I checked out a bunch of stuff on the coal industry yesterday. I've been messing around with the idea of a book about coal and labor unions. It's a topic that kids don't know a lot about, and I would be pitching the book for a YA/middle-level audience, a la Albert Marrin or Marc Aronson.
Aronson was at the NCTE conference in Chicago, and he is both an excellent presenter and an engaging, incisive author. I really liked Sugar Changed the World, and his book about the coal mine rescue in Chile (Trapped) got me thinking about the coal industry again.
My thinking here is some kind of modeling or write-alongside my students. I'm interested in digging deeper into this topic, and I'm thinking about ways to do that in front of my students so that they can see and learn from that example. Perhaps it would help, too, to have some of them along on this trip.