Book Details

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Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear

Golden Sower Award (Nebraska)

ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults

Flicker Tale Children's Book Award (North Dakota)

Golden Archer Award (Wisconsin)

Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award (Minnesota)

California Young Reader Medal

Book Sense Pick

Nevada Young Readers' Award

Beehive Award (Utah)

About the Book

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.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Mikaelsen’s portrayal of this angry, manipulative, damaged teen is dead on.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

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

“Mikaelsen paints a realistic portrait of an unlikable young punk.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An excellent companion to Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet and Allan Eckert’s Incident at Hawk’s Hill.” —ALA Booklist

“[Cole’s story] will fascinate young and old, and have everyone waiting for the sequel.” —Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780380977444
  • ISBN 10: 0380977443
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 01/09/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • List Price: 21.00 CAD
  • Ages: 8 to 12
  • BISAC1: JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Bears
  • BISAC2: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Physical & Emotional Abuse (see also Social Themes / Sexual Abuse)
  • BISAC3: JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Violence

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

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