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Touching Spirit Bear
Cover of Touching Spirit Bear
Touching Spirit Bear
Spirit Bear Series, Book 1
In his Napra Nautilus Award-winning novel Touching Spirit Bear, author Ben Mikaelson delivers a poignant coming-of-age story of a boy who must overcome the effects that violence has had on his...
In his Napra Nautilus Award-winning novel Touching Spirit Bear, author Ben Mikaelson delivers a poignant coming-of-age story of a boy who must overcome the effects that violence has had on his...
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  • In his Napra Nautilus Award-winning novel Touching Spirit Bear, author Ben Mikaelson delivers a poignant coming-of-age story of a boy who must overcome the effects that violence has had on his life.

    After severely injuring Peter Driscal in an empty parking lot, mischief-maker Cole Matthews is in major trouble. But instead of jail time, Cole is given another option: attend Circle Justice, an alternative program that sends juvenile offenders to a remote Alaskan Island to focus on changing their ways. Desperate to avoid prison, Cole fakes humility and agrees to go.

    While there, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and left for dead. Thoughts of his abusive parents, helpless Peter, and his own anger cause him to examine his actions and seek redemption—from the spirit bear that attacked him, from his victims, and from himself.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Ben Mikaelsen is the winner of the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writers of America Spur Award. His novels have been nominated for and won many state reader's choice awards. These novels include Red Midnight, Rescue Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown, Petey, and Tree Girl. Ben's articles and photos appear in numerous magazines around the world. Ben lives near Bozeman, Montana, with his 700-pound black bear, Buffy.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books amelia12 - My book is entitled Touching Spirit Bear. The author of my book is Ben Mikaelsen. This book is telling a story about a boy named Cole Matthews. Cole is a troublemaker, he steals things, breaks things, hurts people and much more. His most recent crime was very serious and resulted in extreme consequences. He would have to choose between living in jail for one year, or joining a group called Circle Justice and living in isolation for one year. He chooses circle Justice but his experience turns out to be life threatening. I really liked this book because it taught a really strong life lesson about caring about people and things, that's someone Cole learned in his experience. It was overall a very interesting book and I couldn't take my eyes off. Although it was a little disturbing at parts I really did enjoy this book. Today, we are seeing much more crime being committed and I can imagine something like this happening. The entire story plot is definitely possible. I think misbehaving boys and or girls should read this book because they can notice the consequences that are held for serious actions like this. Anyone in general however, could read this book and I'm sure they will enjoy it. What I like about the book is that the whole book is pretty much an internal conflict. Cole is dealing with his own problems and figuring out how to make his life on the abandoned island comfortable. He is dealing with his own emotions and anger by himself. However, there is also a lot of external conflict in this book, for example man vs nature is a big one. At a point in time Cole is mauled by a bear and can barely move, when a strong powerful storm begins and he can't get up. He is figuring out how to make food with items around him, how to find shelter and keep warm, and most of all he is viewing all the animals and real life creatures around him and opening up his eyes to see how harmful he has been. Cole is finally realizing what he has done.
  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2001
    Gr 7 Up-Cole Matthews is a violent teen offender convicted of viciously beating a classmate, Peter, causing neurological and psychological problems. Cole elects to participate in Circle Justice, an alternative sentencing program based on traditional Native American practices that results in his being banished to a remote Alaskan Island where he is left to survive for a year. Cynical and street smart, he expects to fake his way through the preliminaries, escape by swimming off the island, and beat the system, again. But his encounter with the Spirit Bear of the title leaves him desperately wounded and gives him six months of hospitalization to reconsider his options. Mikaelsen's portrayal of this angry, manipulative, damaged teen is dead on. Cole's gradual transformation into a human kind of being happens in fits and starts. He realizes he must accept responsibility for what he has done, but his pride, pain, and conditioning continue to interfere. He learns that his anger may never be gone, but that he can learn to control it. The author concedes in a note that the culminating plot element, in which Peter joins Cole on the island so that both can learn to heal, is unlikely. But it sure works well as an adventure story with strong moral underpinnings. Gross details about Cole eating raw worms, a mouse, and worse will appeal to fans of the outdoor adventure/survival genre, while the truth of the Japanese proverb cited in the frontispiece, "Fall seven times, stand up eight" is fully and effectively realized.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

    Copyright 2001 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal (starred review)

    "Mikaelsen's portrayal of this angry, manipulative, damaged teen is dead on."

  • The Bulletin

    "[Cole's] solitary life on the island is just the ticket for Paulsen fans, who will appreciate the survival story."

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Mikaelsen paints a realistic portrait of an unlikable young punk."

  • ALA Booklist

    "An excellent companion to Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and Allan Eckert's Incident at Hawk's Hill."

  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

    "[Cole's story] will fascinate young and old, and have everyone waiting for the sequel."

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