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All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

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A 2021 Newbery Honor Book A 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book A 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight. On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave A 2021 Newbery Honor Book A 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book A 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight. On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon's adventure. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path out. The boys are trapped! Before long, news of the missing team spreads, launching a seventeen-day rescue operation involving thousands of rescuers from around the globe. As the world sits vigil, people begin to wonder: how long can a group of ordinary kids survive in complete darkness, with no food or clean water? Luckily, the Wild Boars are a very extraordinary "ordinary" group. Combining firsthand interviews of rescue workers with in-depth science and details of the region's culture and religion, author Christina Soontornvat--who was visiting family in Northern Thailand when the Wild Boars went missing--masterfully shows how both the complex engineering operation above ground and the mental struggles of the thirteen young people below proved critical in the life-or-death mission. Meticulously researched and generously illustrated with photographs, this page-turner includes an author's note describing her experience meeting the team, detailed source notes, and a bibliography to fully immerse readers in the most ambitious cave rescue in history.


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A 2021 Newbery Honor Book A 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book A 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight. On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave A 2021 Newbery Honor Book A 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book A 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight. On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon's adventure. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path out. The boys are trapped! Before long, news of the missing team spreads, launching a seventeen-day rescue operation involving thousands of rescuers from around the globe. As the world sits vigil, people begin to wonder: how long can a group of ordinary kids survive in complete darkness, with no food or clean water? Luckily, the Wild Boars are a very extraordinary "ordinary" group. Combining firsthand interviews of rescue workers with in-depth science and details of the region's culture and religion, author Christina Soontornvat--who was visiting family in Northern Thailand when the Wild Boars went missing--masterfully shows how both the complex engineering operation above ground and the mental struggles of the thirteen young people below proved critical in the life-or-death mission. Meticulously researched and generously illustrated with photographs, this page-turner includes an author's note describing her experience meeting the team, detailed source notes, and a bibliography to fully immerse readers in the most ambitious cave rescue in history.

30 review for All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Twelve members of a boys' soccer team and their coach decide to spend a day exploring a cave in Thailand. They do not realize that the cave is flooding with water as they explore, and when they decide to exit, they quickly learn that they are trapped inside, with no way to communicate with the outside world. Christina Soontornvat tells the true story of the cave rescue of the boys and their coach. I was taken with the research Soontornvat did on the story and the beautiful and thorough way she to Twelve members of a boys' soccer team and their coach decide to spend a day exploring a cave in Thailand. They do not realize that the cave is flooding with water as they explore, and when they decide to exit, they quickly learn that they are trapped inside, with no way to communicate with the outside world. Christina Soontornvat tells the true story of the cave rescue of the boys and their coach. I was taken with the research Soontornvat did on the story and the beautiful and thorough way she told what happened. An incredible story of danger and rescue.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    What an incredible tribute this book is to an event that captured the attention of people the world over. Never having visited Thailand or its caves, I was unable to comprehend the level of expertise and innovation that was needed to rescue those thirteen boys and their coach. Soontornvat's book is an incredible combination of human interest story, photo documentation, Thailand geography source, and tribute to the rescuers. The Sleeping Lady, the mountain that housed the Tham Luong cave was fill What an incredible tribute this book is to an event that captured the attention of people the world over. Never having visited Thailand or its caves, I was unable to comprehend the level of expertise and innovation that was needed to rescue those thirteen boys and their coach. Soontornvat's book is an incredible combination of human interest story, photo documentation, Thailand geography source, and tribute to the rescuers. The Sleeping Lady, the mountain that housed the Tham Luong cave was filled with up to 10,000 people during the rescue operation. There was even a team of dedicated volunteers whose focus was diverting water that would otherwise flow through the rocks of the mountain down into the cave. The scope of this operation was well beyond my imagination and I am so glad I was able to read about it and see bits of it in pictures. The lives of so many have been forever changed by this experience and this story needed to be told. Well done! Thank you to Candlewick Press and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kammy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy via netgalley! I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book. I was intrigued. Would this just be a summary of what we already knew from the news? Would it keep my interest for over 200 pages? It wasn’t and it did. This book does such justice to this amazing rescue that happened because amazing people put their lives on hold until each boy was out of that cave. This book also wonderfully explains Thai culture and resilience, while also drawing att Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy via netgalley! I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book. I was intrigued. Would this just be a summary of what we already knew from the news? Would it keep my interest for over 200 pages? It wasn’t and it did. This book does such justice to this amazing rescue that happened because amazing people put their lives on hold until each boy was out of that cave. This book also wonderfully explains Thai culture and resilience, while also drawing attention to the plight of many stateless individuals in Thailand. As if that wasn’t enough, it also educates you on a vast amount of other subjects that are key to understand in order to grasp the extent of this impossible mission.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacia

    Could NOT put this amazing story down!! Stayed up late to read it in one sitting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    I could not put this NF book down! If you have students who like survival stories or feel-good human interest books, give them THIS one. . . . Inspirational, action-packed, and THRILLING, this book details the 18 days the Thai boys soccer team was trapped in an underground cave and the amazing people involved in their rescue. . . . A truly international effort, the rescue required much more than I ever realized (pumping water out! sedating the boys 😱! engineering face masks that would fit! complex com I could not put this NF book down! If you have students who like survival stories or feel-good human interest books, give them THIS one. . . . Inspirational, action-packed, and THRILLING, this book details the 18 days the Thai boys soccer team was trapped in an underground cave and the amazing people involved in their rescue. . . . A truly international effort, the rescue required much more than I ever realized (pumping water out! sedating the boys 😱! engineering face masks that would fit! complex communication issues that involved cultural differences!). . . . Everything you could possibly want to know about this event is told in full detail, full color, and with background on issues ranging from meditation to Buddhism to Thailand’s stateless people. . . . Must read, must buy for all elementary and middle school libraries!! @csoontornvat has written a NF thriller that will be immensely popular with students. . . . Thx to my friend @childrensartlab for insisting I read this immediately and to @dartmouthpublic for the book! Treats by @asitcrumblesbakingco 🍪 . . . #middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla #mediaspecialist

  6. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. This book was intriguing to me as I remember the impossible rescue of these boys and their soccer coach from the news so I jumped at a chance to read this and learn more. This book surpassed my expectations and I truly felt as though I was there with the boys and their rescuers through the harrowing rescue mission to save them. This book shows in words and photographs the true I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. This book was intriguing to me as I remember the impossible rescue of these boys and their soccer coach from the news so I jumped at a chance to read this and learn more. This book surpassed my expectations and I truly felt as though I was there with the boys and their rescuers through the harrowing rescue mission to save them. This book shows in words and photographs the true dedication of all the people involved in rescuing these boys from start to finish and the obstacles they faced and the decisions they had to make. I enjoyed how the author also touched upon the Thai culture and mentioned the boys families and even accounts from the boys themselves too. This is a fantastic account of the cave rescue and all those involved.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In June of 2018, a young soccer coach, Ek, took his Wild Boars team on an after practice outing to the Tham Luang cave. The boys had to be back for a birthday party for one of the members, but when they went to leave the cave that evening, they found that they were trapped by rising water. They had no way to contact anyone, no extra food or water, and only their soccer outfits for protection against the water and the chilly cave. When the boys did not return home, E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In June of 2018, a young soccer coach, Ek, took his Wild Boars team on an after practice outing to the Tham Luang cave. The boys had to be back for a birthday party for one of the members, but when they went to leave the cave that evening, they found that they were trapped by rising water. They had no way to contact anyone, no extra food or water, and only their soccer outfits for protection against the water and the chilly cave. When the boys did not return home, their bikes were found outside the cave, and an amazing multinational rescue effort was begun. While signs were posted warning about flooding in the cave, it was not yet the season for heavy rains, although recent precipitation had been heavier than normal. The rainy season was, however, on the way. Because of the levels of the water, the intricacies of the cave structure, and the fact that the rescuers did not know exactly where the group was, a host of agencies were involved in formulating a rescue strategy. There were members of the Royal Thai army, US military troops, a Sirikorn rescue specialists, a team of experienced divers from the UK, and even a renowned Buddhist monk! Equipment also came from all over the world, including a rescue capsule from Elon Musk and specialized masks for the boys. Local workers tried every available tactic to drain water from the cave, including getting pumps from nearby farmers and trying to drain the water with bamboo pipes. Eventually, a daring plan formed that involved sedating the boys and having a team of divers retrieve them, which was thankfully successful. Soontornvat, who happened to be in Thailand while this event was unfolding, does a great job at alternating personal information about the members of the team and the rescue crew with scientific information about the structure of caves and the methods of extraction. Plentiful photographs give a great feel for what the area is like. The follow up stories about what happened to the Wild Boars after the rescue is interesting as well, and Soontornvat's research and writing process was fascinating. I'm not sure how much interest there is in this particular event, but readers who like action and adventure nonfiction like Oldson's Into the Clouds or Tougias's Into the Blizzard: Heroism at Sea During the Great Blizzard of 1978 will enjoy this ripped-from-the-headlines tale. I'm half tempted to read Marc Aronson's Rising Water; he's a great writer, although I completely understand the thoughts behind having an #ownvoices writer tell the story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Fryman

    Six word summary: A stressful account of cave rescue! Loved: I loved all the great details presented in this book. I new of this rescue mission, but I really didn't know much about the people involved, the work involved, or the massive amounts of volunteers that spent weeks helping. Recommend for: Fans of adventure stories and true stories of survival and rescues. Reminds me of: A real life version of an I Survived book, but with more details about all the players involved in the rescue. Verdict: Ad Six word summary: A stressful account of cave rescue! Loved: I loved all the great details presented in this book. I new of this rescue mission, but I really didn't know much about the people involved, the work involved, or the massive amounts of volunteers that spent weeks helping. Recommend for: Fans of adventure stories and true stories of survival and rescues. Reminds me of: A real life version of an I Survived book, but with more details about all the players involved in the rescue. Verdict: Add it to your TBR! *Disclaimer: I received an early copy of this title for review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Thai-American author Christina Soontornvat has meticulously researched the harrowing rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave for over a week before they were found. Drawing on first-hand accounts from rescuers, family members, and the boys themselves, as well as background information on Thai culture, the history of cave diving, the medical risks involved, and the science of the rescue, she crafted a perfectly paced account that will make readers feel like they're righ Thai-American author Christina Soontornvat has meticulously researched the harrowing rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave for over a week before they were found. Drawing on first-hand accounts from rescuers, family members, and the boys themselves, as well as background information on Thai culture, the history of cave diving, the medical risks involved, and the science of the rescue, she crafted a perfectly paced account that will make readers feel like they're right there with the boys and their rescuers. (NOTE: I received an ARC from Candlewick.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Debbi Florence

    Full of tension and emotion, even knowing ahead of time the outcome, I could not put this book down. I have so much awe for the #ownvoices author for telling this story with such respect, understanding, and emotion. She obviously put her heart and soul into researching and crafting this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sam Bloom

    This is one of those books that doesn’t work too well for someone like me (I’m usually reading a zillion books at once). Do yourself a favor and focus on this and only this book as you read it; it’s so much better than what you’ve heard and will reward a close reading. Outstanding.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I stretched out on the couch by a fire late this afternoon to get started on this book, thinking I’d read a few chapters. And I just finished it. Literally, I could not and did not put it down. In addition to the riveting details of the harrowing rescue, Soontornvat includes just the right amount of back story when needed—how caves are formed, info about Thai Buddhism and young monks, even a helpful chart of human responses to levels of oxygen concentration (towards the end, the team was getting I stretched out on the couch by a fire late this afternoon to get started on this book, thinking I’d read a few chapters. And I just finished it. Literally, I could not and did not put it down. In addition to the riveting details of the harrowing rescue, Soontornvat includes just the right amount of back story when needed—how caves are formed, info about Thai Buddhism and young monks, even a helpful chart of human responses to levels of oxygen concentration (towards the end, the team was getting into a danger zone at 19%.) A truly incredible story of “extraordinarily ordinary” teenage boys, a kind and dedicated coach, hundreds of rescuers and a whole world praying for their safety. Hooray!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sunday

    NCTE ORBIS PICTUS HONOR AWARD (Nonfiction) 2021 This book made me feel hopeful about what a global community is capable of when faced with a formidable crisis. There were were a lot of moments in this narrative when saving the Wild Boars felt impossible--even the most positive of the rescuers felt moments of futility or made guesses about how many players would make it out alive. And yet that didn't stop a HUGE group of people from coming together and figuring out how to give rescuing the team th NCTE ORBIS PICTUS HONOR AWARD (Nonfiction) 2021 This book made me feel hopeful about what a global community is capable of when faced with a formidable crisis. There were were a lot of moments in this narrative when saving the Wild Boars felt impossible--even the most positive of the rescuers felt moments of futility or made guesses about how many players would make it out alive. And yet that didn't stop a HUGE group of people from coming together and figuring out how to give rescuing the team their best effort. Soontornvat's writing is stellar. (I'd be surprised if this isn't on ALA's SIBERT MEDAL list for 2020.) The narrative is riveting, gripping. There will be moments you gasp and moments you feel teary. (Sometimes I just felt this pure sense of joy in learning so many beautiful stories that occurred.) The graphics or illustrations of the caves by Karen Minot are exceptional. There is a map-like graphic of the chambers and tunnels between each chamber that became a regular reference for me as I read. The author's note reveals extensive research (and an author who feels humbled and honored by the experience). There are also a wide variety of photographs and additional sidebars that serve to expand readers’ understanding. Honestly, it's not the typical chapter book you READ ALOUD to GRADES 4-7, but I would!!! Or at least read the first chapter and then leave in the classroom library to be snatched up FOR INDEPENDENT READING. THEMES - 1) Together we're better. Soontornvat introduces readers to so many people who played a key role in the collective that made this rescue happen and the way she develops who these people are makes you want to meet them and know them better-- *Climbers, local guides, bird's nest collectors from southern Thailand who brought their gear and hunted for caves anywhere on the mountain that might lead to the boys. *When caver Vern Unsworth contacts his caver peer experts, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, hop on a plane from the UK, flew to Thailand and were the first to find the boys *Numerous other divers who specialize in "sump" diving in caves and who arrived from all over the world including one who was also an anesthesiologist with a specialty in giving anesthesia to children. *A local "get it done crew" and leader who found anything anyone needed - dry socks, protein gel pacs, face masks, and meals, meals, meals. *Thai Navy Seals (including one who died while trying to help) and U.S. Navy Seals *Thanet Natisri, a "water expert" who worked with teams to divert water from flowing into the caves from all over the mountain (and the farmers who said, "YES, flood my fields, anything to save the team!") *And on and on... 2) Finding solutions to a complicated problem takes patience, perseverance and an understanding of problem solving as a complex process. There were lots of different solutions pondered and even tried. And things were not always smooth. There was tension at times. The final solution required lots of different players doing their part, with the same goal in mind (which meant, for some, setting aside differences). 3) The Thai people's culture and faith, predominantly Buddhism (for most of the soccer team players and many of the Thai involved), played an important role in how they responded to this tragedy and the problem solving that needed to happen. Soontornvat briefly describes concepts like meditation and the social hierarchy of Thailand that played a role in people's responses and weaves these ideas into the narrative, helping the reader understand the why of particular people's responses. AND MORE. QUOTE that jumped out at me - "They taught me that 'impossible' exists only in your mind. You are capable of so much more than you can even imagine." - p. 222, Christina Soontornvat writes in the author's note about the impact on her of the countless stories she heard while researching for this book

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read! Whether or not you know how this ends, you will sit on the edge of your seat until it's over. This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read! Whether or not you know how this ends, you will sit on the edge of your seat until it's over.

  15. 4 out of 5

    DaNae

    The writing is gripping and breathless, even knowing the outcome. I want to talk and talk about this with my students. Such a depiction of problem solving, negotiation, bravery and using the best knowledge to get an outcome.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Bartos

    Read for my Library Materials for Young Adults class. This book was so stressful. I flew through it, especially since the writing reads a little young and the book is short. I would maybe even classify this as middle grade, so I would recommend this more to younger teens or at least teens with a lower reading level. I thought the insertions of explanations on caves, Thai culture, etc. were interesting and great breaks from the high tension. I cried several times, notably when the assistant coach Read for my Library Materials for Young Adults class. This book was so stressful. I flew through it, especially since the writing reads a little young and the book is short. I would maybe even classify this as middle grade, so I would recommend this more to younger teens or at least teens with a lower reading level. I thought the insertions of explanations on caves, Thai culture, etc. were interesting and great breaks from the high tension. I cried several times, notably when the assistant coach blamed himself, when the former SEAL lost his life, and when they were all out. Overall, a lot of tears. The author also had a good voice and had perfect moments of casual humor that didn't ruin the mood but offered some levity to the sad tale. This was a really uplifting story in the end.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Beth Parmer

    WOW. 5 stars is not enough for this incredible work of nonfiction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bat713

    Incredible true story. I could not put the book down until I finished the entirety.Then I had to go back and reread to fully understand what happened. This happened twice more. I loved all the photos and map illustrations. I still do not understand the cave set up. I need to reread again I guess. So inspirational at a time when inspiration in humans is lacking. That is the gift of this book. A true story where people from different countries come to serve and possibly sacrifice to save others th Incredible true story. I could not put the book down until I finished the entirety.Then I had to go back and reread to fully understand what happened. This happened twice more. I loved all the photos and map illustrations. I still do not understand the cave set up. I need to reread again I guess. So inspirational at a time when inspiration in humans is lacking. That is the gift of this book. A true story where people from different countries come to serve and possibly sacrifice to save others they have never met. Thanks, Sally, for introducing me to this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Wow, what a story. To watch how the country of Thailand and people from around the world came together to rescue the Thai soccer team is both gripping and inspiring. This is one of those stories that give you hope for humanity. One of Asher's guides and counselors at his school residential in Wales last year was a key cave diver to help rescue the boys, so this book had special meaning to us. *Also, I love what is happening is children's literature with regards to breaking barriers, including gi Wow, what a story. To watch how the country of Thailand and people from around the world came together to rescue the Thai soccer team is both gripping and inspiring. This is one of those stories that give you hope for humanity. One of Asher's guides and counselors at his school residential in Wales last year was a key cave diver to help rescue the boys, so this book had special meaning to us. *Also, I love what is happening is children's literature with regards to breaking barriers, including giving a Newbery Honor to a non-fiction book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie P (Because My Mother Read)

    Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy to review. My son has been really interested in survival stories like the I Survived series so when this book arrived he was so excited and begged to start it as a family read aloud that very day despite the fact that we had started a different read aloud. From start to finish we were completely absorbed in this book. Nonfiction gets a bad rap for being boring, but in the hands of a skilled author it can be gripping. The author provided so much rich con Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy to review. My son has been really interested in survival stories like the I Survived series so when this book arrived he was so excited and begged to start it as a family read aloud that very day despite the fact that we had started a different read aloud. From start to finish we were completely absorbed in this book. Nonfiction gets a bad rap for being boring, but in the hands of a skilled author it can be gripping. The author provided so much rich context to more fully understand all the elements of this terrible ordeal and amazing rescue. She taught us about cave structure, the human body, geology, Thai culture, international relations, Buddhism, and cave diving in a way that was so helpful and clear for kids and adults alike. It was never bogged down or boring. The way she told the narrative and switched between the perspective of the boys and the rescuers felt like a gripping novel and many times my son yelled out "I don't know how they are going to get out!" I read about this story in the news when it happened, but I didn't know or remember all the details of how the escape played out so I was on the edge of seat along with the kids. The frequent photographs and illustrations were a really important aspect for my kids and the map of the cave was especially helpful in us understanding how everything was laid out. I was already a fan of the author from her novel A Wish in the Dark released earlier this year and with both books being personal favorites of the year she is definitely an author to watch!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This was gripping and suspenseful, even though I've read other books about the incident. I mean, the title tells you they were all be fine, but the chapters where they have to get the kids out before the water rises again had me biting my fingernails. I also liked how it placed everything in context, explaining what life is like in Thailand and where customs differ (smiling, how to argue, who becomes a monk, etc.) The main narrative was sequential, with a lot of great illustration and photos, an This was gripping and suspenseful, even though I've read other books about the incident. I mean, the title tells you they were all be fine, but the chapters where they have to get the kids out before the water rises again had me biting my fingernails. I also liked how it placed everything in context, explaining what life is like in Thailand and where customs differ (smiling, how to argue, who becomes a monk, etc.) The main narrative was sequential, with a lot of great illustration and photos, and then every chapter or so there would be a box explanation of something, whether it was the geology of the area or the immigration status of some of the kids. I appreciated how it explained the communication gaps between the various groups without trying to make one team the bad guys, and how she covered both the innovations by the Thai people and the work done by the expert divers flown in to work the cave. I also appreciated how she left out the whole twitter kerfluffle and concentrated on what actually happened at the cave. I also really enjoyed the notes in the back, which carefully documented where everything was learned, including the personal connections (her father did some of the translating, her uncle helped her get an invitation to meet the boys when they came to LA). The bibliography covered all aspects of the story. I received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    It is SO GOOD. I have to admit I don't remember when this was happening, but when I look at the dates I realize it was the week of ALA Annual in New Orleans and the week following, so of course I didn't know anything about current events at that time. When you're at ALA, you live and breathe ALA. There is no room for anything else. Thank goodness for this book, which is incredibly well crafted and engaging, with a thrilling present tense narration alongside helpful interstitials to contextualize It is SO GOOD. I have to admit I don't remember when this was happening, but when I look at the dates I realize it was the week of ALA Annual in New Orleans and the week following, so of course I didn't know anything about current events at that time. When you're at ALA, you live and breathe ALA. There is no room for anything else. Thank goodness for this book, which is incredibly well crafted and engaging, with a thrilling present tense narration alongside helpful interstitials to contextualize the diving, the culture, and anything else you're unfamiliar with. This is great shit for advanced middle grade readers and older readers who like a good story or have an interest in diving and rescue work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shauna

    This book is a must-read! Although we are all at least somewhat familiar with the events, I had no idea just what a miracle this really was. A riveting story which defies comprehension that I could not put down. If I could give it ten stars I would! So much more than a story of rescue, it celebrates the Thai people and their culture which are integral ingredients to the success of the mission. Even though you know how it ends, it is still terrifying in parts and heartbreaking in others. If it ha This book is a must-read! Although we are all at least somewhat familiar with the events, I had no idea just what a miracle this really was. A riveting story which defies comprehension that I could not put down. If I could give it ten stars I would! So much more than a story of rescue, it celebrates the Thai people and their culture which are integral ingredients to the success of the mission. Even though you know how it ends, it is still terrifying in parts and heartbreaking in others. If it had been pitched as a movie plot, it would have been criticized for being too far-fetched!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: An account of the rescue of the Wild Boars boys soccer team describing the engineering and diving efforts, and how the boys endured this experience. It was a story the whole world followed, fearing for a time that the twelve boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were dead. Then we learned they were alive. But could a rescue be mounted during a break in the monsoon rains, and would the boys survive? Christina Soontornvat was in northern Thailand at the time this all ha Summary: An account of the rescue of the Wild Boars boys soccer team describing the engineering and diving efforts, and how the boys endured this experience. It was a story the whole world followed, fearing for a time that the twelve boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were dead. Then we learned they were alive. But could a rescue be mounted during a break in the monsoon rains, and would the boys survive? Christina Soontornvat was in northern Thailand at the time this all happened, and in this “you are there” account she renders the story of how all this unfolded day by day. The account is accompanied lavishly with color photographs and diagrams. The story begins with the boys of the Wild Boars soccer team and an assistant coach, “Coach Ek,” who has built a close bond with the boys, strengthened off the field with rigorous outings. On this day they decide to go to Tham Luang Nang Non–the Cave of the Sleeping Lady. They planned to go for an hour, but decided to go further–a fateful decision because while they went deeper in the cave, the Sleeping Lady woke up as heavy rains hit. When they turned around, they found the way out flooded. They found a dry area, and figured soon that people in their town of Mae Sai would notify the authorities and rescuers would come. And soon they did–Navy Seals, an elite group, but one who lacked both equipment and experience in cave diving. Vern Unsworth, a world renowned cave diver happened to be in Mae Sai. He was aware of the dangers, rushing, silted waters that could disorient a diver, clog gear, and potentially take lives with the slightest mistake. Eventually the call goes out to the best cave divers in the world, who come from half way around the world to be part of the rescue effort. Another part of the story is the incredible confluence of people to help with this effort from an American Air Force Special Tactics squadron to hydraulics engineers who worked on solutions both to pump out and divert water from the caves, critically lowering the levels to reduce the flow for the divers. Perhaps most inspiring is the “Get-It-Done Crew,” an army of local people who do everything from organize food to find critical supplies–fast. Meanwhile, as days pass on, the boys are growing hungrier. They are wet and cold but still healthy. Coach Ek’s challenge is to keep up their spirits, their hopes, their will to survive. They meditate, they dig, they huddle. Their team bonds and conditioning serve them well. When divers finally make it to them, they find them alive, though losing weight from lack of food. They can’t get them out but they can supply food, and they leave a doctor and three Navy Seals to look after their health. But the extra people are depleting the oxygen in the cave and the continued wet and cold are starting to affect the boys. The most significant factor are the coming monsoons, which will make the caves inaccessible for six months. The boys can’t survive that long, even if their sheltering place doesn’t flood. The mountain is too thick to drill. The only choice left is to diving in and bring the boys out. Even then, they estimate three to five will die. As the title suggests, there are no casualties (other than a Navy Seal who died earlier, showing the dangers of the caves). But I will leave the story of the rescue to you. The publication information for the book indicates it to be written at a grade 8 to 12 level. The account has an up close and personal feel, coming from interviews with all the key people. One comes away with profound respect for the boys and their coach who endured sixteen days in the caves, and the combination of Thai people and experts from around the world who overcome logistical and cultural obstacles to mount the rescue. Soontornvat not only describes the challenges, but helps us become part of the scene, feeling the alternating fears and hopes of the parents, the determination of the rescuers, and the gritty loyalty to one another of the boys and their coach. She helps us understand the culture of the Thai people and the strong values that brought them together in this effort. This is a story one can connect with on so many levels–a story of team spirit, of cultural values, of faith (Coach Ek is closely associated with a Buddhist temple), and of courage, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. There are so many elements of a great read, which this was for me. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM by Christina Soontornvat, Candlewick, October 2020, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-0945-7 “Darkness, darkness, Long and lonesome, Ease the day that brings me pain. I have felt the edge of sadness, I have known the depth of fear.” -- The Youngbloods (1969) “In order to understand how the Wild Boars became suddenly stranded inside the cave, you have to understand more about the cave itself. Tham Luang is the fourth longest ca Richie’s Picks: ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM by Christina Soontornvat, Candlewick, October 2020, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-0945-7 “Darkness, darkness, Long and lonesome, Ease the day that brings me pain. I have felt the edge of sadness, I have known the depth of fear.” -- The Youngbloods (1969) “In order to understand how the Wild Boars became suddenly stranded inside the cave, you have to understand more about the cave itself. Tham Luang is the fourth longest cave in Thailand. Compared to the longest known cave in the world, Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, which is 405 miles (653 kilometers) long, the Cave of the Sleeping Lady is just a baby. But it’s not the cave’s length that makes it dangerous. It’s the way it floods. The mountain that holds Tham Luang cave is made of rock called karst limestone. This is a very holey type of rock found all over the world, from Southeast Asia to the United States. Whenever you find karst, you almost always find caves. When rain falls on the Nang Non mountains, it doesn’t just run over the surface. Much of that rain sinks straight down into the mountain’s millions of holes, soaking into the ground like a sponge. When the Wild Boars walked into Tham Luang, it was dry. But what the boys didn’t realize was that the heavy rains that hit the area a few days before had completely saturated the ground beneath their feet. The boys didn’t know that the dry ground they walked on masked a mountain already filled to the brim with water.” ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM alternates between what is happening deep in the cave where the boys and coach are trapped, and outside the cave where experts, parents, and local volunteers have amassed. There is no way for the trapped team to communicate with the outside world, so those debating how best to reach the boys and coach actually have no idea whether the team is alive or dead. We know from the title that the soccer team members and their coach will make it out alive. But that doesn’t matter. The tension builds and builds as days pass, as various plans are proposed and scuttled, and as the boys face day after day of hunger and isolation. It all kept me on the edge of my seat. After ten days of growing fears that the boys will be found dead, a pair of rock-star cave divers from Britain reach the trapped soccer team. I was in tears as I read the emotional scene when the divers prepared to leave the flooded chamber with promises to return. Problem-solving methodologies utilized in the rescue are one of the big takeaways of the story. Several times, the book describes techniques employed by US Air Force Major Charles Hodges, commander of a Special Tactics Squadron that heads to the cave at the request of the Thai government. At one point, Major Hodges has two separate teams craft plans, and then the two teams get together and take the best of both plans. This isn’t a novel strategy, but reading about it in action was revelatory for me. As was the degree to which the rescue was rehearsed and fine-tuned outside of the cave before being put into action. Throughout the story the author reveals much about Thailand. Culture, customs, religion, geography, and government are all touched upon. Amid the worldwide death and despair of the pandemic, ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM is a thrilling and uplifting tale of human cooperation and ingenuity. This is narrative nonfiction at its best. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ [email protected]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    This book was my “read in bed” book, each night over the last week or so. It was so engaging that I had a hard time making myself stop reading to get some sleep. Soontornvat was visiting family in Thailand right as the rescue was taking place. After the rescue was complete, she felt called to report on the details of the rescue — particularly about the little known heroes and how the rescue mission played out. There are extensive footnotes with lengthy bibliography and the photos are so interest This book was my “read in bed” book, each night over the last week or so. It was so engaging that I had a hard time making myself stop reading to get some sleep. Soontornvat was visiting family in Thailand right as the rescue was taking place. After the rescue was complete, she felt called to report on the details of the rescue — particularly about the little known heroes and how the rescue mission played out. There are extensive footnotes with lengthy bibliography and the photos are so interesting and helpful. I appreciated how she explains the culture of the Thai people, the religions, the different sections of the cave, intricate details of cave diving (including the necessary gear) and water movement, the difficulty in communicating during the rescue mission, the countless people who came in to help in any way they could, and the medical details (such as how the body reacts to these environments and the types of medicines they had to work with). Congratulations to Christina Soontornvat for taking a second Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor, a YALSA Award Nominee for Excellence in Nonfiction, and a Cybils award for MG Nonfiction. Well deserved! For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

    Like many, I remember reading updates about the 12 twelve soccer players and their coach that were trapped in a cave on the news. I recall being surprised that it took so long for them to be rescued and being happy to hear once they'd been freed. Knowing the outcome should have made reading this book an fun informational read but it felt more like an action packed adventure story. Reading this book helped me to understand why it took so long to free the boys and how many people had to come toget Like many, I remember reading updates about the 12 twelve soccer players and their coach that were trapped in a cave on the news. I recall being surprised that it took so long for them to be rescued and being happy to hear once they'd been freed. Knowing the outcome should have made reading this book an fun informational read but it felt more like an action packed adventure story. Reading this book helped me to understand why it took so long to free the boys and how many people had to come together to make it work. It wasn't just the diving team, but those who worked to get the water level down in the cave, the farmers who allowed their fields to be flooded, those who brought supplies to all the workers, the different cultures that came together and found a way to overcome cultural barriers and many experts in many different fields. It really was team work that got those boys out. Freeing the boys really came down to the wire and I was on the edge of my seat for much of the book. It is a great example of how each individual contribution helped and how people can work together despite cultural barriers. The boys themselves are such an inspiration. Their gratitude and humility is touching.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    AMAZING! I loved this book and am so grateful for my second cousin who read it and gave me the idea! It's written in a textbook-like format, aimed at a younger audience, with tons of pictures, explanatory drawings, graphs, etc. Not only did I learn about the incredible rescue, along the way I also learned about Thailand, its culture, dominant religion (Buddhism), cave exploration, cave diving, different kinds of caves, rocks, water diversion, the many health issues that were possible threats such AMAZING! I loved this book and am so grateful for my second cousin who read it and gave me the idea! It's written in a textbook-like format, aimed at a younger audience, with tons of pictures, explanatory drawings, graphs, etc. Not only did I learn about the incredible rescue, along the way I also learned about Thailand, its culture, dominant religion (Buddhism), cave exploration, cave diving, different kinds of caves, rocks, water diversion, the many health issues that were possible threats such as hypothermia, starvation, infection, hallucination (losing their minds), possible problems from the anesthesia, etc. Then there were the lessons about the power of meditation, the coaches' ability to help the boys have the will to survive, leadership among the different groups brought in to plan and organize, and the challenges of striving to work together among their cultural differences. Wow! I could go on and on! So many lessons to learn! The author did an amazing job of capturing so many different aspects of the rescue. And to think that she says in the back that she regrets she wasn't able to include more and tell about everyone! A miraculous and inspiring event--and a fantastic retelling of it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I had no idea that this book was exactly what I needed right now. I actually checked it out once and read part and then it was due back and I had to wait several weeks on hold. The first portion of the book didn't quite grab me but by the end I was enamored. I frequently found myself overcome with tears reading this incredible story. (I don't really consider a big news story from a few years ago to be something that could have "spoilers" but there may be minor ones in this review if you don't kn I had no idea that this book was exactly what I needed right now. I actually checked it out once and read part and then it was due back and I had to wait several weeks on hold. The first portion of the book didn't quite grab me but by the end I was enamored. I frequently found myself overcome with tears reading this incredible story. (I don't really consider a big news story from a few years ago to be something that could have "spoilers" but there may be minor ones in this review if you don't know the story.) I remember when this happened and how shocking the whole story was. My fifth graders and I followed the story on CNN10 (news for kids!) so I didn't get an in depth scoop Reading this book made me realize how little I really understood. I needed this book because it reminded how truly good people can be. Sometimes in the past year, I think I have despaired and forgotten that. This book reminded me that people can be kind, caring, selfless, and that miracles can happen. Because that's what this story is, it's a story of a miracle. I loved reading about the boys and their coach. The coach's story was so incredible. His parents died when he was very young and he became a refugee in Thailand. He was taken in by a temple and worked hard. I loved learning about his relationship with the boys and how much he cared and taught them. He somehow kept his cool when they were trapped. I kept thinking, if the boys had been with anyone else, this story might not have had a happy ending. When they finally made contact, the Coach apologized to the parents and they all rallied around him. (It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.) I don't have the book in front of me so I can't remember all the names, but other acts that touched me were the men tromping through the rainforest trying to prevent more water from going in the cave, all the people brining food and organizing meals, the special divers that dropped everything and flew in to help, the special gear that was sent, the farmers hauling their water pumps up without being asked, and the list goes on and on. It was truly incredible how everyone rallied together. Before reading this I didn't realize that all the boys were given sedatives for the dive. It makes perfect sense and it worked well. Those cave divers are amazing. I keep thinking of the fact that the American military unit that presented the plan figured that only 60% of the boys would make it out alive with their diving plan. It truly is an incredible feat of faith, diligence, and human determination that all of them survived. It is a story of humanity at it's best. Highly recommend this book for all ages. And like all the other Newbery Honor books from 2021, this one is about 100x better than the actual medal winner.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I remember hearing the story on national news in the summer of 2018 of the Thai soccer team stuck in a cave.  It was DAYS of coverage and extremely terrifying despite the thousands of miles separating them from the United States. However, Soontornvat’s All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team is soo much more than that national news coverage.  This book gives us stories of all thirteen boys and their coach, it details the countless local and international volunteers I remember hearing the story on national news in the summer of 2018 of the Thai soccer team stuck in a cave.  It was DAYS of coverage and extremely terrifying despite the thousands of miles separating them from the United States. However, Soontornvat’s All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team is soo much more than that national news coverage.  This book gives us stories of all thirteen boys and their coach, it details the countless local and international volunteers that showed up to help whether it was with water pumps, supplies or diving expertise.  Doctors, cave divers and SEALs from all over flew to the small providence of Mae Sai to lend their skills and knowledge in saving as many trapped boys as they could.  This is more than a story about the flood waters that weren’t supposed to arrive for several more weeks and it is more than the miles of cave they travelled, it is the story of an ordinarily extraordinary group of boys with a  passion for the game of soccer and how the world came together to make sure they lived the long, bountiful life they deserve. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

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