09 April 2014

Island of the Blue Dolphins: 1961 Newbery Award Winner

 The beginning of March 2014 I started a new undertaking: reading every single Newbery Medal Winner book. A number of them I have read in the past, but I am reading them with fresh eyes,and reviewing them for others. I am not reading them in order, as some will require some effort on my part to find them all.   Want to keep track of which books I read?  Check them out at Confessions of a Wannabe Reader!

Blue dolphins.jpg
Cover of the book - The image is used for identification purposes only under the fair use clause.
Karana: The Lonely Girl

When what is left of her decimated Nicoleño tribe sails away from their island home on a Spanish ship, Karana is left behind with her little brother, Ramo.  When Ramo is killed tragically a short time later by a pack of wild dogs, Karana is left to fend for herself to wait and watch for the ship to return.  In the years that follow, she survives as she battles loneliness, the elements and the dangers of the Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is based on the story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island (see the Wikipedia account of her tale), though as with all historical fiction, I am sure poetic license was taken.  I had never read this book before, but I was reluctant too because of personal reasons.  That being said, I did enjoy the book.  The story of Karana's struggle, while a bit difficult to read, is one anyone can relate to if they have dealt with loneliness.  It is a story of survival, and echoes the stories told in the books  The Cay by Theodore Taylor and Hatchet by Gary Paulson, in which characters must deal with learning how to survive by themselves.  However, this is unique in that the character doing the surviving is a female.

The setting of the book was familiar to me, as it takes place on the island of San Nicolas, one of California's Channel Islands.  Having spent a good deal of my life in California, the history of the state has been ingrained in me.

Overall, this was a good read for me, but I am not interested in reading the sequel, called Zia.  My reasoning for this is that the Lone Woman of San Nicolas died shortly after being rescued from San Nicolas Island, which doesn't leave much of a story for a sequel that I would be interested in reading.  I am sure Zia is an excellent book, just not one that would interest me at the present time.

Keeping tabs on the books I read?  Check them out at Confessions of a Wannabe Reader!

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