Rising Water

The Story of the Thai Cave Rescue

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About The Book

The incredible true story of the twelve boys trapped with their coach in a flooded cave in Thailand and their inspiring rescue.

On June 23, 2018, twelve members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand when disaster struck. A rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them as they took shelter on a shelf of the dark cave. Eight days of searching yielded no signs of life, but on July 2 they were discovered by two British divers. The boys and their coach were eventually rescued in an international operation that took three days. What could have been a terrible tragedy became an amazing story of survival.

Award-winning author Marc Aronson brings us the backstory behind how this astounding rescue took place. Rising Water highlights the creative thinking and technology that made a successful mission possible by examining the physical, environmental, and psychological factors surrounding the rescue. From the brave Thai Navy SEAL who lost his life while placing oxygen tanks along the passageways of the cave, to the British divers that ultimately swam the boys to safety, to the bravery of the boys and their coach, this is the breathtaking rescue that captivated the entire world.

Excerpt
Rising Water 1 Wild Boars
DR. ANDREW ALAN JOHNSON, AN AMERICAN Anthropologist who lived in northern Thailand for many years, has described the area near the Tham Luang cave system as a beautiful mountain valley with sharp-sided cliffs, the hills covered with green, dense jungle. And then comes the cave system, which is “enthralling. Its entrance is broad, like a cathedral door, and during the rainy season the humidity pours out of it like steam. It looks like the gateway to another world. In some senses, it is.” Filled with inviting chambers, challenging tight corners, and branching paths, the caves are a popular destination for adventurous explorers, like the members of the Moo Pa youth soccer team.

The Moo Pa, or Wild Boars, were members of a soccer club whose players ranged in age from eleven to nineteen. Twelve players and their fit, outgoing, and good-humored assistant teacher-coach, twenty-five-year-old Ek (Ekapon Jantawong), had decided to cap off a day of practice by scrambling through the linked giant caverns and twisting, tight, and craggy passageways of the 6.4-mile- (10.3-kilometer)-long cave system.


The entrance of the Tham Luang cave as seen from the inside, in the dry season.

Nopparat Kanthawong, the team’s creator and head coach, started the group in 2015 as a free activity to give young people, especially those facing difficult lives, a chance to enjoy themselves and to improve their skills. When about seventy players across a wide range of ages joined up, Coach Kanthawong divided the players into four age groups, though the best players could “play up” into the next squad. The players in the cave cut across the age groups.

The Wild Boars practiced hard, sent some graduates on to major Thai soccer teams, and fared surprisingly well in regional tournaments—earning second place in one recent contest and taking home the championship in another. But their bonds went beyond sports. Ek created a system where an athlete’s playtime was linked to how he was doing in school. Excitement about sports led to better study habits, and better grades guaranteed more chances to excel at sports. The sports-school link was only part of what the team offered.

Out of the seventy Wild Boars, at least twenty—including three lost in the cave and Ek himself—were not Thai; their place in the country was fragile. As Coach Kanthawong explained, “All of the kids who join the team, they all wish that they would be professional soccer players. But they would not be able to do so if they don’t have nationalities.” Ek and the other “stateless” players were among the 400,000 to possibly as many as three million people in Thailand who are similar to what are called “undocumented” immigrants in the United States, with an added level of peril. They are not Thai, but if they are missing any birth information from their home country, they are also no longer citizens of the lands in which they were born.

Stateless people can live in Thailand but do not have the legal papers that would allow them to study, travel, and work throughout the country, eventually get married, or leave Thailand and return. As the coach said, they have no nationality at all. The team is a kind of home—a place to be together, bond, share, and learn away from the impossible pressure of being a person without a country.

As Ek tells it, they had been thinking about exploring the caves for a while, ever since they’d gone on a team-building bike trip together. “Hey,” he remembered someone saying, “let’s go to Tham Luang on the next trip.” Ek and three of the players had already visited the cave several times, but that only made the others more eager to get their chance.

The players who planned to visit the cave included Titan (Chanin Vibulrungruang), who was eleven and the youngest member of the team. “Titan” is a Thai pronunciation of the English word. Many Thai people are given nicknames at birth, which may often be Thai pronunciations of English words, and use those nicknames all the time except on the most formal, official occasions where they use their given first names. Though Titan was born in Thailand, his grandmother was not. He was able to visit relatives on both sides of the Thai border whenever he liked, but when she visits him, she, too, is stateless. Usually a lively, happy person with a high-pitched voice, Titan had been playing soccer for five years and liked to be a forward or a striker.

Mark (Mongkol Boonpiam) was twelve, in seventh grade, and known for rooting for Real Madrid and paying close attention to games in the Spanish elite La Liga. Like Ek, Adul, and Tee, Mark was born in Burma (also known as Myanmar) and was stateless in Thailand. (“Burma” was renamed Myanmar by its government when it was run by its military. Some who are critical of the former military rulers continue to use the older name.) Mark was as intent on his studies as on his game.

At thirteen, Mick (Panumas Sangdee), a seventh grader, was one of the younger players, but he was agile and big for his age and enjoyed being a midfielder. Dom (Duganpet Promtep) was also thirteen and in seventh grade. He was known for inspiring other players, had been named captain of the team, and had been scouted by adult Thai teams. His girlfriend, thirteen-year-old Nutchanan Ramkeaw, said he was actually scared of the dark but for that very reason liked the challenge of entering caves in order to be brave and to overcome his fears.

Later, as the story of the lost team spread over Thai media, pictures of Dom and Mark attracted special attention. Social networks buzzed with comments on how handsome they were.

Pong (Sompong Jaiwong) was thirteen, in seventh grade, played left wing, and was an avid sports fan—whether playing soccer or watching the World Cup (which was taking place just as the team entered the cave). He was rooting for England.

Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on—whose name was sometimes shortened to Dul—was in eighth grade, played left defender, and was known for his skill with languages, as he spoke Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Wa, and English—in Chinese class he sometimes used the name Chen Ning. Born in Burma, Adul is ethnically Wa and was stateless within Thailand. Historically the Wa lived high on hills across China and Burma. Fiercely independent, they have an area within Burma they consider their own state, and control their own army. This has led to a series of clashes, and temporary peace treaties, with the Burmese government. Unlike the overwhelming majority of Thai people, the Wa are not Buddhist and have been visited by both Buddhist and Christian missionaries. Adul, for example, was Christian.

Tern (Nattawut Takamsong) was fourteen, in eighth grade, and was relatively new to the team. He was the kind of person who took pride in being able to take care of himself. At fourteen, Bew (Ekarat Wongsukchan) was in eighth grade, and was the team’s main goalie. Note (Prajak Sutham) was also fourteen and in eighth grade. He rooted for a local team, Chiang Rai United, and played both goalie and midfielder. Fifteen-year-old Nick (Pipat Pho) was a close friend of Bew’s and in ninth grade. He was not actually on the team yet but came to the practice and followed on to the cave. Tee (Pornchai Kamluang) was sixteen, in tenth grade, a defender, and had discussed the trip with his girlfriend before the team went into the cave. Tee was ethnically Tai Yai. Born in Burma, he too was stateless in Thailand.

Finally, Night (Peerapat Sompiangjai), who turned seventeen the day the team entered the cave, was in ninth grade and was a right winger. (Some Thai people who use the nickname “Night” prefer to see it as “Knight”—which of course is possible, since the English words sound the same.)
Saturday, June 23
The team planned out the day carefully. First, starting at ten in the morning, they played a warm-up game about two miles (3.2 kilometers) from the caves. After they finished the match, they biked over to the caves, “since everyone was curious.” The caves, which are an international as well as local attraction in the dry season, beckoned, but the team members were all watching the clock. One player needed to be back by five o’clock to meet his tutor. Night’s parents had planned a birthday party for him, complete with SpongeBob cakes. The whole team had been invited to come, and no one wanted to disappoint his parents by being late. Once they reached the cave, they would have about four hours to explore its inviting caverns.

Around noon the team biked over to Tham Luang with their backpacks and had lunch and snacks. The interlinked corridors of the cave system are dry—sometimes. The sequence of chambers and narrow passages weaves its way inside limestone hills that were once the bottom of an ancient seabed. Created through the endless accumulation, combination, and crushing of seashells, limestone resembles hardened sponges.

The full name of the cave system is Tham Luang Nang Non—“the Royal Cave of the Reclining Woman,” and there is a story behind the name. The cave is located in the far northern corner of Thailand. This wedge of the country is so close to Burma and Laos that it is called the Golden Triangle. The term is not meant as a compliment—the loose borders were exploited for many years by drug smugglers bringing first opium and later methamphetamine from creators to markets. The Thai government helped to shut down the opium traffic, but the drug smuggling is so well known in the area that there is a museum called the Hall of Opium that seeks to entice curious tourists. And the easy pathways from one nation to another are one reason why there are many stateless people in the area. A family may bring a child across the border to Thailand to give him or her a better start in life—even though the child will face the challenge of not having Thai residency papers. The overlapping histories of peoples in the region can also be seen in the story of the cave.

According to the legend, many years ago a princess from Burma fell in love with a man who was not royal, and she became pregnant. Her parents were furious, and she fled from them into the cave. When her father’s soldiers followed her, she took her own life. Her body is said to have formed the mountains, and the cave is the passage in—haunted by wounded, angry spirits. The spirits look like a cross between ogres and giants. They are frightening but also in pain, and capable of being healed. A modern shrine to the spirit of the princess stands at the cave mouth. As Dr. Johnson explains, a common view in Thailand is that you don’t need to believe in spirits, but you also don’t want to offend them.

There is good reason to treat the caves with respect. Interlaced with countless crevices and tiny tunnels, the limestone walls of the cave are extremely porous. For four months of the year, storm systems begin gathering moisture over the Indian Ocean and sweep across Thailand. These monsoons send black clouds scudding across the sky and pour down sheets of driving rain. The falling water cascades through the rocks, creating flash floods that inundate the cave. Caverns instantly become lakes, tight passageways fill floor to ceiling with water, and the slope of the ground creates a current flowing from deep in the cave system out toward its mouth. That enticing gateway now gushes water—looking, the Belgian diver Ben Reymenants has said, like white water churning on the Colorado River. A sign warns no one to enter during the rainy season from July to November. But since it was still June and the previous year the rains did not begin until mid-July, the team thought they were safe.

A guide to the caves describes them as being at the bottom of a “magnificent” semicircle of cliffs filled with “lush evergreen forest.” The wide opening Dr. Johnson described invites explorers to enter, and for about a half mile (one kilometer) there is an easy walk, part of which is paved with cement. From there visitors navigate through boulders until the passage narrows down to a space some six and a half feet (two meters) wide and about ten feet (three meters) high. Past the opening chamber, the caverns let in no light and there are no pathways. Explorers need to wedge themselves between jagged rocks, finding pathways up, down, into and out of whatever space they can manage to see. Those who make it through soon reach even tighter tunnels in which they need to crawl to reach the next high, open chamber. From the easy entry to the challenging crevices, the caves drew Ek and the boys ever farther into their depths.
Reading Group Guide
Teaching Students How To Write Their First Research Papers: A Research Guide Using Marc Aronson’s Trapped and Rising Water

Book Summaries

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert is the gripping, true story of the thirty-three hardy miners trapped in a Chilean mine for over two months. Based on interviews, news reports, and other research, Aronson uses a dual narrative of “Above” and “Below” to describe the tension and high emotions surrounding both the survival of the miners and the rescue effort to save them. Photos of the mine site, maps of the San José Mine, and illustrations of the massive equipment used in the rescue effort greatly enhance the reader experience; the counterpoint of light and darkness is both illuminating and terrifying. This true story reads like a suspenseful tale of desperation and triumph.

Rising Water: The Story of the Thai Cave Rescue is the true story of the Wild Boars, a Thai soccer team that got lost in Tham Luang cave and captured the attention of the world. Rising Water describes the international rescue operation in which cave-diving experts from all over the world collaborated on this delicate mission, factoring in concern for their own safety and for that of the trapped soccer team and coach. The boys needed to be rescued underwater, but how? Aronson tells a dramatic tale of death and life, of remorse and redemption, filled with as many twists and turns as the cave itself.

Writing a Research Guide

You’ve assigned your students to create their own book-based research project. You explain that you do not want a summary of the book, but an actual report on an original topic related to the book. Using issues related to Rising Water and Trapped, this guide will lead you through the process for any research topic.

When teaching good research techniques, remember QVC: Quality, Vetting, Compatibility.

Quality: Provide high quality resources for your students. You may automatically offer print resources and require one or more of them; however, don’t assume that using books and magazines exclusively teaches students good research skills. Instead, encourage the use of the Internet. One way to do this safely is with a WebQuest. Collaborate with another classroom teacher or school librarian to discuss different research topics the students may be interested in. Then create a simple website (any wiki creator will do) with links to factual, unbiased URLs presenting cogent information. Some examples may include:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/destinations/united-states/florida/two-divers-die-in-eagles-nest-cave/

https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/13/world/americas/chilean-mine-rescue/index.html

These types of websites are easy to find with Google searches, but they are not the first links on the page (Wikipedia is the first in both cases); that is why you may want to provide them online in the form of a WebQuest. Also, this gives you the opportunity to differentiate instruction and include regular and special education students by creating different WebQuests for different class levels, if appropriate.

Vetting: Some students will Google for answers regardless of your suggestions, so teach some simple online vetting skills. Allow your students to Google research topics, but insist on vetting. One way of vetting without penalty to the researcher is to require that students provide information about the website similar to an annotated citation. Have them provide information on the creator or owner of the website, the author, date created, name of the page, and most important, their rationale for using this website and accepting it as valid. Where did the author get the information? If it is from outdated or discredited sources, that should affect your decision to use it. This self-reflection often weeds out poor sources. The process may not prevent students from using unvetted websites, but it will enhance their skills by making them think about and identify their sources, the first step to successful vetting. Students can usually find the creator of the website on the About tab, often located at the very bottom of the webpage.

If you are a strict user of print resources, you can explain that the great thing about using print resources is that vetting them is much easier than vetting websites, and the information needed, like author, title, page numbers, and publisher, is easily found.

Compatibility: The easiest way to teach students to find research compatible with their chosen topic is to teach them to search targeted topics online. The most powerful online searching tool is the use of quotation marks. Consider the following searches* based on Rising Water:

-thai cave rescue—4,790,000 hits

-“thai cave rescue”—1,360,000 hits

-“thai cave rescue” map AND timeline—92,500 hits

-“thai cave rescue map” AND timeline—538 hits

*Google Chrome downloads as of 2/14/19

The issue is not using the Internet, it is searching on the Internet. Note how quotation marks reduce the hits from 4,790,000 to 477. Teach your students to search in phrases surrounded by quotation marks. Some sample searches include:

Trapped:

“33 miners trapped”

“copper mining in chile” danger

“san jose mine chile”

“common uses of copper”

“nazca plate” tectonics chile

“hephaestus god of the forge”

Rising Water:

“tham luang cave” AND “wild boars”

“cave diving accidents”

“thai SEALs”

“history of soccer timeline”

“cave diving" AND "most dangerous sport”

“international rescue efforts" "natural disaster”

Practice: Dr. Aronson had to approach Trapped and Rising Water like a student researcher: he brainstormed, exploring topics surrounding mine disasters and cave diving rescues, searching for significant aspects and people to decide what was important, relevant, and most interesting to his audience; those decisions became the books. Offer students that same opportunity for exploration by providing a series of links where they can access overarching information about the Thailand cave situation, such as https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44791998, as well as sites that discuss more specific topics like the potential for an event to cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/639433/Chilean-miners-the-33-antontonio-banderas-juan-illanes-San-Jose-mine. This can be done in writing or online if you use a classroom platform like Google Classroom or Edmodo. Discuss with students which facts or experiences from these articles they notice in Rising Water, and why Dr. Aronson might have decided to include them.

Research Process

Consider sharing the Model of the Information Search Process chart found at http://wp.comminfo.rutgers.edu/ckuhlthau/information-search-process/ with your students as a helpful guide. The model is based on Kuhlthau’s 1991 Information Search Process.

When brainstorming with your students, you already have great resources a few pages away. In both Trapped and Rising Water, Dr. Aronson describes his research process and maps out how he approached quickly compiling and organizing the disparate topics and massive amount of information needed for a book. In the notes and bibliography sections, he also tells readers where he found all his information. These tools can be used as models for a basic, annotated search process. Dr. Aronson used the following steps once he had his topic:

-Brainstormed format and method.

-Outlined what he thought he needed in detail.

-Employed time and energy to procure multimedia data, some of which worked its way into the final book and some of which did not. Take this opportunity to teach students that it’s perfectly fine not to include all data in the final product; it is always more fruitful to collect more than they will use.

-Organized the data into connected sections.

-Separated the useful data from the irrelevant data.

-Wrote and rewrote based on an outline that he had been revising and expanding during the entire research project, since things will change during research.

You can adjust Dr. Aronson’s steps based on your students’ needs and project timeline, integrating elements from the author’s notes that are most helpful. Then move on to these six detailed activities with your students as you continue the process.

1. Initiation: Brainstorm topics in class, discussing some of the specific issues involved with these topics. Ask students to start thinking about what topic and issue sound most interesting to them.

2. Selection of a topic: This is often the most difficult step because the possibilities are seemingly endless; some students get caught up and become overwhelmed. You may want to provide a list of suggested topics without necessarily limiting students to the list. For instance, go to the sources sections of Dr. Aronson’s books and start from a broad category like mining, diving, drilling, caving, or copper. Then ask your students to narrow down the topic by asking questions of interest using the five W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why). Why is copper so important that people are willing to risk death to mine it? How much does a gigantic drill like the Strata 950 cost? What is it made of? How are the dangers of cave diving similar to those for all types of diving? How are they different? Hopefully, having students ask these questions will result in a researchable topic of interest.

3. Explore the topic: This is a good time to hit the encyclopedias, books, magazines, and online databases. Have your students build a background in their topics. Let them learn the lingo, understand the important concepts, and be able to develop the questions they want to answer. Facilitate as needed, but they will own the project much more if you allow them freedom of choice (as long as the choice is reasonable). Let them also decide if this is the topic for them; if they want to change, now is the time.

4. Formulate the topic: This is a perfect time to introduce outlining, either formal or bulleted. Students start to create a logical timeline or progression of points for their papers. Students can simply start with a list of questions, and then answer them through their research. Their outline is their list. Outlining is another self-reflective activity that forces students to question their topics and to begin to see the sense in their arguments; for instance, they learn that copper is essential in electronics, discover that cave diving is a popular activity when they visit https://www.madacaves.com/, or realize that poorly maintained mines are connected to socioeconomic conditions near the mines, etc.

5. Collect the data. Students have already decided on a topic and outlined it; now is the time to collect the information that will be used in the research paper. Remember that the best way to get students thinking about sourcing is to require justifications, as described above, for using that particular source over a database or print item. Reasons will often include timeliness of the data; for example, students may not find many books about the Thai cave rescue because this may be the first. Remind students that lots of data provides lots of choices; limited data provides limited choices. At this point, more is more; during editing, less will be more.

6. Present the data/Write the paper. This is the time to teach students how to write a thesis statement and a research paragraph. Once they know how to do that, all they will need is an introduction and conclusion.

A thesis statement is the engine of the paper, and should be either the first or last sentence of the introduction. It provides significance and power to all the points being made within. It usually provides setting or context to the issue, and a brief statement of the problem within that issue. For example, “In Chilean mining, the 2010 accident caused repercussions in the mining industry that are still felt today” or “The Thai cave rescue operation of 2018 demonstrated the extreme dangers of cave diving.”

Think of a research paragraph like a sandwich. The top bun is the introduction of the data, where students situate the data, place it in context, and/or prepare the reader for it. The middle is the meat, the data itself; it can be raw, like cheese (primary citation), or cooked by the author, like hamburger (secondary citation). The bottom bun is the explanation of why the data is significant, what makes it align to the thesis statement, what makes it indispensable to this paper. Try not to ask for extremely long paragraphs; at this level, students are better off making one or two points well than four points poorly. Once students have research paragraphs, introductions, and conclusions, then you are ready to rock. Good luck!

Bonus Activity: Work with students to compile a list of people in the book or other experts in cave diving or mining that they’d like to contact, or consider reaching out to professional organizations with which they are associated. Request information and/or interviews for students to use in their research projects. Primary sources are always strongly recommended, and often interesting to track down; feel free to contact them via social media as well, or read another book that they’ve written.

Projects/Extension Activities

Offering extension activities enables and empowers students to think outside of the box, to let their creativity flow, and to allow them more control and autonomy over their assignments, generating more self-driven interest. Research on interest theory shows that student engagement depends on several factors like purposeful assignments, authentic topics, and the autonomy to achieve ownership of the material. Writing and researching are reflective and reflexive activities, and projects are most successful with eager engagement from students.

1. Have students work together to create a map of either the Chilean mine or the Thai cave. Can you make it in three dimensions? What are some of the challenges in making a map? Remember, the accuracy of a mine map could mean the difference between life and death for someone trapped inside.

2. Have each student choose one of the Wild Boars or one of miners and write his narrative, making sure to use lots of details from the experience to make it sound authentic. Remember that the more imagery and descriptive language that writers use, the more alive the experience becomes. Students can also consider writing from the perspective of one of the rescuers, politicians, or family members instead.

3. Have students create a comparison/contrast between the rescues in these two books, or between one of the books and another true rescue effort. How do the people being rescued react as compared with the rescuers? What physical or natural obstacles prevent an easy rescue? Are there differences in how viral the event becomes? Do people in different parts of the world respond differently to disaster? Do they react similarly?

4. Using some construction paper, pens, pencils, and markers, ask students to create a board game based on the book they’ve read. Cards can contain questions to be answered or facts to be used to complete the game. The board can even look like a cave. Students can also download maps of the country, the region, and the cave itself to use in the game; perhaps surrounding towns are stops in the game.

5. Help students see that in both books, tent cities instantly appeared as family members of the miners and soccer players gathered for information and comfort. Have them take a look at Hooverville, the name for every tent city that appeared during the Great Depression. Although they came into being in very different ways for very different reasons, are they also similar in what they provide and do not provide? What other qualities do tent cities have? Are they homes for the stateless?

Guide written by Bruce DuBoff, who spent twenty-five years in education, mostly as a middle-school librarian; he is also a past president of the NJ Association of School Librarians. Bruce works with Dr. Aronson at Rutgers University, where he is earning his Ph.D. in Library and Information Science. He worked for Dr. Aronson on the research for Rising Waters.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
About The Author
Photograph © Marina

Marc Aronson is the acclaimed author of Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert, which earned four starred reviews. He is also the author of Rising Water and Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado, winner of the ALA’s first Robert F. Sibert Award for nonfiction and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. He has won the LMP award for editing and has a PhD in American history from NYU. Marc is a member of the full-time faculty in the graduate program of the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife, Marina Budhos, and sons. You can visit him online at MarcAronson.com.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 2019)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534444133
  • Grades: 5 - 9
  • Ages: 10 - 14

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Raves and Reviews

* “Despite the concise narration, the gravity of the rescue is never dampened. Aronson is mindful in his descriptions of differences in cultures and takes care not to filter them through Western assumptions. He also includes a chapter openly describing gaps in his research and account due to key players' personal or political biases. . . . Solid writing preserves the natural rising suspense and astonishing details of this rescue.”

– Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Told in a breakneck chronological sequence, those familiar with the outcome of the story are still left breathless by the pace of the storytelling. . . . With respect paid to all countries that sent individuals to help problem-solve for the crisis, this will be a useful text in the classroom and a heart-pounding narrative nonfiction title for individual readers. Highly recommended.”

– School Library Connection

“Aronson makes the event feel new through his deeply detailed research and his ability to share pertinent information that news organizations may have ignored. . . . A thorough, engaging, and inspiring book.”

– School Library Journal

“Aronson takes readers beyond the headlines and into the action of this harrowing event. . . . The text quickly gains momentum as Aronson recounts some of the suspenseful life-or-death moments as divers brought each boy out one by one.”

– Booklist

“Aronson makes each nail-biting day feel immediate. . . . There’s more going on here than heroic rescue, though; there’s also serious attention paid to the “stateless” status of some of the boys, to Thai attitudes toward government, religion, and privacy that influenced subsequent media coverage, to comparison of the international response to the boys’ rescue and of the deadly, nearly concurrent failure of a Laotian dam not far away.”

– BCCB

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