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
180 Book Reviews
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  • shagun lamyWednesday, August 14, 2019 at 7:32 am
    • MarybethWednesday, June 26, 2019 at 9:42 am
      It’s well written and interesting. However, it is pretty violent and scary. Our son (9) was very upset when her brother died. He’s normally not emotional so I was surprised. He really connected to the character and was heartbroken. I would say 10 and up.
      • im-riddikulus
        im-riddikulusMonday, May 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm55 stars
        This book is fin-tastic! This book really helped me believe that I could be a strong girl! I suggest this book to kids ages 11 and up.
        • nac
          nacWednesday, April 17, 2019 at 11:09 am55 stars
          I love how the book explains her survival methods. I also love her relationship with the wolf.
          • EvelynTuesday, April 16, 2019 at 6:54 am
            This book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!
            • heavytoothpaste
              heavytoothpasteThursday, January 31, 2019 at 9:44 pm55 stars
              This book is a very good book. It shows how one girl alone can survive by herself out in the stranded on a island.
              • dunkelosteus587
                dunkelosteus587Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 8:52 am55 stars
                i read this it is sad this girls brother dies from a wolf attack
                • ravenclaw35
                  ravenclaw35Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 1:05 pm55 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.
                  • ajg16
                    ajg16Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 11:52 am
                    I realllllyyy want to read this!
                  • BookreaderThursday, October 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm
                    it was a very good book you should read it
                    • lucasb2007
                      lucasb2007Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:12 pm
                      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.