Ben Mikaelsen (born December 8, 1952) is a writer of children's literature. Mikaelsen is Bolivian of Danish descent. Born in Bolivia, he wasn't sent to school until the fourth grade where he was heavily bullied for his race. Some years later, Mikaelsen moved with his family to the United States where he entered the seventh grade. He began writing full-time in 1984, and has won many awards, including the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writers'Golden Spur award. He has also gained many state Readers Choice Awards. He is a sky diving champion, can fly a plane, taught himself to swim and dive, and has written many novels such as Tree Girl, Touching Spirit Bear, Ghost of Spirit Bear and Petey. Mikaelsen owned a male American Black Bear named Buffy for 26 years until Buffy's death on September 1, 2010. Mikaelsen considered Buffy a "750-pound member of my family." Ben is still very active with traveling, giving talks, and writing. Today, Mikaelsen lives outside Bozeman, Montana with his wife. He has been writing books for 26 years.