Beth Bowman's Reviews > Touching Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
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Oct 03, 12

Read in September, 2012

This is a very intersting book. I am not sure if the Middle School girls would like it or not, but I think that the boys would. A young boy, who gets into a lot of trouble finds himself at the end of chances. He thinks that he can out smart the adults with this plan to be exiled to an island in Alaska. He thinks that eveyone else in the world is responsible for his mistakes and that no one cares what happens to him. He is taken to the island and is attacked by a bear, he lays on the ground in pain for days, but comes to the understanding that he is his only problem and that everyone around him has their own problems and they are learning to live with themselves as well. He learns that he has to own his mistakes and just be the best person that he can be.

It touches on topics that all studetnts face in Middle School and I think that reading this book might help students to see that they are not the only ones that feel like no one understands them and that they do have a lot to learn and sometimes the only way to learn something is by messing up. Students in Middle School tend to look at adults as the enemy and not to be trusted. By the end of this book, Cole, must learn to trust adults. He also has to learn to trust himself, which I know Middle School students have a hard time with. Learning to be yourself and that the truth is the right way to go, is something that not many people learn, and to see that someone their age can do this and be okay would help some students to realize that they are people and it is okay to trust others.

It also talks about learning and doing the right thing, even when you do not want to. I know lots of 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th graders that struggle with this on a daily basis. Learning self confidence is something that all students (and adults) struggle with and reading that Cole was able to find peace with the decisions that he made and by him owning up to the bad decisions that he made shows that they can do it as well. Learning that saying your sorry for your actions is not always enough, helping the person that you treated wrongly is hard and sometimes impossible to do, but by trying, sometimes you can make a friend for life and you can learn to live with the decisions that are made.

It also talks about child abuse and how a child feels when they are abused. Understanding that you, the victum, are not really the problem, might help students talk about their own abuse (if there is any) or understand better others that are abused. Knowing that the guilty party is the one that abuses, not the abused could help someone to get through their own troubles. Knowing that there are adults out there that have made the same mistakes that the students are making will help them to see that adults are really only larger versions of themselves.
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