A Voice for the Spirit Bears

Hardcover Jacket
978-1-77138-979-2 | May 7, 2019 List Price:
USD $16.99, CAD $19.99

4-color • 8.25 x 11 • 32 pages
Grades: 1 To 4 / Ages: 6 to 9

As a child, Simon Jackson found navigating the world of the school playground difficult. He felt most at home in the woodlands, learning about and photographing wildlife. As a teenager, he became fascinated with spirit bears, a rare subspecies of black bear with creamy white fur. These elusive creatures were losing their habitat to deforestation, and Simon knew he had to do something to protect them. He decided he would become the voice for the spirit bears. But first, he would have to find his own.

Carmen Oliver’s inspiring true story is based on the early life of Simon Jackson, who founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition. On his remarkable journey to protect the spirit bears, he met Dr. Jane Goodall and eventually hiked the Great Bear Rainforest — the home of these elusive animals. Katy Dockrill's captivating art adds depth and beauty to the story. Photos and additional details about Simon Jackson’s life and about spirit bears are included in the end matter. Part of the CitizenKid collection, this book demonstrates how one child can be a voice for change. Simon’s story is an excellent example of growth mindset at work, highlighting personal growth and overcoming obstacles through activism. This book can also be used to lead discussions about character education as it relates to courage, resilience and perseverance. In addition, it has strong science curriculum links to the environment, animal habitats and the effects of clear-cutting.


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Educational Resources




Guided Reading
Guided Reading Grade Level
Lexile Level



bears   endangered and rare animals   deforestation   initiative   activism   change the world   compassion   photographs   life science   animals   habitats   Black Bears   spirit bears   bullying   confidence


Teaching Guide

Reviews & Awards


“… a wonderful picture book …”
The Globe and Mail, May 2019

“An inspirational base for further environmental efforts by young people …”
School Library Journal, June 2019

“A great introduction to biography, youth activism, and to the spirit bears of the Great Bear Rainforest, this book is well suited to young animal lovers.”
Canadian Children’s Book News, October 2019


2020 Green Earth Book Award, The Nature Generation, Long-listed