Synopses & Reviews
Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Alex Driscal in the, parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Alex may have permanent brain damage'and Cole is in the Biggest trouble of his life.
Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart Cole blames his alcoholic mom his, abusive dad, wimpy Alex -- everyone but himself -- for his situation.
Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by Mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for his death His thoughts shift from from Anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.
Ben Mikaelsen paints a vivid picture of a juvenile offender, examining the roots without absolving solving 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
"Mikaelsen paints a realistic portrait of an unlikable young punk." Kirkus Reviews
"Mikaelsen's portrayal of this angry, manipulative, damaged teen is dead on." School Library Journal (starred review)
"[Cole's story] will fascinate young and old, and have everyone waiting for the sequel." Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“An excellent companion to Gary Paulsens Hatchet and Allan Eckerts Incident at Hawks Hill.” ALA Booklist
"[Cole's] solitary life on the island is just the ticket for Paulsen fans, who will appreciate the survival story." The Bulletin
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.
Whatever you do to the animals, you do to yourself. Remember that.
Ben Mikaelsen's provocative portrait of Cole, an angry teen who chooses banishment to a remote Alaskan island over detention as punishment for a brutal attack, has captivated reviewers and readers. A BookSense 76 pick in hardcover and a nominee for multiple state young reader awards, Touching Spirit Bear examines the alternative Native American Circle Justice against a backdrop of high action.
After severely injuring Peter Driscal in an empty parking lot, troublemaker Cole Matthews is in major trouble. But instead of jail time, Cole is given an alternative: a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. This program—called Circle Justice—is based on Native American traditions that provide healing for the criminal mind. To avoid serious jail time, Cole resolves 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 violent anger cause him to examine the root of his troubled ways.
Author Ben Mikaelson delivers a poignant depiction of the vicious cycle of violence and one boy's journey to healing.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
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.