Family drama Historical drama
Los Angeles, California
May 23, 1903–October 15, 1989
Island of the Blue Dolphins
“History has a very valid connection with what we are now,” Scott O'Dell said in talking with Peter Roop. “Many of my books are set in the past, but the problems of isolation, moral decisions, greed, need for love and affection are problems of today as well. I am didactic; I do want to teach through books. Not heavy-handedly but to provide a moral backdrop for readers to make their own decisions.”
O'Dell worked as a cameraman and technical director in Hollywood before becoming a full-time writer in 1934. His credits include two dozen juvenile books, among them Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) and Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea (1986). O'Dell won four Newbery Medals for his books: the John Newbery Medal from the American Library Association, in 1962, for Island of the Blue Dolphins; and three Newbery Honor Book awards— for The King's Fifth, in 1968; for The Black Pearl, in 1968; and for Sing Down the Moon, in 1971.
“O'Dell is, in a very real way, a different person each time he tells a story. This gives each of his books an individual quality that is uniquely suited for its natural and cultural setting,” James E. Higgins observed.
The writer's first young adult book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, was inspired by strong emotion. He told Roop that the book “began in anger, anger at the hunters who invade the mountains where I live