Titan and the Wild Boars

Last week, Dow Phumiruk shared her illustration process for Titan and the Wild Boars. This week, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, learn more about this outstanding new book. 

Picture1Title: Titan and the Wild Boars, The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team

Written by: Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran

Illustrated by: Dow Phumiruk

Harper Collins 2019, nonfiction

Suitable for ages: 6-12

Themes/topics: rescue, Thailand, teamwork, perseverance

Like his friends in Mae Sai and many kids in Thailand, eleven-year-old Chanin grew up obsessed with soccer. He started playing at age six and joined the Wild Boars team a couple of years later.
Chanin’s family nicknamed him Titan after the powerful giants of Greek mythology. Little Titan may not have measured up in height, but like these gods, he was known for his strength. “He is small but very tough,” said his aunt. “His coach said he plays like a boy aged fourteen. Whenever he gets knocked down, he just jumps up straightaway.”

Overview: (from the publisher)
One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.

Activities and Resources:
Writing: Imagine you are one of the boys, the coach, a rescuer, a reporter, or a family member. Write a journal entry about one day during the 18 days the boys were in the cave.

Fold an origami crane and share a wish for someone you know. Instructions HERE.   Instructions with video HERE.

How did people work as teams? The boys? The rescuers? The world?

At the end, the author calls the rescue, “Miracle. Science. Patience. Expertise. Luck. Sacrifice…” Find an example of each idea in the story.

Why I like this book:
For anyone who knows how long it takes to publish a picture book (usually 2-3 years), the release of this book less than a year after the actual incident is astounding. And after Dow’s post on the challenges she faced creating the illustrations, this complex task takes on added significance. The gripping story comes alive with the finely detailed illustrations of the underground world we previously could only imagine. I’m so glad this powerful story of resilience and the world coming together on the rescue mission will be on the shelves of libraries everywhere!


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge on Kid Lit Frenzy on Wednesdays for more great nonfiction books for kids!


12 thoughts on “Titan and the Wild Boars

  1. Unbelievable! Just wow! The illustrator must have felt enormous pressure to get these done. This reminds me of Chronicle Books’ timeline for A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo so it could pub at the same time as Pence’s bunny book. Will have to see if this one’s available through the SFPL. Thanks for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth, I was wondering which one of us would review this terrific new nonfiction PB first. This is some feat to publish it so soon. Bravo to author, illustrator (especially) and the whole team.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I followed this news story … can’t wait to read this book. And yes – they really pushed fast to get it done.


  4. That is one beautiful cover and after reading the illustrators post I so want to get this book. We were glued to our TV’s watching this rescue unfold and so happy it had a great result. I knew it would be in book form soon, but didn’t realise it would be so quick. Well done.


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