Island of the Blue Dolphins.  O'Dell, Scott

Houghton Mifflin, 1960; Awarded 1963.

Synopsis:  Based on the historical fact of an Indian girl spending eighteen years alone on San Nicolas, part of the Channel Islands, off the California coast.  In an effort to escape Aleutian seal hunters in the early 1800s, the Indians of Ghalas-at board a ship to leave the Island of the Blue Dolphins.  When twelve-year-old Karana finds her younger brother is not on board, she dives into the sea and swims back to the island in search of him.  Years pass and Karana waits for the ship to return.  In the meantime, she builds shelter, gathers food, makes clothing, fashions weapons, and conquers the wild dogs that killed her younger brother.

Themes:  Survival Story;  Loyalty;  Ingenuity;  Adventure Story;  Brothers and Sisters;

Author Information:  Something About the Author:  V 12, pp 161-164; V 60 pp 111-120
Children’s Literature Review:  V 1, pp 145-149; V 16, pp 159-180

Discussion Questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. Would you be able to jump from a ship as Karana did to save her brother?
2. How was she able to tame the wild dogs?
3. What was it that kept Karana alive all those years?  How did she hang on to her sanity during the years she was alone?

Activities:
1. Outline what Karana ate and compare it calorie wise to what the average twelve-year-old eats today.  Standard 3, Benchmark 1
2. Research the topography of the island, its habitat, geography, wildlife, and temperature.  Standard 1, Benchmark 5
3. Research the history of Karana's tribe.  What ultimately happened to them?  Standard 1, Benchmark 5