O’Dell, Scott

About the author

Scott O’Dell (1898–1989) was born in Los Angeles. He described the town as it was when he was born: “it was still a frontier town, with more horses than automobiles.” The family moved frequently, but never far from Los Angeles. O’Dell’s best known book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, was based partially on the true story of a girl who lived on an island, alone, for 18 years, and his own boyhood memories of going to sea on logs which were waiting to go to the sawmills.

He enjoyed the research part of writing most, and would often write about things he knew little about, simply so that he could learn. He is best known for his historical fiction, of which Carlota is an example. Of the process of writing, he said: “Anthony Trollope, the great English storyteller, said that it was a piece of sticking plaster with which to fasten your pants to a chair. I agree. Writing is hard, harder than digging a ditch, and it requires patience.”

His wife, Elizabeth Hall, is also an author. She continues to write, as well as indulge her hobbies of white water rafting and studying wolves.

Finding the books
Still in print and readily available in both the USA and UK.

Links and sources
Scott O’Dell’s website
Elizabeth Hall’s website

Bibliography (horse books only)


Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1977, 153 pp
Dell, 1980.

Carlota’s brother is dead, and it is up to her, she thinks, to take his place. She races her horse, dives for gold, and fights in the Mexican-American war. She has always sided with her father, but in the end, has to go her own way.