Island of the Blue Dolphins is a novel written by Scott O'Dell. The book, and the sequel Zia are based on the true story of the Lost Woman of San Nicolas. The scene is the Channel Islands near Los Angeles in the mid 1800s, a time when the local indians, the Chumashand the Cupeno were beginning to adjust to the presence of a system of missions erected by the Catholic Church in California. It's the story of a young girl left behind by her tribe on an island. It's the tale of how she survives, conquers loneliness and fear, and eventually comes face to face with cultural intolerance.
The book, as many of O'Dell's books, is written for the pre-teen crowd, but it's a great story and both my 7 year old daughter and I are enjoying reading it aloud together. There is plenty of adventure and tragedy and sheer joy in this book. It's required reading for many 5th and 6th graders, and I remember reading it and being deeply moved by it way back when books were first invented.
Island of the Blue Dolphins won the Newberry Award in 1961.