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Children's Nonfiction Bears

Voice for the Spirit Bears, A

How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal

by (author) Carmen Oliver

illustrated by Katy Dockrill

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
May 2019
Bears, Endangered, Social Activists
Recommended Age
6 to 9
Recommended Grade
1 to 4
Recommended Reading age
6 to 9
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2019
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


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.

About the authors

Carmen Oliver is a children's author whose books include Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies. Born in Canada, she now lives outside Austin, Texas.

Carmen Oliver's profile page

KATY DOCKRILL is an honors graduate from Ontario College of Art and Design. Her fresh brush-and-ink illustrations have attracted a wide range of clients, and she has won a number of awards for her editorial work. She has illustrated A Voice for the Spirit Bears by Carmen Oliver, among other titles, as well as many covers for children's novels. Katy lives with her family in Toronto, where she loves swimming, gardening and taking walks with her daughter.


Katy Dockrill's profile page


  • Unknown, Green Earth Book Award, The Nature Generation
  • Winner, Skipping Stones Honor List, Skipping Stones Magazine
  • Unknown, Writers' League of Texas Book Awards

Editorial Reviews

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

... a wonderful picture book ...—The Globe and Mail

An inspirational base for further environmental efforts by young people ...—School Library Journal

Other titles by Katy Dockrill

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