I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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 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.
***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***
Well, this was a blast from the past! I remember reading this (probably several times) during grade 5 or 6, maybe both. Funny what I remember from those childhood readings—my take away from it was that girls could do whatever they needed to and just as well as anyone else.
Looking at it now through adult eyes, I see a lot more of what the author was trying to do. His wildlife conservation message is “thump you on the head” obvious to me now. I can also admire how he took a historical fact (an Indian woman who had lived alone on a small island off the coast of California for 18 years) and filled in quite believable adventures for her to experience.
I can see where nature-loving mini-me would have been captivated by her taming of wild dogs, Western Tanagers and sea otters. Being a child with no playmates of my own age living close by our farm, I also spent a lot of time adventuring alone and could relate to her solitude.
For me, this one stood the test of time.