Book of the Week - The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

On an otherwise normal day in August 1974, a young Frenchman pulled off what may be the most impressive wire-walking exhibition in history. New York City's early commuters looked up to the almost-completed World Trade Center towers to see a man, experienced aerialist Phillippe Petit, walking back and forth across them on a wire. This amazing (albeit highly illegal) achievement has now been immortalized in impressive ink and oil paintings in Mordicai Gerstein in The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Alongside the artwork is the story, economically told, of Petit's dream and the manner in which he made it come true. It describes how he and some friends dressed up as construction workers, hid out on both towers until nightfall, and got the wire-walking cable in place, after which Petit walked, ran, danced, and even lay down on the outstretched wire over the course of nearly an hour. He was then, of course, arrested but, ordered only to perform his feats for the children of New York City. This is a fabulous story that will literally take your breath away. Among the artwork you will find the ingenious use of two foldout illustrations, each one establishing an amazing change in perspective of Petit's wire-walking feat and making the drama of the event all that more palpable. Published in 2003 and the recipient of The Caldecott Medal, this book is sure to captivate many young minds with its story and artistry, and it does stand as something of a touching reminder of the two towers that fell on September 11, 2001 and the spell they cast in their own silent yet mighty fortitude. I know I have featured this book before, but I find that it is the appropriate choice for today.