The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
Publisher: Roaring Book Press, 2003
Format: Picture Book
Award: 2004 Caldecott Medal
This book tells the story of a French street performer named Philippe Petit who walked across the Twin Towers in 1974. He realized one day that he had to walk across the towers; he had already walked across the Notre Dame Cathedral. When he asked for permission, police and the WTC owners refused so he decided to sneak in at night and do it by pretending to be a construction worker. He walked, danced, and ran across the wire until he finally went over to the tower and allowed himself to be arrested. When in court, the judge sentenced him to performing in the park for children.
I lived in New York for the first 10 years of my life and whenever we went into the city, I would always look at the towers. I still remember the first time we drove over to the city and I didn’t see them. Most children these days won’t remember the Twin Towers as they fell before many of them were even born. This book is a great tribute to them and the man who daringly walked across them.
This book won a Caldecott which means the artwork is absolutely stunning. The illustrations really draw you into the story. His paintings really show things from the perspective of a person a quarter of a mile in the sky. The middle pages open up to show a 3 page illustration of Petit walking through the sky with all of the buildings and cars looking very tiny and the opposite on the next page with a ground view and Petit looking very tiny in between the two towers.
Students can learn about sequence of events with this story by using sentence strips.