Friday, September 10, 2010

The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers by Mordecai Gerstein

Do you remember the twin towers? Would you ever walk on a high wire between them? Didn't think so. Would you believe me if I told you someone did? Ok, you don't have to believe me, but Mordecai Gerstein will tell you the basics in less than 32 beautifully illustrated pages that fold out to enhance the reader's sense of wonder. The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers remains one of my favorite picture books to share with students in Bridges' library because of the sheer unbelievability of the event it documents. It's been a great ice breaker with new students, a good first experience to share with diverse-ability groups, and who doesn't love a chance to realize that someone did something crazier than they ever could have dreamed up? For emergent readers, teachers might find this lesson plan from Scholastic handy as a supplement. With more sophisticated readers, this book is a wonderful inspiration for an inquiry project. Once students have articulated some questions, Phillipe's memoir,To Reach The Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between The Twin Towers, filled with photos of the actual events leading up to and during the main event are on display and will blow some minds. I also recommend the documentary former Passages faculty Geoff Schmidt recommended to me when we co-taught this book: Man On Wire . I have also used this book when co-teaching with English and Art teachers in preparation for students creating their own picture books, often for entry in the Ezra Jack Keats picture book contest. The Man Who Walked is a great example of how framing and white space further the story line.

Gerstein, Mordecai. The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2003.

1 comment:

Abby M. said...

I use this book every year! I use it with 2nd graders to discuss non-fiction. A lot of my students don't believe he existed or that he really did these things. So I show them a video online of Philip Petit and they are fascinated by him. I also use it to discuss balance when they are studying that in the classroom. I put masking tape on the ground and make them walk on it without "falling off". Wonderful book to support curriculum or just read to get kids excited about non-fiction.