Touching Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear

Spirit Bear Series, Book 1

eBook - 2010
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In his Nautilus Award-winning classic Touching Spirit Bear, author Ben Mikaelson delivers a powerful 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, most importantly, from himself.

Ben Mikaelsen paints a vivid picture of a juvenile offender, examining the roots of his anger without absolving him of responsibility for his actions, and questioning a society in which angry people make victims of their peers and communities. Touching Spirit Bear is a poignant testimonial to the power of a pain that can destroy, or lead to healing.

A strong choice for independent reading, sharing in the classroom, homeschooling, and book groups.

Publisher: HarperCollins


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Feb 25, 2021

this was a very interesting novel!

Feb 21, 2021

One of the finest novels ever written dealing with the violence of young men. Cole has severely beaten a classmate and is sentenced to prison, but with one option. He can choose instead to spend six months in survival mode on a remote island in Alaska, watched over by native Americans. After he is mauled by a Spirit Bear there, he has to determine what his life is going to become. A deeply moving and potentially life-changing novel. Very-well written.

Aug 01, 2018

I actually read this book with my class last year. It was quite interesting... In the beginning, I was not a big fan, but the ending melted my heart. This book focuses on being able to get rid of your bad habits by being determined and understanding. The main character Cole is going through a lot of hardships and needs someone to teach him the right way of doing things. Definetely,would recommend if you want to read a book that is filled with thrill.

vpl_teens Jul 27, 2017

Cole, an angry and hostile young offender, is given the option to participate in a healing circle by serving out his sentence on a remote Alaskan Island. At first Joel is arrogant and scornful but then he survives a mauling by the mysterious white sprit bear and realizes that he must change his attitude and develop a respect for the outdoor environment to save his life. This book conveys the beauty and power of nature perfectly. (Sequel: Ghost of Spirit Bear)

Jul 25, 2016

Its heart touching!

Dec 18, 2015

This book has a great moral to it, and I will definitely recommend it if you need a great image. However, it's not as interesting as I thought it would be, but it was okay.

Jun 04, 2015

I really loved this book. It shows how to be a good person

Jul 06, 2014

I read this for a book assignement and I wasn't too sure about it at first, but it turned out to be really good! (It is a bit violent though.)

Jun 12, 2014

it is a love hate relationship in this book

May 27, 2014

i loved when cole got mallued by the bear

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Age Suitability

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green_cheetah_777 Aug 09, 2014

green_cheetah_777 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

May 28, 2014

er_chetna thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jul 25, 2012

Barney_Stinson thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

tanase Jul 09, 2012

tanase thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jun 13, 2012

green_turtle_446 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Mar 16, 2012

lightning1243 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Feb 12, 2021

A lot of the books I have to read for school are weird or old, but this one was pretty good. The story follows a juvenile delinquent named Cole, who agrees to participate in Native American Circle Justice to avoid prison after smashing Peter Driscal head into the sidewalk, seriously injuring him. He winds up banished to the Alaskan wilderness. Cole tries to escape and is mauled by a sprit (or a white black) bear. During his banishment Cole learns about himself and what really drove him to hurt Peter. Through a good read, it is a bit violent and dose contain alcohol usage, and should be saved for older elementary students at least. Also, the writing is a bit sloppy, and the ending is unrealistic. on a scale of -3 to 3, I’d give it a 1. A good read, but not the best book ever.

sithier Jul 17, 2014

I think this book is very inspirational. How it goes from a stubborn boy who thinks no one loves him so he expresses how he feels by misbehaving then gets punished and heals and forgives then he understands as he realizes who he was, who he is, and who he wants to become.

Jul 06, 2014

15 year old Cole Mathews is a trouble maker. So, as his punishment he is banished on an island where his adventure starts and changes him.


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May 28, 2014

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Yes there are many scenes in the book involving blood. Also some disgusting scenes like the part where Cole eats insects and 'other' stuff.

tanase Jul 09, 2012

Frightening or Intense Scenes: there are some intence scences like becoming mauled by a bear, so not for people who squirm around blood.


Add a Quote
Jul 06, 2014

Try manipulating a storm or lying to your hunger. Try cheating the cold.

tanase Jul 09, 2012

"But I saw one," Peter insisted. "Will anyone believe us?"
"It doesn't matter what other people think and believe,"
Cole said. "It's what you believe.That's what's important."

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