My husband recently bought me a used copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell while we were out one Saturday. He had asked me if I had read it and while I had, it had been a LOOOOOONG time ago. This weekend, we took a quick over-night road trip to the Memphis Zoo and I popped this book in the bag and read it on the way down. I enjoyed this book and was glad to be reminded of it!
Island of the Blue Dolphins tells the story of Karana, a young Indian girl. She is about 12 when the story starts, living with her tribe (and family) on the island. Because of a series of events, her tribe decides to leave the island and start over somewhere else. However, as the ship is sailing away, she sees her brother left behind on the island and she jumps over the side to stay with him. The ship will return for us, she tells him. Unfortunately, he meets with a tragic accident soon after and she is alone on the island for nearly eighteen years!
As I was telling my husband about the story, I was amazed by how resourceful she was for such a "young age." Then I had to remind myself that at 12, in her Indian culture, that wasn't probably so young! She knew how to catch her food, prepare it and store it for the winter. She made weapons (bows & arrows, spears) to catch and clean her fish and to fight off the wild dogs on the island ... one of which later becomes her beloved companion. She builds her own house, makes her own clothes, and all the while watches for the return of the sails and her people returning to get her.
I didn't realize until I read the author's note at the end of the story, that this book was based on true events. There was a young girl who lived alone on an island for 18 years, from approximately 1835-1853! This was a very interesting return to a childhood read and I'm glad to be reminded of it. (My niece will turn 12 this winter and I think she may get a copy of this book!) For more Children's Classics, visit Five Minutes for Books.