Isle of Blue Dolphins by Scott O & # 39; Dell

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In this classic survival story, Karana learns to take care of herself on an island after her tribe has traveled to the mainland.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2010 (originally published in 1960). 192 pages.

Reading level: Age 10-12

Recommended for: From 10 years on

Karana's tribe has lived on the island of blue dolphins for generations. When the Aleutians come back this year to hunt otters, Karana and the rest of their people are vigilant because they fear that the Aleutians will cheat them at their agreed price. However, vigilance does not always prevent violence, and many men in the village (including Karana's father) die to protect their share of the otter skins. A village like that of Karana needs its men for protection, work and hunting. The following year is difficult and finally Karana's tribe decides that they have to leave their beloved island. Everyone is on board a white male ship from the mainland when Karana's younger brother runs along the beach. He had forgotten something and ran back to get it. Karana jumps off the boat and refuses to leave her brother behind. But the boat can't wait. Together, the two children want to take care of themselves and survive until the next boat arrives. Her people will surely send another boat back next summer.

But no boat is coming next summer. And Karana's brother dies in a wild dog attack. Karana spends many years alone on her island. She builds protection, learns to find food, makes friends with wild animals, defends herself and even does beautiful things. When a boat finally arrives to take her to the mainland, she has to consider whether she will actually leave the island.

Based on the true story of a woman who lived alone on an island off the California coast in the mid-19th century, this historical survival story has proven itself. Survival stories are characterized by the ingenuity and ingenuity of the protagonist as well as a dash of danger. Island of the Blue Dolphins certainly delivers this. O'Dell's Newbery novel is 60 years old this year and reads a bit like a 60-year story. Slower and more contemplative than many recent stories, it's still worth reading.

The island of blue dolphins also points out what makes us human: is it the society of other social beings? Why is Karana so happy about the company of animals that can interact with her? Why is Karana driven to do beautiful things, not just functional things? Where does she get her hope and future thinking from? She can infer what she has observed from her tribe to adapt the same methods to her own survival. These are not traits that animals share, least of all to the same extent as humans. If the topic comes up among your young teenagers, check a little whether such a story helps them articulate a little bit of the uniqueness of humanity, the forefront of God's creation.


  • Karana's father (and many other villagers) die in a conflict with the Aleutians. Karana's brother dies in a wild dog attack. You can keep this book from the age of 12 if your child is a sensitive young reader.
  • Many discussion questions come with this! In the last paragraph of the review you will find some options.

Overall rating: 4/5

  • Worldview rating: 4/5
  • Literary / artistic evaluation: 4/5

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