Cover image for Island of the Blue Dolphins
Island of the Blue Dolphins
O'Dell, Scott, 1898-1989.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dell, 1978.

Physical Description:
189 pages ; 18 cm.
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.
Reading Level:
1000 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 6.0 45.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.5 12 Quiz: 05924 Guided reading level: V.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
READING LIST Adult Fiction Reading List

On Order



In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Author Notes

Scott O'Dell was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 1898. He attended Occidental College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford University, and University of Rome. He worked as a technical director for Paramount, a cameraman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and a book editor of a Los Angeles newspaper before serving in the United States Air Force during World War II. The recipient of numerous book awards, he established the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction in 1981. He died on October 15, 1989.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Karana, marooned on an island for 18 years, survives through her skill and intelligence while developing a love and respect for the natural world. An author's note describes the actual incident on which the story is based.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Karana, a California Indian girl, is left behind when her tribe abandons its island home after a devastating battle with Aleuts who hunt furs for the Russians. Living alone for 18 years, she maintains her traditional ways, but her rescue brings her into the changed world of the Spanish missions. In Zia, Karana's niece leaves a Spanish mission to rescue her aunt. Both struggle with the restrictions and constraints of mission life. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



An Excerpt from Island of the Blue Dolphins There are no trees on the island except the small ones stunted by the wind. When a log came ashore, as happened once in a long time, it was always carried to the village and worked on where a chance wave could not wash it away. That the men were sent to hollow out the log in the cove, and to sleep beside it during the night, meant that they were there to watch the Aleuts, to give the alarm should Captain Orlov try to sail off without paying us for the otter skins. Everyone was afraid he might, so besides the men in the cove who watch the Aleut ship, others kept watch on the camp. Every hour someone brought news. Ulape said that the Aleut woman spent a whole afternoon cleaning her skin aprons, which she had not done before while she had been there. Early one morning, Ramo said he had just seen Captain Orlov carefully trimming his beard so that it looked the way it did when he first came. The Aleuts who sharpened the log spears stopped this work and gave all their time to skinning the otter which were brought in at dusk. We in the village of Ghalas-at knew that Captain Orlov and his hunters were getting ready to leave the island. Would he pay us for the otter he had slain or would he try to sneak away in the night? Would our men have to fight for our rightful share? These questions everyone asked while the Aleuts went about their preparations -- everyone except my father, who said nothing, but each night worked on the new spear he was making. Excerpted from Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.