Lorie Ann Grover:
When I am asked this question, immediately Island of the Blue Dolphins comes to mind. In 1961, Scott O'Dell won the Newbery Medal for Island of the Blue Dolphins. I was born in 1964, so the work probably came to my attention near 1976 when the Children's Literature Association named the novel one of the 10 best American children's books of the past 200 years.
O’Dell was inspired by a 12 year old girl left behind on an island off the coast of CA as the Ghalas were evacuated. She jumped from the ship to return to her brother who had been left behind. He soon died, and Karana lived there alone for 18 years.Karana testified to me that a girl can survive by herself. She can face wild dogs, enemies, sea elephants, and the death of a loved one. She can clothe and shelter herself, and find some measure of joy. I believed it knowing O’Dell based the work on truth. This gave me independence and challenged me to be resilient. When my father left our family, I knew I could stand. I was motivated to be like Karana as School Library Journal summarized in their starred review: “A quiet acceptance of fate characterizes her ordeal." I would call it providence, but this is how I have hoped to live, quiet acceptance while wholly active.