Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Island of the Blue DolphinsBook Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Review by Emily

We recently listened to Island of the Blue Dolphins on CD (read by Tantoo Cardinal). I liked this book as a child, but couldn't remember much about it. The story captivated me and the kids.

Karana's father and many of the villagers on the island are betrayed by a hunting company and killed. After this incident, there are many more women on the island than men. The women take over some of the jobs of the men, but then contention sets in. They decide to leave the island.

When the ship is leaving with the villagers, Karana sees that her brother is still on the island. She jumps out of the boat to be with her brother. Unfortunately, her brother does not live long, and Karana is left alone on the island for several years, with only animals for companions.

Island of the Blue Dolphins is a tale of survival, friendship, and adventure. Karana is a powerful female character, who is brave and determined.

As mentioned, there are many deaths in this book, including that of a beloved dog. The book is appropriate for all ages, but may not be ideal for sensitive readers.


  1. I can't wait to read this book with my girls! I think we're going to wait another year or so though. Anyway, the island in the book is part of the Channel Islands right near where we live. She was also buried at the Santa Barbara Mission. It makes it much more real!

  2. I remember reading this in middle school (maybe?) and loving it. I still remember how she makes that skirt out of feathers. I should give it a re-read. The other book from middle school that I loved was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Another awesome female character!

  3. I read this book to my 3 now adult daughters when they were young and they were captivated! We were able visit the Mission where Karana is buried and it made such an impression. The sequel, Zia, is also enjoyable- not as much as the original, but my daughters liked it.

  4. Emily, I am brand new to your blog, but am BEYOND excited to have found it. As an LDS mother to four children ages 14-8, book reading is very popular at our home, but also makes for frustrations when my teens bring home books that are labeled as young adult lit. only to read through a bit and find very innapropriate material.

    I am also semi-homeschooling my 14 year old [she is enrolled in on-line courses which she works on from home.] I am excited to read through your archives and make a list of books that I can trust will be worthwhile reading!

    Thank YOU!