I recently finished reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins" as part of my Decades challenge. I had read the book in elementary school, but hadn't thought much about it since then. In fact, it had been so long ago and I had read so many other things, I didn't remember much of the story.
The book is a Newberry winner, and has a certain sense of mystery and empowerment that I think the Newberry committee tends to choose for their highest awards. I enjoyed "Island of the Blue Dolphins" because, with the exception of a few pages at the beginning and the end, it is a book about one girl coming to grips with her isolation and learning to survive on her own. She also learns that not all things that appear evil really are, just as not all things that at first to appear to be good turn out that way.
The most interesting part of "Island of the Blue Dolphins" is that it is based loosely on the real-life story of a woman whose entire tribe leaves her behind. She is the sole survivor of her culture and is honored is California.
Overall, this is a quality Newberry book. Enough action to appeal to children; enough story to engage adults reading along with them.