Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell; narrated by Tantoo Cardinal

Place: Publisher & Year: Santa Ana, CA : Listening Library, c1960, p2003

Genre: Historical fiction

Format: Audio book

ISBN: 9780307243164

Intended audience: Children – tweens

Number of discs: 4 (about 5 hrs.)

Setting: Ghalas-at (San Nicolas Island, Channel Islands, CA)

Time period: Not stated, but likely early 1800’s

Plot summary: When strangers come to the island to hunt for sea otters, they cause disturbances which will radically alter Karana’s life.  Karana will need to become incredibly self reliant in order to survive. Continue reading

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Pippi Longstocking

By Astrid Lindgren; translated by Florence Lamborn; illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: The Viking Press, 1985, 1950

Genre: Humorous stories

ISBN: 9780670557455

Intended audience: children – tween

Number of pages: 160

Setting: The end of a tiny town (in Sweden)

Time period: Not specified

Plot summary: Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking is a nine year old girl who “always come[s] out on top”(p. 12).  She has an angel for a mother and a cannibal king for a father.  She lives with a monkey named Mr. Nilsson and a horse.  She is also remarkably strong and not afraid to use her strength when she needs to. Continue reading

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Dave McKean

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: HarperCollins, 2008

Genre: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, occult fiction

ISBN: 9780060530921

Intended audience: Children – tweens

Number of pages: 312

Setting: A graveyard in England

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When Nobody Owens was a toddler, his family was murdered one night by a man named Jack.  Nobody managed to escape to a graveyard where he gained protection from the inhabitants until he becomes old enough to care for himself.  In spite of his unusual home, parents, and guardian, Nobody, or Bod, tries to live a normal life.  It’s a bit tricky, however, because Bod can’t leave the graveyard without putting himself in danger.  Jack still seeks the boy to end his life. Continue reading

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

By Nahoko Uehashi [translated by Cathy Hirano]

Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu

Place: Publisher, Year: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008

Genres: Fantasy, adventure, mythic fiction

ISBN: 9780545005425, 0545005426

Series: Moribito; 1

Intended audience: Tweens, young adults

Number of pages: 248+

Setting: Reminiscent of ancient Japan

Time period: Medieval time period

Plot summary: As Balsa crosses the commoner’s bridge over the Aoyumi River, her life takes an interesting turn.  At the same time she is crossing, so is a royal procession crossing the Yamakage Bridge just upstream.  Balsa witnesses the royal carriage tip over, dumping the young Second Prince into the raging river.  Without stopping to think, Balsa clips her rope to her spear and sends it flying into the river, rope in hand, to save the prince.  However, once she has rescued the prince, she finds herself bound to his fate, which will require many more rescues of the young boy. Continue reading