Island of the Blue Dolphins – by Scott O’Dell – independent book review – Historical Fiction (Native Americans)

While I know that ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS is usually considered young adult fiction, I have to say it’s a lovely book to read, for the first time, as an adult. I picked it up after a Buddhist teacher recommended it as a “Buddhist read.” Awarded five stars on Goodreads.

Based on a true story (the real location, San Nicolas Island, is now part of the National Park Service), this historical fiction tells the story of a young girl who lives alone for years on an island off the coast of California. It’s a story of Karana’s bravery, perseverance, and ingenuity as she figures out how to build a life for herself, in the face of isolation and danger.

It also offers beautiful lessons about the relationship between humans and animals. And it is indeed thoroughly Buddhist — in that Karana primarily lives in the moment, learning to exist in harmony with her environment.

Scott O’Dell (1898-1989) did a beautiful job both telling and writing this story. It’s powerful, suspenseful and can be enjoyed by the whole family. And yes, I will now read the sequel, Zia – a Sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Scott O’Dell
Photo from Wikipedia

More about the prolific, award-winning author, Scott O’Dell.


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