“Free Choice Friday”: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

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In light of September 11 last week, I thought that this book took an interesting angle on the history of the Twin Towers. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein tells the story of Phillipe Petit, a high-wire walker who strung a line between the Twin Towers and made his way across. A winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal, 2004 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Picture Books, and the 2006 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video, this book comes highly acclaimed.

What I loved about this book was that it brings the Twin Towers to life as they were prior to the September 11th attacks. The beautifully drawn pictures make the story spring off the page as you watch Phillipe’s dream of walking the high wire come alive. Children will mostly likely be unaware of their significance until the final page of the book, where the illustration depicts the recurring cityscape scene, but with the Towers missing. I think that this book offers a great way to open the conversation with young children about the importance of September 11th without being too scary. Of course, it’s important to know your audience with this read. The topic may be too sensitive for readers with personal connections to the September 11th attacks. However, with a little extra planning, this book can be wildly successful.

By Jess Nylen

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