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Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins (edition 2010)

by Scott O'Dell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,434205310 (3.92)208
Title:Island of the Blue Dolphins
Authors:Scott O'Dell
Info:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2010), Edition: Anv, Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:death, family life, siblings, survival, surviving the elements, courage, Pacific Islands, baby animals

Work details

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

  1. 80
    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.
  2. 70
    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (gilberts)
  3. 40
    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (changsbooks)
  4. 30
    Zia by Scott O'Dell (Hollerama)
    Hollerama: 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
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (changsbooks)
  8. 00
    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.

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» See also 208 mentions

English (202)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (204)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
This novel for young adults is not flashy or romantic, but its simple story of survival the the world O’Dell has created make it worthy of its status as a classic for young readers. When she is a child, most of Karana’s village, Ghalas-at, is murdered by foreigners. Soon a ship of white men arrives, and the remaining citizens of Ghalas-at leave the island with them. But Karana’s brother is left behind, and Karana jumps ship to stay with him. Her brother is soon killed, and Karana is left to spend years alone on the island, with only animals to keep her company. Finally the white men return, and Karana leaves with them. The story is based on a real person, as explained by the afterword, but highly fictionalized. There are several scenes of violence and death, but they are told without sensationalism. Karana feels flat at times, because her inner life and emotions are not explored, but the action-driven storytelling allows the reader to make her own interpretations. The writing is accessible, but intelligent, and the descriptions are well-crafted. It is easy for the reader to imagine Karana’s world and care about it, and Karana’s feeling of isolation is clearly conveyed. Some readers may be bored by the subtle plot. There is a feeling that the somewhat monotonous action will lead to a larger conflict or resolution, but it never does. In spite of its lack of dramatic action, this novel has remained a favorite for years, and with good reason. Highly Recommended. Grades 7+. ( )
  kottenbrookk | Dec 4, 2014 |
In my opinion, I think “Island of the Blue Dolphins” is a terrific chapter book for older children to read. The story is about a girl named Karana. Karana is a young girl when her father and much of her tribe gets killed by a group of Aleut Indians. The Aleuts attack her people and her home. The people that are left in Karana’s tribe plan to seek new land. The new chief sets sail and sends a ship back for Karana and the others left in her tribe. When Karana is about to leave with the ship, she notices that her brother is not there. She leaves the ship and goes searching for him. The ship leaves without Karana. Karana finds her brother, but he does not live very long. In a matter of time, Karana is completely alone on the island. There is no one left on the island, and there is no one coming back to the island to save her. The book tells all about her ways of surviving alone on the island. For eighteen years, Karana is alone, and she survives alone. The story’s plot is extremely suspenseful, and it leaves the reader wanting to read more. The story’s writing also flows very smoothly which makes it easier to read. The book uses descriptive language to describe how Karana survives. For example, Karana says, “I gathered gull eggs on the cliff and Ramo speared a string of small fish in one of the tide pools. The morning was fresh from the rain. The smell of the tide pools was strong. Sweet odors came from the wild grasses in the ravines and from the sand plants on the dunes.” Overall, I believe that children will be interested in reading this book. This book broadens students’ perspectives on human survival. This book teaches readers about what “bare necessities” really are. Students will learn that water, food, and shelter are the bare necessities that every person needs to live. People who have family, friends, and anything else in addition to bare necessities are lucky and should feel grateful. The big idea is to get children to appreciate their lives and the people in their lives. ( )
  sstelz2 | Dec 4, 2014 |
I love this story because it is captivating and show readers the struggle of having to rely basically only on yourself. I think it teaches a great lesson in not taking life for granted and realizing that most of us have it really good. ( )
  Andymcclellan_93 | Dec 3, 2014 |
Reviewed on my blog 10th April as part of my A to Z Blog Challenge. I first heard of this book at a seminar on children’s writing; it was a recommended book. It then waited in among my long and growing set of ‘books to read’ until I realised it fitted – just – into the category of Classic children’s books, having been first published in 1960. Now I’ve read it I would recommend it to everyone as a classic.

We find ourselves on the Island of the Blue Dolphins with Karana, her brother, family and tribe, living as a native people would. However the red sails of an Aleut ship are in sight, and knowing that this has caused trouble in the past, Karana’s father takes care in his negotiations with them for the hunting of otters in their waters. Despite his care things turn bad, and then worse. A different ship arrives, offering to take the remainder of the tribe to safety in the east, but Karana’s brother turns back to fetch something he has forgotten, and Karana leaps from a canoe, which is taking her from the island to the ship, to find him.

What follows is the tale of Karana’s life fending for herself on a deserted island. There are friendships and fights, hardships and successes. She overcomes her superstitions and her fears, and shows her resourcefulness and patience.

The tale is beautifully written, and whilst not paying too much attention to detail, I felt that there are enough hints for anyone with the misfortune to be stranded on a desert island to make the best of their opportunities. I expect these days it is read in schools with plenty of additional material for children to try their hand at crafting some of the items Karana makes, although perhaps substituting something more mundane for cormorant feathers or elephant seal tusks. I might like to try mapping the island or drawing the view of Coral Cove.

The story is based on a legend that appears to have substance, of a girl stranded on an island to the west of California, who was eventually rescued and brought to Santa Monica to live out her days. I’m not sure whether that is important, but I do know that it is an enchanting tale in the best of senses, and one that will spur many readers to imagine themselves in Karana’s footprints when they next go paddling around rock pools or exploring sea-caves by canoe.

[despite the product description, the Puffin kindle edition does not have illustrations] ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
This "based on a true story" children's novel tells the story of Karana, a young girl left stranded on her island home when her tribe is taken by missionaries to Santa Barbara. It is based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Native American left alone on San Nicolas Island from 1835-1853.Similar to the survival stories found in Hatchet and Sarah Bishop, we get a glimpse into the fictionalized life of Karana and how she survived on her own. Her adventure begins at the age of 12, and she learns to defend her home from wild animals, hide from the Aleuts who come to hunt otters, hunt for food, and survive without being taught many skills.The real star of the show is Rontu. In the interest of not spoiling anyone who hasn't read it, I'll just say that I fell in love with him, and tears were shed in his honor. Rontu, I love you and your yellow eyes. If I were stranded on an island alone (and at times that sounds like a slice of heaven, to be honest), I would want Rontu with me.
I love that it is based on a true story, and I love reading about the minutia of her daily life. Great classic, and one that is often required reading in schools. If you haven't read it and like survival novels for kids, you should enjoy.
  astinchavez | Nov 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (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 editionsconfirmed
Cardinal, TantooNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the Russell Children: Isaac, Dorsa, Clare, Gillian, and Felicity, and to Eric, Cherie, and Twinkle.
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I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island.
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Please do not combine the original book with "and related readings".
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440439884, Paperback)

Product Description
The Newberry Medal-winning story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. Isolated on the island for eighteen years, Karana forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion. A classic tale of discovery and solitude returns to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for its 50th anniversary, with a new introduction by Lois Lowry.

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Lois Lowry on Writing the Introduction to Island of the Blue Dolphins, 50th Anniversary Edition

Dear Amazon readers,

Last summer, when I was asked to write an introduction to a new edition of Island of the Blue Dolphins, my mind went back in time to the 1960s, when my children were young and it was one of their best-loved books.

But a later memory surfaced, as well, of a party I was invited to in the summer of 1979. By now the kids were grown. I was in New York to attend a convention of the American Library Association, and Scott O'Dell's publisher, Houghton Mifflin, was honoring him at a reception being held at the St. Regis Hotel. I had never met Mr. O'Dell. But because of my own children I knew his books, and I was pleased to be invited to such an illustrious event.

I was staying at a nearby hotel and planned to walk over to the party. But when I began to get dressed, I encountered a problem. I was wearing, I remember, a rose-colored crêpe de Chine dress. It buttoned up the back. I was alone in my hotel room. I buttoned the bottom buttons, and I buttoned the top buttons, but there was one button in the middle of my back that I simply couldn’t reach. It makes me laugh today, thinking about it, picturing the contortions I went through in that hotel room: twisting my arms, twisting my back, all to no avail.

The clock was ticking. The party would start soon. I had no other clothes except the casual things I'd been wearing all day and which were now wrinkled from the summer heat.

Finally I decided, The heck with it. I left the room with the button unbuttoned and headed off. When I got in my hotel elevator, a benign-looking older couple, probably tourists from the Midwest, were already standing inside, and I explained my predicament politely and asked if they could give me a hand. The gray-haired man kindly buttoned my dress for me.

We parted company in the lobby of my hotel and off I went to the St. Regis, where I milled around and chatted with countless people, sipped wine, and waited for the guest of honor, Scott O'Dell, to be introduced. When he was, of course he turned out to be the eighty-one-year-old man who had buttoned my dress.

But wait! There's more. Ten years passed.

I had never seen Mr. O'Dell during the intervening years, but now, suddenly, we were the two speakers at a luncheon being held on a college campus somewhere. I think it may have been Vassar.

We sat next to each other at the head table, nibbling our chicken, chatting about the weather. I knew he wouldn't remember me, but I certainly remembered him, and I was secretly thinking that when it was my turn to speak, I might tell the audience the amusing little anecdote about the button on my dress. But he went first. And, eyes twinkling, he started his speech with "The last time I was with Lois Lowry, we were in a New York hotel. I was helping her get dressed." He was ninety-one at the time. All of this floated back into my mind when I found myself rereading, last summer, The Island of the Blue Dolphins. None of it was appropriate to the book's introduction, of course, and I went on to write, instead, about the power of the story and the magnificence of the writing. Not that anyone needed reminding! There has never been a question about Scott O'Dell's brilliance as a writer and storyteller. But it's nice to have a chance, here, to tell an audience that he was also a sweet and funny man.

Lois Lowry

(Photo © Neil Giordano)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:29 -0400)

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Records the courage and self-reliance of an Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an isolated island off the California coast when her tribe emigrated and she was left behind.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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