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Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
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Touching Spirit Bear

by Ben Mikaelsen

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2,091814,773 (4.02)28

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This book is about a boy who gets in trouble a lot and seems to be no hope for him. He continues to keep up his act until something serious happens. It is not until he is put into the circle of justice and his life turns around for the better. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 because many people can relate to this book. ( )
  verocruz | Apr 10, 2019 |
Touching Spirit Bear will touch your heart in the deepest darkest place. Cole Matthews is a struggling teenager in a world that views with pain and anger. Being told he has to make a choice between making a change in his life or going to jail, he faces the hardest challenge of his life. This novel is an excellent addition to a classroom library and will reach the heart of any teenager who can identify with the main character. ( )
  ecmullikin | Apr 6, 2019 |
From the opening chapter, you can tell this book is going to be full of ups and downs. Cole is an angry teenager who, despite all efforts, constantly gets into trouble. The most recent crime? Beating another student nearly to death. It is suggested that he take part in a Justice Circle, an alternative to jail or other means of punishment. Cole works hard to make sure he is admitted into the Justice Circle program, for what seems to be the wrong reasons. His attitude? Just get it over with. Only time will tell if Cole is actually capable of change...

This book can be used across the board in any content area, or as a school wide novel to open up discussions about conflicts and resolutions.

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  MoCrews3 | Mar 18, 2019 |
It was a really moving book about an angry 15 year old who beats a student to near death at school. While he is facing a jail term for the situation, his bail officer appeals to the Justice Circle, who eventually decide to give him a chance There are a lot of twists to this book and you can slowly see the boy healing himself throughout the book. ( )
  Indiam16 | Mar 18, 2019 |
This book tells the story of Cole Matthews and his struggle to redeem himself after repeatedly messing up. He is banished to a remote Alaskan island and has to survive on what he can find and use. He gets mauled by a "spirit" bear and is left to die. When he is waiting to be saved he reflects on himself and the life he has led. The story continues with him going back to the island to learn how to face himself and his own anger. This is a great book for middle school students who are struggling with personal issues. They can read this book and reflect on their own lives and how they relate to Cole Matthews. ( )
  efairman4 | Mar 17, 2019 |
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Epigraph
Fall seven times, stand up eight. - Japanese Proverb
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Buffy, a seven-hundred-pound black bear who has become my own Spirit Bear. He taught me to be gentle and that I, too, am a part of the Circle.
First words
Cole Matthews knelt defiantly in the bow of the aluminum skiff as he faced forward into a cold September wind.
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Book description
Within Cole Matthews lies anger, rage, and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage–and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life.

Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by a mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for death. His thoughts shift from anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's body, but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060734000, Mass Market Paperback)

Cole Matthews is angry. Angry, defiant, smug--in short, a bully. His anger has taken him too far this time, though. After beating up a ninth-grade classmate to the point of brain damage, Cole is facing a prison sentence. But then a Tlingit Indian parole officer named Garvey enters his life, offering an alternative called Circle Justice, based on Native American traditions, in which victim, offender, and community all work together to find a healing solution. Privately, Cole sneers at the concept, but he's no fool--if it gets him out of prison, he'll do anything. Ultimately, Cole ends up banished for one year to a remote Alaskan island, where his arrogance sets him directly in the path of a mysterious, legendary white bear. Mauled almost to death, Cole awaits his fate and begins the transition from anger to humility.

Ben Mikaelsen's depiction of a juvenile delinquent's metamorphosis into a caring, thinking individual is exciting and fascinating, if at times heavy-handed. Cole's nastiness and the vivid depictions of the lengths he must go to survive after the (equally vivid) attack by the bear are excruciating at times, but the concept of finding a way to heal a whole community when one individual wrongs another is compelling. The jacket cover photo of the author in a bear hug with the 700-pound black bear that he and his wife adopted and raised is definitely worth seeing! (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:17 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

After his anger erupts into violence, fifteen year-old Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the Native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life.… (more)

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