Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ghost of Spirit Bear

By: Ben Mikaelsen

Cole Mathews used to be a violent kid, but a year in exile on a remote Alaskan island has a way of changing your perspective. After being mauled by a Spirit Bear and eating mice, worms, and even his own vomit to survive, Cole started to heal. He even invited his victim, Peter Driscal, to join him on the island and they became friends.

But now their time in exile is over, and Cole and Peter are heading back to the one place they're not sure they can handle: high school. Gangs and violence haunt the hallways, and Peter's limp and speech impediment make him a natural target. In a school where hate and tension are getting close to the boiling point, the monster of rage hibernating inside Cole begins to stir.

Ben Mikaelsen's riveting saga of survival and self-awareness continues in the sequel to his gripping Touching Spirit Bear. This time he weaves a tale of urban survival where every day is a struggle to stay sane. As the problems in his school grow worse, Cole realizes that it's not enough just to change himself. He has to change his world. (from


This book, the sequel to Touching Spirit Bear, was another wonderful book by Ben Mikaelsen. Home from the island, Cole and Peter must find their in the same school and community that had left them broken and angry. They must try to preserve the changes they had made while in isolation, while still functioning in the school setting. Mikaelsen does a phenomenal job at showing the struggles that kids face, not only Cole and Peter, but all students. At this school, fear and bullying rule the day, threatening to suck Cole back into his anger, and leaving Peter once again a victim of violence. Instead of falling back into thier old patterns, Cole and Peter step up and help to bring around change for the entire school and by extension the whole community.

I loved this book. I think the message, that you have to grab hold of your future and make the changes for yourself, is a great one that all kids (and adults) should embrace. I think this book also serves as a window for adult as to what kids really face each day as they walk the halls. It's not enough to just be a teacher, you have to be a leader.

Overall, I'd say that just about everybody should read this book, and Touching Spirit Bear. They really are absolutely fabulous books.

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