April 2013
March 28, 2013

Check it out : Buried Alive! How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert

Author: Written by Elaine Scott
Source: NYSUT United
Buried Alive! How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert book cover

Recommended by: Alicia Abdul, Albany High School librarian, Albany Public School Teachers Association

Suitable for: Grades 5-12

Why I chose this book: The narrative tells the story of the copper miners trapped deep beneath the earth in a mine collapse in the Atacama Desert in Copiapo, Chile, in 2010. It explains both what the miners were doing during the rescue efforts and how rescue teams and the world were helping to free them. Scott's use of pictures enhances the seriousness of the situation, and her descriptions show the true collaborative spirit of leadership and innovation to free the men. As nonfiction becomes a premium platform for classroom texts, this book is multi-faceted: themes, connections and characters are all at play.

How teachers can use this book: As an informational text, teachers can utilize this book in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes since the book deals with calculations and backup plans for the rescue, the mental and physical health of trapped individuals and the science of the collapse itself. Pair it with similar nonfiction books such as Trapped: How The World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson or The Chilean Miners' Rescue by Marcia Amidon Lusted. Even fictionalized survival stories, such as Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick or Trapped by Michael Northrop, would be useful.

What I liked best: There are so many perspectives, people and different technology involved in the rescue that make the book interesting, and it is never disorganized within the text. Scott's presentation of the story from pre-collapse to years after the rescue is comprehensive and well researched.

About the author: Another of Scott's books, Space, Stars and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw, was named a 2012 Notable Book by the American Library Association and won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Children's Book Award. Scott got her start in writing when a poem she had written for a class assignment was entered into a contest by her teacher. It won first prize and was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Learn more about her at www.elainescott.com.

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians. Have a recommendation? School librarians may send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to lfrenett@nysutmail.org.