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Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960)

by Scott O'Dell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Island of the Blue Dolphins (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,876273291 (3.9)326
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.
  1. 90
    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (gilberts)
  2. 90
    Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (snapdragongirl)
    snapdragongirl: Hatchet is also a survivalist book for young adults. It is about a boy who crash lands in a forest. His only tool is a hatchet.
  3. 50
    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (changsbooks)
  4. 30
    Zia by Scott O'Dell (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: Zia is the sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins
  5. 30
    The Cay by Theodore Taylor (bookymouse)
  6. 20
    A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer (foggidawn)
  7. 10
    A Wild Thing by Jean Renvoize (weener)
    weener: These are both excellent tales of young women surviving on their own who find a measure of peace in their solitude.
  8. 10
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (changsbooks)
  9. 00
    Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (wordcauldron)
  10. 00
    Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse (wordcauldron)
  11. 00
    The Iceberg Hermit (Point) by Arthur Roth (wordcauldron)
    wordcauldron: Same concept, except with a boy, a polar bear, and an "island" of ice.

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» See also 326 mentions

English (271)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (273)
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
This book has stayed with me for over 30 years, both figuratively and literally. In middle school, I borrowed it from the school library over and over again. When I started to do babysitting in my neighborhood, I was able to buy books of my very own, and this is one of the first (if not the first) books I bought with my own money at a tiny bookstore in a local mall (I spent so much of my money there!). I still have it today, even though the cover is torn and worn, the pages are yellowed with age, and the binding is delicate. I revisit it every few years and I still love it as much today as I did when I was a teenager. It's an inspiring story of survival, courage, and resourcefulness. You feel like you are right there with Karana as she builds her house, learns to make weapons, chooses to go against the rules of her tribe so that she can eat and protective herself, and makes friends with animals all over the island. ( )
  wordcauldron | Jun 19, 2020 |
Karana lives on one of the islands of the coast of what is now California with her people when Aleuts and a white man arrive on the island and want to fish. The arrivals treacherously steal from the people and when they protest, a fight breaks out leaving many men dead. Another ship arrives later, they decide to leave, but Karana gets left behind and stays on the island for many years, hunting, fishing, and living on her own.

Based on "the Lone Woman of San Nicolas," Island of the Blue Dolphins imagines a name and back story for a woman whom we don't know much about. It's an adventure and survival story that I couldn't help comparing to Call it Courage, another Newbery award winner I read recently, but it is less of a fable in its character study and has more to it than just a series of survival events. We get Karana's innermost thoughts and sense of loneliness and strength. ( )
  bell7 | Jun 3, 2020 |
I re-read this book in part because I am 90% sure I read it for school ages ago, but I didn't remember anything about it. Turns out that it's based on a true story, and I don't remember knowing that about it when I read it before. (However, the author mentions all of that in the afterword, so I had no excuse. It's also in the foreword that I read by Lois Lowry, but this book is the anniversary version so is not the one I probably read before. I don't know if there was a foreword in that edition.)

The biggest thing to remember about this book is that it's a classic and is not written in the same style as modern books. Some readers will find the pace slow and boring. However, O'Dell wrote this book about a girl / young woman who lived alone on an island for 18 years with no one else to talk to. Eighteen years. In a book that's just a little under 200 pages. So no, this is not boring. This is a well-crafted imagining of what might have been her story. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
Island of the Blue Dolphins is about a Native American girl named Karana who is left abandoned on an island after her tribe was attacked by Aleutian hunters. She fights to survive by herself, feeling so alone and far away from her people. I would use this book in an ELA or social studies classroom. For instruction, I would use this book to introduce my students to the cruelty Native Americans faced (along with many other minority groups). This book also teaches great lessons about perseverance and strength in times where it would be easier to just give up. ( )
  Regan521 | Apr 3, 2020 |
A great classic. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
Based on actual events, this is an adventure story of an Indian girl living on the island of San Nicolas off the California coast. With her adaptability and resilience, she survived alone on the island for eighteen years. Some cultural information on island lifeways is included. Illustrated with twelve full-page watercolors.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott O'Dellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cardinal, TantooNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Russell Children:
and Felicity
and to Eric, Cherie
and Twinkle
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I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine the original book with "and related readings".
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Average: (3.9)
0.5 5
1 38
1.5 8
2 118
2.5 31
3 539
3.5 89
4 877
4.5 96
5 719

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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