top of page


Within Cole Matthews lies anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life.


Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim, and the community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart, Cole blames his alcoholic mom, his abusive dad, wimpy Peter (everyone but himself) for his situation.


Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by a mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for death. His thoughts shift from anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's body, but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.


Ben Mikaelsen paints a vivid picture of a juvenile offender, examining the roots of his anger without absolving him of responsibility for his actions, and questioning a society in which angry people make victims of their peers and communities. TOUCHING SPIRIT BEAR is a poignant testimonial to the power of a pain that can destroy, or lead to healing.


Ben is available to speak at your school or organization to help build a positive, bully-free environment. He is always well received and has a gift for connecting with students on a genuine level with a lasting impact. Compliment your class reading of Touching Spirit Bear with a powerful visit from the author and see bullying decline in your school.

"There are many lessons within the covers of this book, but it is the story that will captivate readers.."
                                                   -Pabrinkis; Kids


"[Cole's story] will fascinate young and old, and have everyone waiting for the sequel."

                                    -Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)


"Touching Spirit Bear is a great book that should be shared with students of upper grade levels. This is a great action packed book. I recommend it for you!

                                     -Charolotte Mecklenburg Library

Available in hard cover, soft cover, or audio-book.


Peruse Ben's Other Engaging Stories

bottom of page