Alone on an island for 18 years.

Island of the Blue Dolphins is a work of historical fiction based on the life of an American Indian woman who spent 18 years in isolation on San Nicolas Island, one of eight Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.

In the book she's named Karana. Her birth name is lost to history, but she's often referred to as the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island (or as Juana María, the name under which she was baptized before burial at Mission Santa Barbara).

American Indians looking over bay with boat.

Follow the Story

Read chapter summaries of the book.

Island at sunrise.

Explore the Islands

Take a tour of the eight Channel Islands. Learn about the island plants and animals. Experience interactive maps that highlight the story.

Painting of Chumash paddling a tomol near the islands.

People and Culture

Explore life in California during the nineteenth century (1800s) and the legacy of those who lived there then.

J. P. Harrington posing with three Cuna (Tule) while making dictaphone recordings.

Research & Resources

View the digital archive, teacher resources, glossary, bibliography, and FAQs.

Scott O'Dell signing book soon after it was published in 1960

About the Author

Learn about the life of Scott O'Dell.

Cave on San Nicolas Island.

Breaking News

Read highlights of the latest archeological and historical finds connected to the story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island

Ranger with boy on beach.

Channel Islands Live

Bring the Channel Islands to your classroom with live distance learning programs.

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