Touching Spirit Bear

All chapters

1. What is the meaning of the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, stand up eight”?

2. What does Cole do that leads to his most recent arrest?

3. What is Circle Justice?

Chapter 2

1. How does Cole treat Edwin and Garvey?

2. Describe the island.

3. What advice does Edwin give Cole before he leaves the island?

4. What does Garvey give to Cole to show that he ‘trusts’ or has faith in him?

5. How does Cole react once he is alone on the island?

Chapter 3

1. What do you learn about Cole’s family life?

2. What point is Garvey making by having Cole taste all the cake ingredients?

3. What is the purpose of the Hearing Circle?

Chapter 4

1. Who attends the first Hearing Circle?

2. Imagine yourself as Peter. Describe your feelings before confronting Cole at the 1st Circle of Justice meeting.

3. Describe some of the emotions Cole experiences during this first meeting.

Chapter 5

1. What mistake does Cole make at the beginning of this chapter?

2. Why is Cole so angered by the bear?

3. What object survives the fire?

4. What makes Cole explode during the Circle meeting?
Chapter 6

1. Peter’s lawyer says that any solution of the circle must do two things – what are they?

2. How do you think Cole’s mother may have been feeling after the Circle meeting?

3. What is the irony involved in Cole’s reaction to his father’s dishonesty?

4. What is the goal of banishment according to the First Nation people?

Chapter 7

1. What is Cole’s reaction to the Spirit Bear in chapter 7?

2. What is the Spirit Bear’s reaction to Cole?

Chapter 8

1. List three damages that Cole endures from the bear attack.

2. In chapter 8, what emotion does Cole find more unbearable than the pain? (two possible answers)

Chapter 9

1. Why does the sight of the baby birds irritate Cole?

2. What wakes Cole from his sleep?

3. What is the first sign that Cole is starting to change?

Chapter 10

1. What impact do the dead sparrows have on Cole in chapter 10?

2. What realizations does Cole make after he decides he wants to live?

3. What does Cole do to try to sustain himself?

Chapter 11

1. What does Cole do to survive in chapter 11?

2. What does Cole do when he sees the Spirit Bear again?

Chapter 12

1. What causes Cole’s sudden rush of tears and emotions?

2. What does Cole feel as he touches the Spirit Bear?

3. What strange thought occurs to Cole? Why does this thought occur to him now, while he is lying helpless and in so much pain?

4. How would Garvey have described what he found when he came to check on Cole?

Chapter 13

1. Why does Garvey help Cole?

2. Cole says the bear attack was his fault. How is this evidence that he is changing?

3. What does Cole mean or begin to understand when he says “If I like the cake, maybe the ingredients are okay too”?

Chapter 14

1. What difference does Cole identify between his father’s attacks on him and the bear’s attack?

2. Cole isn’t the only one who’s changing. Who else is changing? How?

3. How do the members of the Justice Circle feel about what happened to Cole?

4. What surprise does Garvey have for Cole?

Chapter 15

1. What does Edwin’s demonstration show about Cole and whether he has changed?

2. What does Cole tell the Circle that he has learned?

3. Describe Cole’s Dad’s part in his life now.

Chapter 16

1. How is Cole’s second trip to the island funded?

2. What do Edwin and Garvey do that show Cole that they don’t trust him?

3. How is Garvey’s hot dog different from Cole’s hot dog?

Chapter 17

1. Why does Edwin introduce Cole to the pond?

2. What does Edwin mean by, “The sky, this stick, hot dogs, life, it’s all the same”?

Chapter 18

1. What does Cole state that he learns from his whale dance?

2. What does Edwin say the dance of anger would be like?

3. According to Edwin, when could Cole skip a day of going to the pond?

4. Describe Edwin’s ritual with the ancestor rock.

Chapter 19

1. What does Cole learn from his wolf dance?

2. How does soaking in the pond help Cole?

3. What realization comes to Cole as he stops atop the hill about to roll the ancestor rock?

Chapter 20

1. How does Cole make the last meal special for Edwin and Garvey?

2. What does Cole say he is afraid of?

3. How is the hunting knife like life?

Chapter 21

1. Why is Cole’s sleep troubled after he drags the log to shore?

2. What does Cole carve into the log first? What significance does this animal have for Cole?

3. According to Edwin, your totem is …….?

Chapter 22

1. What does Cole this chapter trying to become? Why?

Chapter 23

1. What does Cole discover invisible really means?

2. How does Cole become invisible?

3. What dance is Cole finally able to do? What words is he finally able to speak?

Chapter 24

1. Describe how Peter is doing. What is Cole’s reaction to this news?

Chapter 25

1. What does Cole think will help Peter?

2. Describe Peter and his parents’ attitudes and behaviors upon their arrival at the island.

3. Why hasn’t Cole carved anything in the last blank space on his totem?

Chapter 26

1. What is Cole’s father trying to do? Why?

2. What does Peter do to try and make Cole angry?

3. What does Peter do to show kindness to Cole?

Chapter 27

1. What does Peter do to Cole’s totem at the beginning of this chapter? Why?

2. How does Peter make amends?

Chapter 28

1. How does Peter demonstrate his anger when he and Cole go to the pond?

2. What do the boys see? Why do you think they see it now?

3. What do Peter and Cole carve? What does it symbolize?

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2) Cole broke into a store illegally, but when he bragged about it to one of his classmates, Peter Driscal, Peter turned him in. In revenge, Cole beat Peter up very badly, causing Peter head trauma and a permanent speech problem. Cole was taken back into juvenile detention. 

Please list your questions separately.


  Peter’s lawyer says that any solution of the circle must do two things – what are they?

Who attends the first hearing circle?

1. What difference does Cole identify between his father’s attacks on him and the bear’s attack?