Island of the Blue Dolphins and Children’s book week


I bought this book in a book fair last week. I was going to read this anyway, so I decided to read and review it for Children’s Book Week.

This book was released in 1960 and was a Newbery winner for that year.

This story is about a girl called Karana. She lived on an Island shaped like a Dolphin, hence called Dolphinsโ€™ Island. When the Russians come to their Island for hunting Otters, they agree to part with half their share with the Island people as they would be hunting on their territory. But the Russians, while leaving, refuse to give the share and a fight breaks out between the 2 sides killing many people from the Island. Karana’s father was the chief of the Tribe who was also killed.

When the new chief is appointed, he decides to move from the dolphin’s Island to a near by Island where it would be more safe. But somehow during the moving process, Karana is left behind. She decides to wait for the next ship to come and take her to the Island. But seasons later, when no ship arrives, she decides to make the Island her home and do her best with whatever she can.

This story is her struggle with the nature’s forces, with wild animals and most of all with loneliness. Karana has amazing courage and resilience. In spite of the adverse conditions she does not loose hope.

As an adult I enjoyed the story and the descriptions of the Island and the tribal customs. The story was interesting enough to pull me in. But I can see that children would find much more to love in this story. It could teach them morals and values without preaching. And a girl stuck on an Island, making the best of what she has got, making a hut, catching fish, building a boat could be appealing.

Overall, a good read. I am sad I didn’t get a chance to read this as a child.

san_nicolasI found some really good information on Wikipedia. It was published in 1960 and won the Newbery Medal that year, and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963. It is based on the true story of Juana Maria, the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas”, a Nicoleรฑo Indian marooned for 18 years on San Nicolas Island off the California coast before being rescued in 1853.

The sequel of this book is titled Zia.

The picture is the Island of San Nicolas where the woman was rescued from. Doesn’t it look like a Dolphin?

Have you read this book? How did you find it?
What children’s book do you recommend which could be enjoyed by adults too?

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24 thoughts on “Island of the Blue Dolphins and Children’s book week

  1. 18 years??? Holy cow….I must go look this up. Wow.

    I missed our local bookfair this past week, so I’m disappointed over that. But next year I’ll be able to take Big Kid and that should be fun. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I read this one for school when I was maybe 10. I remember liking parts of it, but I was a huge animal lover, so all of the scenes with the crazy dogs really bothered me.

  3. I LOVED Island of Blue Dolphins!! I loved it so much that after my teacher read it to us (I think in 5th grade) I wandered around a bookstore trying to remember the name of it to buy it with my itsy allowance. I still have that copy on my shelf- I loved it!!!!

    Thanks for the review….this is one of the ones I can’t wait to share with my kiddos.

  4. This was my favorite book growing up.

    I’m from Ojai, California, 45 minutes south of Santa Barbara, and read this book in 4th grade. I fell in love with the story and reread it countless times. Because of my elementry school teachers love for the ocean, marinebiology, archeology, and our proximity to Santa Barbara and The Channel Islands, we were taught the true story of The Lone Woman and her fate.

    I had my parents take me up to the Santa Barbara Mission where there is a plaque dedicated to her. She was buried in an unmarked grave in the hills above the mission so she could look out into the ocean towards her island. Her baskets and bone needles and other artifacts were given to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, but everything was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. What I wouldn’t give to see those artifacts.

    I’m going to read this book again. =)

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