Monday, October 22, 2012

MMGM: Zia by Scott O'Dell

About The Book: A young Indian girl, caught between the traditional world of her mother and the present world of the mission, is helped by her Aunt Karana, whose story was told in Island of the Blue Dolphins.

First Line: After one of the big storms that come in from the islands, our shore is covered with clams.

What Other's Have Said: "Zia is a book worth reading, especially for nine and ten-year-olds that are studying the California Missions. It is also worth reading if one enjoys historical fiction. It does give an accurate portrayal of what life in the missions was like for neophytes. There were those who treated the natives with kindness and respect, but there were also long days filled with hard work and prayer."( Mar.'12)

"An almost unbearably moving story of what happened to the Indian woman, Karana, when she had been left alone at the end of The Island of the Blue Dolphins....Bound to be among the outstanding books of the year, on everyone's list."  (Publishers Weekly)
2010 Island of the Blue Dolphins celebrated it's 50th anniversary.
An ALA Notable Children's Book

What I Thought: Several years ago, I read, along with my young daughters, Island of the Blue Dolphins.  I think it was one of the few Native American stories available about a woman. Karana was an excellent example of fortitude and bravery. Recently, while doing research I stumbled upon this sequel. It's important to understand that it is a completely different kind of book and if your looking for a continuation of Karana's world, you will be disappointed.  Blue Dolphins was about a girl growing into a woman facing nature and finding her own way. Zia is about what happened to her people and how their way of life was obliterated.This story focuses on survival over the Southern California Missions and religious pressure imposed by the Spanish. Ultimately, Zia learns from her Aunt about true freedom, even when circumstances are out of your control. This was an excellent historical fiction and was very glad I found it.  

About The Author: Scott O'Dell 


Who: Scott O'Dell was born on May 23, 1898, in Los Angeles, California, when there were no airplanes, no freeways, and only a handful of automobiles. Travel was by foot, by horseback, by horse-drawn trolleys or wagons.

If you look for Scott O'Dell's school records or records of his service in World War I, you will never find them. His father's name was Bennett Mason Scott, and until Scott was an adult, his name was Odell Gabriel Scott.

On one of his earliest writings, a typesetter's mistake produced an article written by "Scott O'Dell." Scott liked the new name so much that he had his name changed legally in the 1920s.

When: One of his last movie jobs was with Metro Goldwyn Mayer, when he went to Italy as a camerman on the silent version of Ben Hur. He enjoyed Italy so much that when the Ben Hurcompany went back to Hollywood, he stayed behind. He spent a year in the city of Florence, in a villa where Galileo had once lived. There he wrote his first novel. It was called Pinfeathers, but it was never published. No one will ever read the book, because Scott burned the manuscript.

Why: In 1960, with the publication of Island of the Blue Dolphins, his life underwent a sea-change. Scott had come across the story of a girl who lived alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island while researching Country of the Sun. In the life of the Lost Woman of San Nicolas, he saw a way to make a statement about an issue that was important to him.

"Island of the Blue Dolphins," he wrote, "began in anger, anger at the hunters who invade the mountains where I live and who slaughter everything that creeps or walks or flies."

[All information was taken from the Scott O'Dell Website where you find many more interesting anecdotes to his life as a writer.]

Be sure to stop in to our awesome bloggers that can be counted on to post reviews for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!


  1. I haven't read this one, but oh-so-loved Island of the Blue Dolphins.

  2. I read Island of the Blue Dolphins and enjoyed it. I haven't read or heard of this one. It does sound good. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I like the first line. I read Island of the Blue Dolphins as a kid and couldn't get into it. I should probably try it again.

  4. Thanks for this interesting information. The other fun fact I know about O'Dell is that he was married to Elizabeth Hall, who wrote Child of the Wolves! The copy of The Black Pearl in my library is about the only book original to the 1969 building!


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