When a 19-year old female polar bear named Barle is rescued from the inhumane conditions of a circus in the Caribbean and flown to safety in Detroit, zookeeper Else Poulsen renowned throughout the world for her work rehabilitating bears who have been abused is on hand to meet her and help her on the road to recovery and self-discovery. Thus begins Barle’s gradual introduction into the world of polar bears. Slowly she forges relationships with the other bears in the zoo and eventually mates with a young male and successfully raises a cub. By living in a caring, enriched environment focused on her welfare, Barle is able to recover from the trauma she had suffered at the circus and develop skills that are important to thriving as a polar bear. As Poulsen documents, however, not all captive bears are so fortunate. Augmented with black-and-white photographs, Barle’s Story provides a rich and moving portrait of a remarkable bear and of the author’s inspiring work to help her discover her true polar bear ways.