Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ghost of Spirit Bear
By Ben Mikaelsen
Review copy from the publisher

*Note* This book is NOT available in the Zion library. It will be published in June.

Fans of 'Touching Spirit Bear' will look forward to the continuation of Cole's story in 'Ghost of Spirit Bear'. Sent to an island to survive by himself for a year after viciously beating a classmate, Cole is now home and struggling to get back into everyday life in high school. He and Peter, the student Cole attacked and who spent part of the year rehabbing with Cole on the island, face ridicule and taunts from tough-guy Keith and his gang of bullies. Cole and Peter try to use the coping techniques they learned on the island to deal with Keith but it becomes increasingly difficult, especially in the hostile environment they find at school. Many of the teachers are indifferent to the drugs and gangs that abound. A symbol of this disregard is the bulldog statue in the front of the school. The statue of the school's mascot, once so proud, is now a regular target of graffiti. Cole realizes that if he is to survive in this environment, he is not the only one that has to change; the school has to change, too. He and Peter set out to bring the lessons they learned from their island life to a city school.

I enjoyed 'Ghost of Spirit Bear', although those looking for more of Cole's adventures in the wild will not find them here. Cole's world is now a city world but his need to control his anger and learn to work with others has not changed. Totems, carrying ancestor rocks, and chilling in the pond all have to be adapted to concrete and glass. 'Ghost of Spirit Bear' gives readers a sense that big things can be accomplished through small steps, even just from one person.
If you'd like to read this review copy of 'Ghost of Spirit Bear', let me know in the comments section. The book comes out in June so we won't have it on the Zion bookshelves until school resumes in the fall. If you can't wait until then, let me know and I'll share my copy with you!

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