Synopses & Reviews
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.
In celebration of the book's 50th anniversary, this edition has a stunning new look, and an introduction by Lois Lowry, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Giver and Number the Stars.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Brutally beautiful, this is a story that both inspires and sounds an alarm, a story of courage and heart. Just like Musas ability to tap into water, it asks us to tap into our own humanity, even though it might be more deeply hidden than we can imagine."
—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Underneath
"A thrilling, imaginative soul quencher. Crowders stunning debut is sure to become a modern classic."
—Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer
"Spare, unflinching, and beautifully written, this novel walks the line between magic and reality."
— Franny Bilingsley, National Book Award finalist for Chime
"Thirst and heat are palpable as kids and dogs fight fatal dehydration. . . . A wrenching piece with a wisp of hope for the protagonists if not for the rest of their world."
"The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent."
—School Library Journal
"The direct powerful prose in this first novel dramatizes the exciting contemporary survival story. . . . Fans of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1987) will want this."
"Taut yet descriptive, Crowder's writing dramatically captures the characters' desperation; the blistering heat and their acute hunger and thirst are entirely persuasive."
* "Crowder's spare storytelling and third-person narration provide young readers some safe distance for witnessing the tragic events, while well-chosen details and taut descriptions effectively convey the intensity of the situation."
—Bulletin, starred review
"There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But [this] spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. . . . Young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax." —Booklist, starred review
"[This] spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan. . . . Tragic and harrowing."— Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope."—School Library Journal, starred review
"This powerful dual narrative packs suspense and introspection into Park's characteristic spare description; while there are lots of details offered to the reader, they come not in long, prosaic lines but in simple, detached observations. Both Salva's and Nya's stories are told with brutal, simple honesty, and they deliver remarkable perspective on the Sudanese conflict. The novel's brevity and factual basis makes the reality of life in Sudan very accessible, and readers will find both the story and the style extremely moving."—The Bulletin
"Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape. . . . A heartfelt account."—Kirkus Reviews
"Brilliant. . . . A touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see."— Book Page
"Riveting."—The Horn Book
"[A] fast, page-turning read. . . . A great book for high school students and an important novel for young adults who enjoy learning about other world cultures."—VOYA
A mesmerizing debut middle-grade novel about a boy, a girl, and a dog struggling to survive in an African land after the water has run out.
In this haunting, lyrical novel told from three perspectives, Sarel has just witnessed the violent murder of her parents. But she is not completely alone on the drought-ridden land. Nandi is the leader of a pack of dogs who looks out for her pups and for skinny Sarel-girl. Nandi knows they are all in trouble, and she knows, too, that a boy is coming—an escaped prisoner with the water song inside him. A hard-hitting but ultimately hopeful survival story.
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nyas in an astonishing and moving way.
Scott ODell won the Newbery Medal in 1961 for his unforgettable novel Island of the Blue Dolphins, based on the true story of a Nicoleño Indian girl living in solitude between 1835 and 1853 on San Nicolas Island, only seventy miles off the coast of Southern California. His quietly gripping tale of Karanas survival, strength, and courage—and vivid descriptions of island life—has captivated readers for decades. This 50th anniversary edition features an introduction by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry.
About the Author
Scott ODell (1898-1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.