Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
I thought I'd read this one, but when I looked at it on the shelf I realized I missed it during my elementary years.
This is a fascinating survival story of historical fiction. It is a Newbery Medal winner that is based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Native American who lived alone on San Nicolas Island for 18 years in the 19th century.
The descriptions of Juana struggling to create a home and then a life for herself are honest and raw. Finding food, making weapons, starting a fire, and defending herself against wild dogs are some of the biggest obstacles to her survival. Her loneliness is palpable, but friendship with some of the animals alleviates some of that pain.