Sexual Content: 0
Adult Themes: 1
Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Author: Scott O’Dell
Newbery Award Winner
Violence: Islanders hunt and skin sea otter. Many men are killed in a battle between Aleuts and the islanders. Wild dogs kill a young boy. Karana shoots dogs with arrows and kills several. She also kills an octopus.
Adult Themes: Karana, a young woman, looses her entire family and must survive alone.
The Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on the true story of a young girl who lives on a remote island. After Aleuts visit the island and kill most of the men, including her father, a ship comes to take the survivors away. Shortly after boarding the ship, she realizes that her younger brother has been left behind on the island. She cannot bear to leave him, although the chief promises that they will return to rescue him later, and jumps off the ship. The rest of the book is the story of her lonely survival on the Island of the Blue Dolphins.
I read this book as a child and, if memory serves, I liked it. Unfortunately, this reading did not live up to the memory. I had completely forgotten how sad the story is. We read it aloud as a family and it was a little upsetting for our 7-year old and the 10-year old thought it was boring. (He’ll be reading it next year in school, so he’ll get another chance to enjoy it.) Her determination to survive is admirable, but her struggles and the harsh environment wore on us. Maybe it is more upsetting now because I’m reading it from the perspective of a mother.
©2009 The Literate Mother
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