The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

When I work with new reading students the first book I use is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. What makes this an excellent first book is that the story is astonishing – French tightrope walker Phillipe Petit, with the help of several friends, strings a cable between the two World Trade Center buildings during their final stages of construction. Though the story alone could have carried it, the book won a Caldecott Medal for its illustrations, and they don’t disappoint. It’s hard not to linger on the page that offers the wirewalker’s view of the city at dawn, from over 1300 feet up. There is of course the added wonder and poignancy of a story from early in the life of the now-destroyed towers. The book has proven a great way to show kids not only that there are books they can enjoy but also that books with pictures aren’t only for very young readers. Check it out – the story’s enough to amaze anyone, and whether you’re reading it to an emerging reader or offering it to a resistant reader as an opportunity to be amazed and inspired by books, it’s unlikely to let you down.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

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