanks so much and God bless!**

    24 out of 83 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Definitely Recommended

    Author Scott O'Dell tells the story of Karana, an Indian girl living alone on the Island of Blue Dolphins. It is a fantastic story of survival as we travel with Karana on her quest to survive, forge for food, clothe herself, and seek shelter on the beautiful island. A very good read. Definitely recommended. Perfect for passing the time.

    20 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One of the reasons I love historical fiction!

    My favorite book from childhood, based on the true story of a young American-Indian marooned on a deserted island for 18 years. Her resourcefulness, strength and keen observation of nature make this book a must read! Enjoyable for all ages!

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    This is the BEST BOOK EVER BEST BOOK EVER!

    This book is about a Indian Princess who was left behind when the rest of her village left after a terrible tragidy toke thelives of many of the braves (men) inclouding her father the chief. She learn how to survive on her own wether she is rescued from the island is for you to find out. Injoy the book I know I did. Island of The Blue Dolfins is a very good book for teenagers, young adults, and kids. This is a book with no bad language curseing swearing or anything that a parent would not approve of there kid reading, I myself being a

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    An amazing book !

    10 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    Dont give it a bad rating!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To people who say this book is bad STOP IT NOW. Anyhow this book is so great i had to say that

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    OMG I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It was a really fun true story this girl has to survive by herself on a island for 18 years I absoulutely LOVE IT !!!!!! please read it it is totally whorth it

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Awesome

    I love this book. It is one of the best books ive ever read and I have read a lot of books!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Um.....

    I had chosen this book to read for school and i compleatly regreted it i was forgeting what i was reading! But by the time i was inn the middle it was ok but not a real page turner so i recommend this to ppl who really x5 like reading

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2010

    Excellent

    It was a good book. I enjoyed it a lot. Every word I read I became more intrigued into the story.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    A great book

    This book ims amazing!! Highly suggested!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Island of the blue dolphins

    I ? this book. It is about a girl who gets left on an island alone and must survive.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    AMAZOI AMAZING BOOK

    I could not put this book down

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    loveit

    this book is amazing read it please you will love and im 11

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Uggg

    I have to read this book for school and disliked it feel asleep teice ehile reading it

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Dumb

    I had to read this stupid book at school but it was kinda good

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Island of blue dolphins

    I love i you need to read this.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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