Island of the Blue Dolphins (MG)

by Scott O’Dell

Karana’s people have always lived undisturbed on the Island of the Blue Dolphins—that is, until the Aleuts came to hunt otter and ended up killing half of the villagers. The rest of the villagers welcome the chance to leave the island a couple of years later when a ship comes to take them across the sea. But Karana’s younger brother doesn’t make it to the ship in time, and rather than leave him alone, she jumps ship to stay behind with him. She lives on the island for many years before another ship comes back for her, learning to hunt and make the things she needs and building friendships with the creatures on the island.

This is a well-written survival story with a strong, empowered, likable heroine. Survival stories have never been my favorite, but I found it more interesting knowing that it was based on a true story. It’s not a happy-go-lucky story—the poor girl loses everyone (and that’s not really a spoiler, since most of it happens within the first quarter of the book). Speaking of spoilers, if your copy has an introduction by Lois Lowry, I’d recommend reading the introduction AFTER reading the book—it’s really interesting, but it gives away a lot.

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