Desert Isles: Romance and Danger

Stories of surviving on a deserted island (or alone on a mountain or lost in the wilderness) have appealed since humans began sharing stories over campfires. Library staff recommend these wonderful stories; with selections ranging from the classic castaway account, Robinson Crusoe, to the children’s tale, Abel’s Island.
We hope these books and videos will take you away for a summer of adventure.

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley

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Shipwrecked on an island, young Alec Ramsay and a dangerous stallion must rely on each other to survive. Once rescued and back in New York, Alec, with the help of a retired trainer, try to get the half-wild horse ready to compete on the track.

Also available as an award-winning video.

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Swiss Family Robinson

By Johann Wyss

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After a raging storm, a family is shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island. Follow their exciting adventures as they build a fabulous house in a tree, tame island animals, create complicated irrigation systems and much more!

Also available on audio.

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My Side of the Mountain

By Jean Craighead George

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Sam Gribley runs away to live alone in the Catskill Mountains. Having brought only the barest of necessities, he must depend on luck and help from animal friends to survive. The adventures continue in On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful's Mountain.
My Side of the Mountain is also available on audio and video.

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Mosquito Coast

By Paul Theroux

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Rebelling against the horrors of modern American existence, a father moves his family to the remote jungle of Honduras to make a better life. Things start to go wrong, and the father, unable to admit he is wrong or that he might need help, brings tragedy upon his family.
Also available as a downloadable audio book and as a film, starring Harrison Ford.

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Lord of the Flies

By William Golding

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Chilling examination of what happens to “civilization” after a group of English schoolboys survive a plane crash on a deserted island. The library owns this in book, audio and video formats.

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The Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O'Dell

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Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.

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I Was Amelia Earhart

By Jane Mendelsohn

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"Amelia Earhart tells us what happened after she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared off the coast of New Guinea one glorious, windy day in 1937. And she tells us about herself.

"There is her love affair with flying ('The sky is flesh') . . . .

"There are her memories of the past: her childhood desire to become a heroine ('Heroines did what they wanted') . . . her marriage to G.P. Putnam, who promoted her to fame, but was willing to gamble her life so that the book she was writing about her round-the-world flight would sell out before Christmas.

There is the flight itself -- day after magnificent or perilous or exhilarating or terrifying day ('Noonan once said any fool could have seen I was risking my life but not living it').

And there is, miraculously, an island ('We named it Heaven, as a kind of joke').

And, most important, there is Noonan . . ."

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Catherwood

By Marly Youmans

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It is early May 1678 when Catherwood and her one-year-old daughter, Elisabeth, get lost in the woods of the New World. Catherwood has recently immigrated from England with her husband, and they have settled near Albany, New York. Now a moment's inattention on a spring day has turned a short visit to the closest neighbors into a long sojourn in the wilderness. As summer comes, Catherwood travels through a landscape which is as harsh and unforgiving as it is majestic and lush. With the winter months quickly closing in, she searches frantically through the sparsely populated terrain for signs of human habitation as she and her child struggle to stay alive.
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Abel's Island

By William Steig

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Castaway on an uninhabited island, Abel, a very civilized mouse, finds his resourcefulness and endurance tested to the limit as he struggles to survive and return to his home.

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The Island of Dr. Moreau

By H.G. Wells

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Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying an unusual cargo—a menagerie of savage animals. Nursed to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. There, he meets the sinister Dr. Moreau—a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilized world. It soon becomes clear that he has continued to develop these experiments with truly horrific results.

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