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

All Thirteen cover
All Thirteen by Christine Soontornvat

by Christina Soontornvat

Candlewick Press, 2020
288 pages

Age 10 and older

The rescue of 12 young Thai soccer players and their assistant coach, trapped in Tham Luang Nang cave for more than two weeks in 2018, was an effort of compassion, courage, and international cooperation. It was a feat of technology and engineering, problem-solving and logistics. Above all, it was, and is here, a riveting human story about the 12 boys and their coach and some of the many people who worked to bring them out alive. British and other divers with the requisite cave diving experience worked with Thai and U.S. military personnel to navigate the deep water and tight passages. A Thai American engineer and entrepreneur figured out a way to stem the flow of water into the cave system—for as long as more rain held off. Several locals organized support services for volunteers and families of the trapped players. There was far more tension and worry than moments of triumph, especially early on, and rescue was not certain—these complexities and dangers were underscored when Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan died. Communication was challenging, not only because of the scale of the effort but because of cultural differences between Thais and westerners. Thai American author Soontornvat was visiting family in Thaliand at the start of the crisis and she, like all of Thailand, and much of the world, followed the story closely. Her thorough research, original interviews, and nuanced cultural understanding are all essential elements to this fascinating and substantial account buoyed by photographs and other visual material. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center