58 pages 1 hour read

Christina Soontornvat

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

Nonfiction | Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2020

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Important Quotes

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“They should be approaching Sam Yaek, the three-way junction, but now there is a pool of swirling water that wasn’t there before. The water completely blocks the way forward. The passage they came through is somewhere under the turbulent water, but they can’t see it. Tham Luang is flooding.”

(Chapter 3, Page 19)

Soontornvat infuses the narrative with tension, using imagery and dramatic statements. In addition, she highlights how quickly floodwaters rose and blocked the way out of the cave. In doing so, she helps convey the unusual and unpredictable nature of the flooded cave.

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“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.”

(Chapter 5, Page 29)

Soontornvat explains in simple terms the conditions that led to the sudden flooding of Tham Luang. Drawing on her educational background in science, she highlights geological processes and their impact on the changing cave conditions. Soontornvat balances the drama of the narrative with the scientific knowledge needed to fully understand the situation.

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“All the Wild Boars are familiar with the practice of meditation. Like most of the boys, Coach Ek is Buddhist, and he usually leads the team through meditation exercises before a soccer game to get them focused on the match ahead. Just like on the soccer field, the boys follow their coach’s guidance. Breath by breath, they each become the master of the one thing they can control inside Tham Luang: their own mind.”

(Chapter 8, Page 55)

Buddhism and its practice of meditation are a motif in the book. For the boys, a background in meditation helps them remain calm under terrifying circumstances. Soontornvat shows the importance of disciplining one’s mind and the benefits of meditation.