Book Trailer Premiere: Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team by Susan Hood, Pathana Sornhiran, and Dow Phumiruk

Happy Sunday! Susan Hood, Pathana Sornhiran, and Dow Phumiruk dropped by to share the book trailer for Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team and to finish my sentences. Susan wrote the words in black, Pathana wrote the words in redDow wrote the words in green, and I wrote the words in purple. Thank you, Susan, Pathana, and Dow! 

Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team’s book trailer is a fascinating look at how illustrator Dow Phumiruk created the art for the book. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of tiny details in this story and Dow worked hard to make sure the art was accurate…and gorgeous! I love her deep jewel colors inside the cave and her use of light.

Pathana Sornhiran is a talented Thai journalist who was reporting outside the Tham Luang Nang Non Caves last summer. She and I teamed up to tell this astounding true story for a picture book audience, based on extensive research and Pathana’s on-site reporting. Conditions inside the cave and emergency rescue plans were changing day to day so it was invaluable to have Pathana there to witness what was happening, to accurately translate government statements and the boys’ press conference, and to reflect a Thai sensibility and point of view. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have written this book without her. 

Peerapat Sompiangjai, Pipat Bodhi, Prajak Sutham,Panumas Sangdee, Nattavut Takhamsong, Somphong Jaiwong, Coach Ekapol Chanthawong, Pornchai Kamluang, Adul Sam-on, Chanin Vibulrungruang, Monkol Boonpeam, Ekarat Wongsookchan, and Duangpech Promthep are the names of the twelve boys and coach of the Wild Boars team who were trapped inside the cave. (Titan is Chanin’s nickname.) And what a team! These boys are different ages, from different schools and backgrounds, but they all stayed together, listened to each other, and cared for one another. In these divisive times, these boys inspired remarkable international cooperation. More than twenty countries put aside their differences, shared resources and expertise, and worked as a team to rescue them.

Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson are two of the best cave divers in the world. Along with fellow divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, they were responsible for guiding the sedated boys through the submerged sections of the cave. Most people don’t fully understand the danger they faced. Imagine extensive black tunnels with zero visibility, a mighty current, jagged rocks, boulders the size of houses, tight passages, whirlpools, and mudslides—impossible odds that resulted in the tragic death of former Thai Navy SEAL and triathlete Saman Kunan. In my interviews with Chris and Jason, they said they initially doubted they could get the boys out alive. But they had to try. They filled us in on two emergencies that happened mid-rescue. And they were invaluable for fact-checking; we were able to correct a lot of errors and inconsistencies reported in the press. 

Pathana Sornhiran is currently traveling on assignment in Indonesia. She was able to respond to one sentence starter. 

I hope Titan and the Wild Boars:The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team will inspire courage and hope through an incredible series of true events that celebrates human unity, kindness, determination, and remarkable ability to achieve what seems impossible. 

On June 23, 2018, twelve boys and their soccer coach rode their bikes to the nearby cave system in the Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand. They did not plan for their adventure to last more than an hour and had no idea of the ordeal ahead. Floodwaters trapped them when they turned to go home. Parents reported them missing that evening, and within days people from all over the world began arriving to help find them.

Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran’s manuscript for Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team tells the story uniquely and beautifully. The writing, in both prose and poetry, relays the gravity of the boys' situation, describes the global nature of the rescue efforts for these boys, and highlights what teamwork and the kindness of strangers can accomplish in a time of need. I think readers will be fascinated with the detailed information in the book. These two authors make a great team, and I felt honored to join with my illustrations! 

The illustrations for Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team were created with ink, charcoal, and pencil and colored digitally. I also used scanned watercolor textures. I have two goals when creating art for any book project: I work towards cohesiveness of all spreads while simultaneously considering that each page or spread in the book should "hold its own" as a freestanding piece of artwork. That way any page a reader opens to should intrigue them to look at more! For this book, we chose a rich jewel toned palette with many overlay layers for lighting glow. Lighting had to be placed judiciously for cave interior scenes.

This was easily the most difficult project of my art career to date! Recreating the landscape and mood, trying to capture so many people accurately, and conveying the magnitude of the caves and rescue operation were all quite a challenge. That said, I loved drawing Thai people, many of whom reminded me of my own family members as I took note of facial features and complexion. I've never had this opportunity before!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked us about Coach Ek and his role in keeping the boys alive. He told the boys to drink water dripping down from stalactites rather than the dirtier water below. He modeled prayer and meditation to save energy and remain calm, drawing on his previous experience as an apprentice to Buddhist monks. And most of all, he assured the boys that help would come, that people were searching for them. He gave them hope. 

Look for Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team on May 7, 2019. 

Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s Violin, Shaking Things Up, and Lifeboat 12. She is the recipient of the 2017 E.B. White Honor Award, the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Américas Award, and the 2017 Bank Street Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, given annually to “a distinguished work of nonfiction which serves as an inspiration to young people.” Visit

Pathana Sornhiran was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University with a major in English and French. She later completed her master’s degree in journalism in London, UK and now works as a journalist in Asia, traveling across the region to find and tell stories that matter.

Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand and came to the United States with her family when she was very young. Her mother was a nurse, and her father, a retired Royal Thai Air Force captain. He worked for Thai Airways for many years, which allowed her family many trips back to Thailand when she was younger. Dow currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She is an author and illustrator of children’s books and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2011. Dow is also a general pediatrician who teaches medical students part time. When she is not creating or teaching, she likes to hike the trails near her home. Visit her at


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