Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 5 - 10V5.440531

Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.

Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.

More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana's quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.

Hardcover, 192 pages
Published on September 9, 1960 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0395069629
ISBN-13: 9780395069622
184 Book Reviews
  • ravenclaw35
    ravenclaw35almost 4 years55 starsFeatured
    I loved this book. Karana is such a strong young woman. She has that girly flare with the strength of a man. Could you imagine losing your family because your brother disobeyed? Then for him to turn and be killed by your future best friend? And you turn in rage and destroy your town that the men of your village built with their bare hands? You then suffer through the death of your best friend and capture his son? And, let's think here... could anyone here survive a tidal wave clinging to a slick rock wall? Even though we have the heart of lions and the pride of a dancing peafowl, I don't think any of us could have done it. But Karana did it. As she grew older and mature she became stronger, braver, and wiser. Her caution and creative abilities kept her alive on an island for 18 years. This is a story that will impact your life and make you want to really become like Karana. She is such a role model for all ages. What an amazing novel.
  • Bookreaderabout 5 years
    it was a very good book you should read it
    • lucasb2007
      lucasb2007over 5 years
      I wasn't so sure when my mom told me I should read this book, but it turns out it was a very good book. I liked the story of the girl living on the island and living off the land. It was sad to read about some of the things that happened to her, but it was also great to she how strong she was. I think this is a good book to teach about how to keep going and doing your best.
      • kittykitkat
        kittykitkatover 5 years55 stars
        I cried it was so good.
        • princessmuscles
          princessmusclesalmost 6 years44 starsFeatured
          This is a really addicting book with excitement and points of sadness.A novel that has a heartwarming sense of weirdness that transforms into beautiful culture.A mix of a fantasy and non-fiction.This is a book that is based on real life event in the coastal town of Galas-at,a Native tribe village.This is a really lovely story and recommend this uplifting book for all ages!
          • juanstayballing
            juanstayballingalmost 6 years55 stars
            far off the coast of california looms a harsh rock known as san nicols islamd. Blue dolphins splash in the water surounding it, sea otters play in the kelp bed, and seabirds roost in its crags. once, Islands aslo lived on the island until one day they decided to leave and sailed to the east.
            • annabethhermone
              annabethhermoneabout 6 years
              My class is going to read this book.... My Sis say its a WONDERFUL book
              • iifreeze
                iifreezeabout 6 years
                A great book. Karana is left on an island and must use her surroundings to survive.
                • bluejems
                  bluejemsabout 6 years
                  I didn't read the whole book but it was good I guess.
                  • pororo06
                    pororo06about 6 years55 stars
                    This is a story I read in 4th grade. It was so good that I can remember every single detail in this book. It related to the Native Americans, a subject we were learning in Social Studies. I think it helped me learn new facts about Native Americans.