I took a group of children up to the National Coal Mining Museum today - it is very local to us and is well worth a visit. School holidays are a particularly good time because extra arts & crafts activities are usually laid on for children, but at any time of the year this is a really informative and interesting place to wander around. Today we took part in a Living History session with the Pithead Baths' attendant which really brought to life the old mining ways and reminded me of a book (surprise, surprise!)...
Pitfall! was originally published as a little hardback by Zoar Publications in 1972 and is a short fictional story written for children (around 6-10yr olds). It had long been out of print when in 2005 we decided to republish it in response to growing demand particularly from the Christian School community. It really is a little gem of a book with a gripping story line about a coal mining disaster in a small mining village. The black & white scraperboard pictures have often been praised as being very evocative of the blackness of the mining times. I remember reading this book as a child and I found it just as spine-tingling when I read it to my own children a few years ago. Gospel truths are clearly and simply taught throughout the story and this can lead to many a fruitful discussion.
Sadly the National Coal Mining Museum have refused to stock this book in their shop with some muttering about the Christian message being too blatant. A sad sign of the times I'm afraid, but we shall continue to press it as the opportunities arise.
Pitfall! by Barbara Hallihan, published by CBO Publications, priced £2.95 (now a staplebound paperback). See more details here.