Touching Spirit Bear

The novel, Touching Spirit Bear, was an opportunity for Cannon Falls Middle School students to read about how a troubled boy finds a creative outlet for his anger issues.


Nathan Baszuro

Touching Spirit Bear was a 6th grade class reading project.

Touching Spirit Bear, written by Ben Mikaelsen, is a story about a 14 year old boy named Cole, who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Growing up, Cole has been abused, and has learned to hate people, causing numerous problems. One day, though, he goes too far. A boy named Peter, Cole’s peer, makes him mad, mad enough to nearly kill Peter. Cole is sent to an island instead of a juvenile detention center, and encounters a bear, who Cole doesn’t see as a friend.

The sixth grade classrooms at Cannon Falls MSHS just finished reading the book Touching Spirit Bear. Some of the students made paper totem poles, which usually have carvings of animals of spiritual meaning. However, the middle schoolers were allowed to draw symbols or animals, as long as they represented them in some way. The main character of the story helped his anger by carving the totem pole, and all of his carvings said something about him, or something he had experienced. 

 Marilyn Mausolf, a student in Mrs Klapperich’s reading class, expressed her feelings about the book; “I thought Touching Spirit Bear was a really good book and the detail was terrific.” Marilyn went on to say that she hopes a movie is made, and that she enjoyed the book quite a bit. While a good amount of the 6th grade students wish that there was a film to go along with the book, many of the students still liked reading the story.

Touching Spirit Bear was a pretty good book, but all of the action happened more near the middle and end, without much excitement in the beginning. I wasn’t a big fan of the book myself, but I did like the end a little more, so it improved my outlook on the story. I do think Touching Spirit Bear did have more gore than other books, which made me want to keep reading and figure out what would happen next.