Coal mining is starting again on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
The first underground coal mine opened on Cape Breton in 1720, almost 300 years ago. Now, after a 15-year break, it has started again.
Two Canadian picture books depict life long ago in the coal mines:
Carter, Anne Laurel. Out of the Deeps. Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 2008.
Young Savino’s school life is over. It is time for him to join his father down in the mines. On his first day, as he helps load the coal box pulled by Nelson and walks alone with the pit pony through the tunnels, his lantern goes out and he is left in pitch darkness. But Nelson knows the way and leads them safely to the surface. This suspenseful story, dramatically illustrated by Nicolas Debon, is based on the life of Savino Calibrese who was sent down into the Cape Breton mines when he was 12 years old. An afterward explains how the pit ponies spent their lives underground until machinery was introduced in the 1950s. This emotionally powerful and informative picture book is recommended for readers – and listeners – 8 years old and up. [Cape Breton Island (N.S.); Coal mines and mining; Fathers and sons; Historical fiction; Horses; Nova Scotia – History]
Wallace, Ian. Boy of the Deeps. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, [19–]; Groundwood Books reprint edition, 2005.
James is declared old enough to start working with his father. Down, down, a thousand feet down in a steel cage, they go to join the men in the dangerous depths of the Cape Breton mines. And there James experiences – for the first time – the risks faced by men who work under the ground. An emotionally moving picture book for readers 8 years old and up. [Cape Breton Island (N.S.); Coal mines and mining; Fathers and sons; HIstorical fiction; Nova Scotia – History]
Cape Breton’s Miners Museum