Thursday, December 15, 2011

Trapped by Marc Aronson

How the world recused 33 miners from 2,000 feet below the Chilean desert.  Atheneum Books, 2011

Now, you may think, "Not another book about a sensational current event tragedy turned triumph again!"  and if you are, then you don't know Marc Aronson.  This is much more than the Chilean miners.  It's about mining, history, technology, current events, psychology, aeronautics, and politics, all of which Aronson delivers in a short but powerful book about hope. 

Aronson writes in tandem about the Chilean miners while giving back history on mining itself, from early Green and Roman mythology to current books about miners and their god Hephaistos.  What grabs the readers attention is the background details Aronson writes about, including the importance of mining and how the entire world rests with what miners bring to the top for consumers around the world.  Since the San Jose' mine was a copper mine, Aronson also goes into detail not only about the history of copper and its uses, but also incorporates a pictures of the small town of Copiapo, where the miners and their families lived. 
Aronson also gives the reader information on the psychology of the miners, and how they were able to stay months underground without any mental or physical damage to themselves or others, which is the true miracle in and of itself. 

Images are always a great part of the storytelling, and Aronson incorporates some powerful images, including an aerial view of a diamond mine in Alberta Canada, to the very first note that was pulled up from the miners when the first hole was punched through over 13 days later.  Diagrams of the drilling, pictures of the Chilean desert...they are all there to show how bleak this disaster could have become but thankfully didn't.  The world and its humanity pulled it out to make these men come back to life. 

Finally, the afterword is a must read for all librarians and/or teacher teaching research.  Aronson takes the reader through the process of researching and having to use the internet, which could definitely be something to share with students as they begin the reading process.  This author is always insightful, interesting, and intelligent.  This is an easy book to read, with only 111 pages to the story and afterward, but I agree with Aronson.  It'll make readers run to the computer searching for more.  I know I did.  Highly recommended for JH/HS

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