I bought this book in a book fair last week. I was going to read this anyway, so I decided to read and review it for Children’s Book Week.
This book was released in 1960 and was a Newbery winner for that year.
This story is about a girl called Karana. She lived on an Island shaped like a Dolphin, hence called Dolphins’ Island. When the Russians come to their Island for hunting Otters, they agree to part with half their share with the Island people as they would be hunting on their territory. But the Russians, while leaving, refuse to give the share and a fight breaks out between the 2 sides killing many people from the Island. Karana’s father was the chief of the Tribe who was also killed.
When the new chief is appointed, he decides to move from the dolphin’s Island to a near by Island where it would be more safe. But somehow during the moving process, Karana is left behind. She decides to wait for the next ship to come and take her to the Island. But seasons later, when no ship arrives, she decides to make the Island her home and do her best with whatever she can.
This story is her struggle with the nature’s forces, with wild animals and most of all with loneliness. Karana has amazing courage and resilience. In spite of the adverse conditions she does not loose hope.
As an adult I enjoyed the story and the descriptions of the Island and the tribal customs. The story was interesting enough to pull me in. But I can see that children would find much more to love in this story. It could teach them morals and values without preaching. And a girl stuck on an Island, making the best of what she has got, making a hut, catching fish, building a boat could be appealing.
Overall, a good read. I am sad I didn’t get a chance to read this as a child.
I found some really good information on Wikipedia. It was published in 1960 and won the Newbery Medal that year, and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963. It is based on the true story of Juana Maria, the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas”, a Nicoleño Indian marooned for 18 years on San Nicolas Island off the California coast before being rescued in 1853.
The sequel of this book is titled Zia.
The picture is the Island of San Nicolas where the woman was rescued from. Doesn’t it look like a Dolphin?
Have you read this book? How did you find it?
What children’s book do you recommend which could be enjoyed by adults too?