How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert
By Marc Aronson
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9781416913979, 144pp.
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
In early August 2010, the unthinkable happened when a mine collapsed in Copiano, Chile, trapping 33 miners 2,000 feet below the surface. For sixty-nine days they lived on meager resources with increasingly poor air quality. When they were finally rescued, the world watched with rapt attention and rejoiced in the amazing spirit and determination of the miners. What could have been a terrible tragedy became an amazing story of survival.
In Trapped, Marc Aronson provides the backstory behind the rescue. By tracing the psychological, physical, and environmental factors surrounding the mission, Aronson highlights the amazing technology and helping hands that made it all possible. From the Argentinean soccer players that hoped to raise morale, to NASA volunteering their expertise to come up with a plan, there was no shortage of enterprising spirit when it came to saving lives. Readers will especially appreciate the eight pages of full-color photos, timeline, glossary, notes, and more.
“Aronson marks the one-year anniversary of the collapse of a Chilean copper mine that entombed miners for more than two months with a riveting, in-depth recounting of the events that held the world rapt… Twelve short chapters with photos and diagrams keep the story well-paced as it alternates between above- and below-ground scenes, detailing the heroic efforts of the trapped men, their waiting families, and their rescuers, sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis. Extensive author and source notes, a bibliography, and suggested reading leave plenty for readers to explore.”
--Publishers Weekly, June 13, 2011, *STAR
“Leave it to Aronson…. Photographs, maps, diagrams and a wild range of literary references, from Merlin to Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Hephaistos, enliven the volume. The author uses these familiar touch points to help tell a complicated story, blending them with such highly technical information as mining machinery to keep his narrative flowing.”
--Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2011
“Masterful storytelling brings to life a story that most think they already know; the 33 miners trapped in a Chilean copper mine for 69 days in 2010…. It was a gripping story then, and Aronson manages to make it even more exciting, more inspirational, and more personal, all by gathering pieces of the puzzle and showing how they fit together. Explanations of how the Earth’s formation and plate tectonics created the copper lines that are so valuable to the world today are a critical beginning. Filling them in with a brief history of metalworking and mining leads readers to the small, out-of-the-way mine in the Atacama Desert region. From there the story becomes as intriguing and suspenseful as any work of fiction; the miners’ struggle to survive below ground is juxtaposed with the frenzy of the work aboveground by the mine officials, the government, and many others working to save the men. Detailed descriptions of the conditions that the miners endured and how they coped paint a vivid picture of just what an ordeal it was. The global response to the disaster was enormous, with organizations, governments, and individuals from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Japan offering resources and expertise to find a solution. Ample source notes, black-and-white photographs, websites, and a brief explanation of research methodology round out this must-have for any library.”
--School Library Journal, August 2011, *STAR
“Much more than just a chronicle of the Chilean mining disaster of 2010, Aronson’s well-researched and riveting book gives readers the sense that they’re in the San José copper mine…Peppered with engaging quotes, the text is fluid and attention-grabbing.”
--The Horn Book Magazine, August 1, 2011, *STAR
“There’s something here to rivet just about anyone, from gearheads who follow the approaches to drilling, to humanists who empathize with the trapped men and their anxious families, to nascent activists who recognize that behind the heroics lies a corrupt, neglectful system of mine operation that endangers workers to maximize profit. Students using this title as a foundation for a written report will appreciate the annotated sourcing, timeline, index, glossary, and perhaps most important, the motherlode of useful websites. Teachers and librarians might also want to direct their students’ attention to Aronson’s appended essay on how he conducted his own Internet-based research.”
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2011
“Aronson zips readers through a whirlwind primer….The succinct text is enhanced by a strong selection of photographs, illustrations, and diagrams, all of which help make the abstract technical issues clear. The remainder of the book is structured in a riveting day-by-day, “above-and-below” account of the rescuers’ struggle to locate survivors and bring them to the surface. Well-chosen quotes and interviews humanize the headlines, and Aronson’s dramatic writing achieves a sense of taut suspense that will captivate young readers. The extensive back matter includes biographical sketches of the miners, as well as a glossary, time line, bibliography, and list of suggested websites. Teachers will welcome this excellent title for classroom discussion, which closes with Aronson’s “How I Wrote This Book,” detailing his research methods.”
--Booklist, September 2011, *STAR
“Nonfiction the way it is meant to be—riveting, educational, and entertaining! Aronson not only does a fine job of chronicling both the physical and mental ordeals the Chilean miners faced, but explains how the problem occurred, provides historical background, and details the various participants in the rescue attempts…fascinating reading!.... Give this to students who don’t think they like nonfiction. Those that love history, geology, survival stories, scientific exploration, or even mythology will definitely enjoy it.”
--Library Media Connection, November/December 2011
“Aronson delivers a captivating account of the mine collapse…[and] crafts vivid portraits of the miners’ experiences underground, as well as those of the families and countrymen breathlessly awaiting their safe return.”
--Publishers Weekly, November 7, 2011, a "Best Books of 2011" selection