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.

Paperback, 192 pages
Published on February 8, 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0545289599
ISBN-13: 9780547328614
183 Book Reviews
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  • bsc
    bscFriday, January 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm55 stars
    This is such a good book! It shows bravery and takes the reader on a journey . I highly recommend this book. Please like this if you agree!
    • jdoodles35
      jdoodles35Friday, November 1, 2019 at 5:46 am55 stars
      This story is a lesson... Karana lives on an island that is plentiful, and fits the needs of herself, and her tribe. But when Russian hunters came to her island, the good life was vanquished. The Russians killed most of the tribe, and left with the riches of the island. But one summer day, a ship of American men come to save the tribe, and take them to the new land. Karana hurries to pack, only to jump from the ship to save her brother, who is later killed. Karana suffers through nearly twenty years alone on her island, with only her dog for company. And even after a devastating tsunami, she is trapped on her island. But one day, as she watches the ocean horizon, she sees a ship with white sails. Will this be her saving grace...or will it be the death of her?
      • 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.
          • celia_berry13
            celia_berry13Monday, 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.
                      • jdoodles35
                        jdoodles35Friday, November 1, 2019 at 5:48 am55 stars
                        Karana is my role-model!
                        • ajg16
                          ajg16Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 11:52 am
                          I realllllyyy want to read this!