Touching Spirit Bear
By Ben Mikaelsen
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen is 240 pages of action and adventure published by Scholastic, a great book for young adults, especially boys. Cole Matthews, the main character, is banished to an island in Alaska for Circle Justice when he injuries another teen. He hopes to avoid jail by spending a year on the island. Once there, he plans to escape and burns the cabin that was built for him. Incoming tide and icy waters foul his escape attempt, and he’s injured by a spirit bear. Near death, he realizes he wants to live. He’s found and nursed back to health, but he’ll never be the same physically, emotionally, or spiritually. When he’s healed enough, he’s sent back to the island, but this time, he has to build his own cabin and fend totally for himself. Meanwhile, the boy he injured will also never be the same physically and becomes so depressed he attempts suicide. Cole knows what helped and changed him, and he desires to help Peter before it’s too late, but how will he convince the boy’s parents to allow him to live on an island with the person who physically attacked him and altered his life? Cole learns life’s lessons from the animals on the deserted island, and he wants to help Peter as he’s been helped, but will he be allowed to before it’s too late? And will Peter ever accept his help?