Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Island of the Blue Dolphins” as Want to Read:
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Island of the Blue Dolphins (Island of the Blue Dolphins #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  201,810 ratings  ·  5,434 reviews
Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.

Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adve
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 8th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1960)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Island of the Blue Dolphins, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

๓คץค ❝ Sᴍɪʟᴇ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ɪᴛ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴᴇᴅ ❞ Omg dude, this book is the complete opposite of boring! Its packed with very realistic adventure and its definitely a book you should read. Give it a…moreOmg dude, this book is the complete opposite of boring! Its packed with very realistic adventure and its definitely a book you should read. Give it a try. :)(less)
Dawn Sailors did find a single native girl on San Nicolas Island (That's its real name) in 1853. That was 18 years after her people had fled the island for…moreSailors did find a single native girl on San Nicolas Island (That's its real name) in 1853. That was 18 years after her people had fled the island for the mainland. Nobody spoke her language, so very little was learned about her actual life on the island. Using signs and gestures, she was able to communicate that her brother had been killed by wild dogs. That was about all they learned from her. Her body was unused to the new environment and foods. She died seven weeks after her arrival. The book "Island of the Blue Dolphins" is mostly fictional, but its premise is based on the true, however incomplete, story of The Lonely Woman.(less)
Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCity of Glass by Cassandra ClareFire by Kristin CashoreWintergirls by Laurie Halse AndersonIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
2009 MUST READS: Children's and YA
112th out of 261 books — 769 voters
The Last Olympian by Rick RiordanHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Mark of Athena by Rick RiordanFire and Ice by Erin Hunter
Books I Rated Five-Star
68th out of 419 books — 23 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
this may be the best book for kids ever written. it teaches young girls everything they will ever need to know in their resourceful lives: how to build a fence out of whale bones, how to kill giant squids, how to alternately befriend and defend against scary wild dogs, and how to make skirts from cormorant feathers. since i got kicked out of brownies and never got to learn All The Things That Girl Scouts Learn, this book taught me how to wilderness-survive. and now i live in queens. so - not muc ...more
Jason Koivu
Back in the '70s and early '80s teachers liked to make their students cry, and so they forced them to read books like Island of the Blue Dolphins, which is just the kind of good old fashioned heartbreaking stuff to do the trick!

It starts of great this story of a Chumash (local natives to the Santa Barbara, California area) tribe taken by surprise by fur hunters and then taken from their island, accidentally leaving behind a brother and a sister. There is sorrow a'plenty. The tale trots along, ev
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book that I read was," Island Of The Blue Dolphins" this book was great! It is about a girl named Karana, and she is from an indian tribe, she lives on an island called," The Island Of The Blue Dolphins". Her father is the chief of the tribe, she has an older sister and younger brother. One day some people came and battled them, and her father dies. After this some more people come to their island, and try to help them, so the people gather some belongings and get on the ship. Her brother f ...more
Sometimes to clear my head I go to the children's lit bookshelf in my daughter's bedroom (she is now in college), which was fully stocked long before she arrived because I've been collecting children's books for years, and I select a favorite to reread. Yesterday I selected and read this. It's the 6th or so time I've read it, and this is a cherished edition from my childhood.

It is such a simply but perfectly told story, and I've never lost my sense of awe about this character, a resourceful Gha
Might I be bored, annoyed, or disgusted with Scott O'Dell's many works from the viewpoints of young women? If I read them now, sure, I might be.

But I SWORE BY Scott O'Dell when I was 10-12 years old, and I think that's what mattered. The girls in the books spoke to me, and they were written for me then, not for the me that is now.

I will buy his books for my younger cousins, and hope they get the sense of self and adventure that these short novels offer.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2009 Jean rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to be a kid again
Shelves: favorites
a children's book, this is my all time favorite. based on the true story of a young woman who had to survive alone on an island for more than 20 years. typical me...i love stories about strong women. i promised myself that when i "grew up," i would visit the grave-site of the woman who inspired the book. when i lived in california, i finally made my way to the mission in santa barbara where she was buried. for a moment i was able to flash back to my childhood self looking into the future...and i ...more
Kathryn Cantrell
Aug 03, 2007 Kathryn Cantrell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All children and everyone who remembers this book fondly.
This was the best book in my early elementary years. I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Hendrickson, reading it to us over the course of a few weeks in serial form. I read it myself in third grade. And now, out of nostalgia (can you be nostaligic for your 8-10 year-old self?), I'm re-reading it. I remembered it as the adventurous, though sad, life of a young girl. Now it seems less about adventure and much more about the heart-breaking trials of a lonely girl, left alone and for dead.

What t
The first half of the book was very slow, almost to the point where I was bored, but I kept reminding myself of the audience for which it was written and pushed forward. Karana's time alone on the island made me feel very sad; I could really identify with her loneliness, especially when she tried to row her canoe to the mainland. Nothing frightens me more than the thought of being alone in a small vessel surrounded by endless miles of water, and I shared the fear which eventually caused her to t ...more
This is a book that I read outloud to my two older children, ages 8 and 6. We LOVED IT. Here's my 8 year old daughter's thoughts:

It's about a girl a girl who is left on an island and she has to survive by herself. She makes her own weapons and she makes her own house that she makes with whale ribs for a fence. They used seaweed to tie the whale ribs together. That was my favorite part. I liked the ending, even though there were sad parts.

From my 6 year old:
I liked about how she made weapons. I l
Deborah Markus
Time to catch up on reviewing books I actually read a few months ago!

I haven't read this since I was a child. I didn't get much out of it then. It's a beautiful book, but seemed frighteningly somber to me. Also, I was (and kind of still am) all about dialogue, and the main character, Karana, spends several years completely alone on an island. So I respected this book, but didn't feel any urge to reread it as a kid.

I reread it as an adult because I've been reading James Loewen's Lies My Teacher T
I'm adding a star today having just finished the book with my little grandniece, our read together for the summer.

After we read that last page, she said it was a great book, except she felt sad for Rontu. And she's right on both counts; after all these years, Island of the Blue Dolphins is still an important milestone in one's growth as a life-time reader, maybe even a must-read for young girls, and boyoboy is it sad, especially if you love dogs. And what decent person doesn't love dogs?

When I w
Anthony Paterra
In the novel "Island of the Blue Dolphins", the main character is Karana. She is the daughter of the chief of the tribe that lives on the island, "Island of the Blue Dolphins". She also has an older sister, a mom, and a little brother. Her and the others from the tribe hunt and gather their own food, make their clothing, and build their shelter. They are very independent and are the only people who inhabit the island.
During this novel, the tribe is visited by foreigners who wish to hunt the ot
Island of the Blue Dolphins is an exciting tale about life alone on an island. This book has won a Newbery Award and is just fun to read. Karana got left behind with her brother. This book teaches a great lesson, and is easy to read. Island of the Blue Dolphins has great details. Scott O'dell "hit the nail on the head with this book! I recommend this book to all.

After Karana and her brother got left behind something happened! Karana Survived on her own by making weapons. She kept pets so she was
I'm in sixth grade and we read this book in class. A ship comes and takes villagers from the village of Ghalas-at East. But a young girl named Karana gets left behind. Karana waits for the ship to come back. While she does she goes after animals, builds shelter, gets food, whatever she has to do to survive.
The central idea of this story is it takes hard work to survive on an island. Karana goes out everyday at dawn and returns at sunset. That is a very long time to be out and working. She has
My fourth grade daughter insisted I read this because she enjoyed it so much, and I can see why. It was a fast read, but the story was engaging. It's based on a true story, and I was inspired by Karana and her resourcefulness. Descriptions of the island and the animals were vivid. Her relationship with the animals - as it evolved - was beautiful. We plan to visit the Southwest Museum in Pasadena to see the real artifacts from the Indian people who did inhabit this island . . .
The "devilfish" seemed a lot scarier before I figured out it was just an octopus or maybe squid. I want a cormorant-feather skirt. I also have a little brother who probably would get killed by a pack of wolves if he was ever stranded on an island.
Set in the 1800's on an isolated island off the coast of California, I'd once heard this book described as the left coast's answer to Squanto. This book is different though in that it's one girl's tale of losing her people, meeting European explorers and becoming marooned alone on an island for many years. It's a cross between My Side of the Mountain, Robinson Crusoe and Hatchet.

It's a short first person read that draws in the reader and gives one an idea what it really might have been like to l
Nicole Marie
Island of the Blue Dolphins is one of my favorites. I first read it all the way back in fourth grade. Back then, I never really read these types of books but as soon as we read it in class, I couldn't stop. After we finished our unit on the book, I had to read the sequel, Zia.

This story teaches us about living it up smart on our own and to make the best of bad moments. The Island of the Blue Dolphins is about a girl named Karana, who is left behind by her tribe on an island because she did not w
gummy bear ( Brianna S)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
lucy by the sea
You know how kids avoid anything their parents tell them they will like? Well, I should have listened to my Mum. She was always trying to push brave feminist stories on me (probly cos I was (am) a big lazy wuss).

I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins. It is the story of a young woman living completely alone on an island. The loneliness underlies the adventure and although a lot happens the general feel is quite slow and reflective. Kindof sad but really empowering.

I will for sure be pushing this o
One of the key elements for historical fiction authenticity is research. Cohesive blending of facts and fiction along with atmosphere authenticity and delivery are also contributing factors. So it’s no wonder Scott O’Dell won the John Newberry Medal for “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” It’s well-written, brilliantly constructed, atmospheric, eloquently Spartan, fluid, and obviously well-researched. And thinking about the publishing date – 1960 – I’m especially in awe in regards to O’Dell’s researc ...more
EDIT: I will reread this book. Sorry about the previous review. I hope it didn't offend anyone.
Carmel bear*quiana*
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I feel deceived. I was really enjoying this young adult novel, and enjoying the story of the survival of a girl alone on an island off the coast of California, until I finished the book and read in the Author's Note that this book is based on a real woman, who survived all alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island off the coast of southern California from 1835 till she was "rescued" in 1853.

Since the author named her as "The Lost Woman of San Nicolas" I did a search to learn more about this fasci
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Fisher
It is extremely difficult to imagine writing this book. Sitting down and saying, "Hey I can make a story in which a young girl survives alone on an island by herself for 20 years and talks to no one totally compelling," is more than ambitious, it's insane. I was originally entranced with this story because it is based on a true story. A native american woman was found alone on an island after two decades after the rest of her people were taken away by an earlier group and she was accidentally le ...more
This is the story of native girl who survives alone on an island off the coast of California for 18 years. All the people in her village left on the white man's boat with hopes for a better future, but Karana is left behind. She makes a home for herself, tools and weapons, maintaining a water supply, hunting for her food and gathering plants to use as medicine. She's a veritable badass survivor. For many years, she thinks someone will come back for her, and the book is filled with this aching, h ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Class of 2015: Island of the Blue Dolphins 2 3 Apr 05, 2015 07:57PM  
the book 1 11 Mar 05, 2015 03:59PM  
Did you like this? 121 332 Feb 22, 2015 11:01PM  
  • Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)
  • Call It Courage
  • Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children
  • The Summer of the Swans
  • Jacob Have I Loved
  • Abel's Island
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man
  • The Door in the Wall
  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32
  • Roller Skates
  • Missing May
  • The Bronze Bow
  • I, Juan de Pareja
  • Dobry
  • Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women
  • King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon
Scott O'Dell (May 23, 1898 – October 16, 1989) was an American children's author who wrote 26 novels for youngsters, along with three adult novels and four nonfiction books. He was most famously the author of the children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960), which won the 1961 Newbery Medal as well as a number of other awards. Other award winning books by O'Dell include The King's Fifth (19 ...more
More about Scott O'Dell...

Other Books in the Series

Island of the Blue Dolphins (2 books)
  • Zia (Island of the Blue Dolphins, #2)
Sing Down the Moon The Black Pearl Zia (Island of the Blue Dolphins, #2) Sarah Bishop Streams to the River, River to the Sea

Share This Book

“After that summer, after being friends with Won-a-nee and her young, I never killed another otter. I had an otter cape for my shoulders, which I used until it wore out, but never again did I make a new one. Nor did I ever kill another cormorant for its beautiful feathers, though they have long, think necks and make ugly sounds when they talk to each other. Nor did I kill seals for their sinews, using instead kelp to bind the things that needed it. Nor did I kill another wild dog, nor did I try to speak another sea elephant.
Ulape would have laughed at me, and other would have laughed, too -- my father most of all. Yet this is the way I felt about the animals who had become my friends and those who were not, bu in time could be. If Ulape and my father had come back and laughed, and all the other had come back and laughed, still I would have felt the same way, for animals and birds are like people, too, though they do no talk the same or do the same things. Without them the earth would be an unhappy place.”
“Below me Rontu was running along the cliffs barking at the screaming gulls. Pelicans were chattering as they finished the blue water. But suddenly I thought of Tutok, and the island seemed very quiet.” 19 likes
More quotes…