Here, in the early 1800's, 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 killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea-otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply, even when it meant battling an octopus.
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 her acceptance of fate transform what to many would have been an ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror comes the strength and serenity that is modern man's goal and that is symbolized by the island itself, rising alone and majestic from the waters of the Pacific. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. The 1961 Newbery Medal winner.