Study Guide Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell|
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THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS-FREE BOOKNOTES
Up until the time that he wrote Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell had only written books for adults. Actually, he originally thought of Island of the Blue Dolphins as a book for adults, but was told that it would make a good book for young people. So, that is what it became. After this book, he wrote only books for young people. He liked the response that he got from his young readers better than the response that he had been getting from adults.
The author wrote a follow-up book, Zia, supposedly about Karana’s niece. While that story uses some of what is known about The Lost Woman of San Nicholas, it is not based on a known person. The title character, Zia, is Ulape’s daughter. But, it is not known whether Ulape actually had a daughter and, if she did, what her name was. If you like Island of the Blue Dolphins, you will also enjoy Zia.
Scott O’Dell’s books are often about strong girls. He even seemed to prefer strong women as characters in his adult books. And, he frequently wrote about Native Americans and Hispanics.
The King’s Fifth is set in the sixteenth century. It is historical fiction as many of the author’s books are. The narrator is a young mapmaker who is in prison. There is a story within the story. It is about an expedition searching for gold in which the narrator took part. Even in this story there is a strong young female character. She seems to be the only one not overcome by greed for gold. She has the same name as the title character of another of O’Dell’s books, Zia, but she is not the same character. This is the author’s second book for young readers. It is a Newbery Honor book and received the German Juvenile International Award.
The Black Pearl, the author’s third book for young people, was also named a Newbery Honor book. It is not historical fiction. Rather, it is fable. It is about Ramon, who is the son of a pearl merchant, and the Manta Diablo, which is a very large devilfish. It is also about a huge black pearl that Ramon finds. The setting is Baja California.
Sing Down the Moon is about a Navajo girl who is first kidnapped and made a household slave in the home of a Spanish woman. She eventually escapes and returns to her home near the Four Corners area, the area where the states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. In the last half of the book, her tribe is forced to take the Long Walk to a new home. As a result, many died. This is historical fiction, based on real events, but with mostly fictional characters. Sing Down the Moon was named a Newbery Medal book.
Carlota, which won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, is about a girl who lives on a ranchero. She acts more like a boy and takes part in a famous battle of the Mexican War, the Battle of San Pasqual, near San Diego.
Sarah Bishop is a book about a young British girl in Revolutionary War times. Her father sides with the British and her brother sides with the Revolutionaries. Both of them are killed. She has no more family. She lives in a cave. Like Island of the Blue Dolphins, this story is based on a real person. At the time he wrote the book, the author lived near her cave in Westchester County, New York.
Black Star, Bright Dawn is about another strong Native American
girl. She takes part in the Iditarod, which is a thousand mile race through
ice and snow. If you are interested in the Iditarod, you will like this
book, but it is not as good as those mentioned above.
Island of the Blue Dolphins, 1960
The King's Fifth, 1966
The Black Pearl, 1967
The Dark Canoe, 1968
Journey to Jericho, 1969
Sing Down the Moon, 1970
The Treasure of Topo-el-Bampo, 1972
The Cruise of the Arctic Star, 1973
Child of Fire, 1974
The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day, 1975
The 290, 1976
Kathleen, Please Come Home, 1978
The Captive, 1979
Sarah Bishop, 1980
The Feathered Serpent, 1981
The Spanish Smile, 1982
The Amethyst Ring, 1983
The Castle in the Sea, 1983
The Road to Damietta, 1985
Streams to the River, River to the Sea, 1986
The Serpent Never Sleeps, 1987
Black Star, Bright Dawn, 1988
My Name is Not Angelica, 1989
Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, 1991
Venus Among the Fishes, 1995
This book tells the story of "The Lost Woman of San Nicholas." She was a real person. There are records of her existence, but there are not records of everything in the book. Some of what is in the book is based on the author's knowledge of the area along with research that he did.
The Aleuts originated on islands off the coast of Alaska called the Aleutian Islands. Russians had come to their islands about a century before Karana’s time. By Karana’s time, the Russians were in control of the Aleuts. Rather than using Russian hunters, the Russians used Aleut hunters. This was because the Aleuts were very good hunters. While in this story the Aleuts are considered by Karana to be enemies, they actually were only doing as they were forced to do by the Russians. Because of the Russians, they had a hard time surviving as a people. Besides rough treatment, they also received diseases from the Russians, as the Indians did from the white men.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Island of the Blue Dolphins".
. 09 May 2017