Island of the Blue Dolphins

Plot:
Karana’s life changes drastically after a tragic visit from fur traders who try to cheat her tribe. A battle follows in which many are killed, and the tribe decides it best to abandon their island home before the fur traders return. In the chaos of leaving Karana realizes her younger brother, Ramo, who has gone back to retrieve his fishing spear, is not on the boat, and that with a storm approaching, the boat will not turn back for him. Karana leaps from the boat to remain behind with her brother, but wild dogs kill him days later. Karana must now survive on her own, keep safe from the dogs, provide herself with food and shelter, and grapple with her culture’s rules surrounding the kind of work that is and is not acceptable for women.

Problems identified by students:

  • Getting food without using a weapon; women are not allowed to build or use them to hunt

Solutions designed by students:

  • A sturdy shelter that can withstand the elements and protect her from the wild dogs
  • Ways to protect and store her food in order to keep it from other animals
  • Protection from the wild dogs
  • Woven fish catchers with long handles and bait inside to lure fish inside the catcher
  • Pulley system so the main character can suspend food in baskets away from animals

Grade:
6th-8th