At 12 years old, Conall has already worked in the coal mines of West Virginia for two years. He spends his days deep underground with his faithful mule, Angel, carting loads of coal back and forth between the coal seams and the main shaft, where elevators take the coal up to the surface. One day a tunnel collapses, and his brother is trapped with others on the wrong side! How can Conall and Angel help to save them?
Mixing archival images with his original artwork, in this historical fiction picture book acclaimed author and illustrator S. D. Nelson gives voice to the poverty, grueling labor, and dangerous conditions experienced by child laborers across our nation in the past, echoing conditions today, especially for migrant fieldworkers.
Praise for Digging a Hole to Heaven Nelsons acrylic-paint illustrations are gritty and realistic; more evocative still are the historical photographs that appear on nearly every page. A useful and thorough piece of work combining fiction and nonfiction, with an extensive authors note detailing the history of coal mining. --Kirkus Reviews