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Touching Spirit Bear


 On Sale: 11/01/2001
 Formats:     Hardback | Paperback | Paperback
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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

Book Description

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


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Awards for Touching Spirit Bear

  • Flicker Tale Children's Book Award (North Dakota)
  • Golden Archer Award (Wisconsin)
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award (Minnesota)
  • Beehive Award (Utah)
  • Golden Sower Award (Nebraska)
  • Book Sense 76 Pick
Critical Praise for Touching Spirit Bear

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

ISBN: 9780380977444; ISBN10: 0380977443; Imprint: HarperCollins ; On Sale: 11/01/2001; Format: Hardback; Trimsize: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4; Pages: 256; $21.00; Ages: 8 to 12; BISAC1:JUV002030; BISAC2:JUV039180; BISAC3:JUV039050

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Touching Spirit Bear Touching Spirit Bear
Will the attack of the Spirit Bear destroy Cole's life or save his soul? Cole Matthews has been fighting, stealing, and raising hell for years. So his punishment for beating Peter Driscal senseless is harsh. Given a choice between prison and Native American Circle Justice, Cole chooses Circle...
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