Cover of 1st edition of Zia



Scott O'Dell


Ted Lewin


Children's novel, Realistic Fiction


Houghton Mifflin

Publication date

29 March 1976

Media type

Print (Hardcover and Paperback)


192pp (hardcover & paperback edition)


ISBN 978-0-395-24393-0 (hardcover edition)

Preceded by

Island Of The Blue Dolphins

Zia is the sequel to the award-winning Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. It was published in 1976, sixteen years after the publication of the first novel.


Zia is the 14-year-old niece of Karana, the Indian woman left behind on the Island of the Blue Dolphins in the previous book. Zia believes her aunt Karana to be alive, and with the help of her younger brother Mando, she sets out twice in an eighteen-foot boat on what are, ultimately, unsuccessful attempts at rescuing Karana. There is evidence on the island that she is still there, including small footprints in the sand, signs of cooking fires and the remains of huts.

Captain Nidever sails to the Island of the Blue Dolphins to hunt otters, bringing Father Vicente with him to find Karana. Meanwhile, Stone Hands, planning an escape for himself and the other Indians living at the mission, gives Zia the key to the girls'dormitory room. She unlocks the dormitory, and Captain Cordova puts Zia in prison, believing she was the instigator of the escape.

Captain Nidever returns with Karana and her second dog, Rontu-Aru. Captain Nidever and Father Vicente argue, and finally free Zia from prison. Zia and Karana can't communicate, although Karana appears to be settling into society. She learns to weave baskets as the other mission Indians do, loves melons and is fascinated by the horses, of which there were none on her island. Originally, Karana is assigned to sleep in the women's dormitory, but Rontu Aru is separated from her and chained up in the courtyard, as the priests believe he is bringing fleas into the dormitory. Karana, unaccustomed to the company of others and missing her dog, moves out to the courtyard.

Father Merced becomes very ill and dies, and Father Vicente takes over. He lets the people sell the things that they make and allows them to keep the money. He then goes to Monterey Bay, Father Malatesta filling his place. Stone Hands, Karana and the others do not like Father Malatesta, and run away.

Zia finds Karana in the same cave in which she and Mando had hidden the dinghy they found at the beginning of the book. A few days later, Karana dies.

Zia decides to return to her hometown, Pala, where she dies years later.