The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein


Publishing: Roaring Book Press; Brookfield, CT; 2003

Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner

Description: This book tells the story of Philippe Petit who walked on a tightrope between the twin towers in New York on August 7, 1974. The washed-out illustrations give the feeling of a time long-past. Fold-out pages help to convey the distance walked and the height of the towers. The story is well-told and even more special because it was published shortly after 9/11.

Programming: The obvious choice would be to use this book on or around 9/11 to show younger students what the twin towers were like and begin a discussion about what happened. Students could research more details about Petit himself, because the book doesn’t give much background, or they could write down all of the numbers given in the book: how high the towers were, how far across he walked, etc. It would also be a good time to talk about facing fears and what other dangerous things people do, such as sky diving, bungee jumping, riding/fighting bulls, etc.

Madlenka by Peter Sis

Madlenka by Peter Sis


Publishing: Frances Foster Books, New York, 2000

Description: When Madlenka discovers that her tooth wiggles, she must tell everyone she knows. This includes a very diverse group of neighbors in her little New York city block, including the Latin American greengrocer, German lady who tells stories, Asian storekeeper, and several others. This book gives a very interesting picture of diversity. The illustrations are in Sis’s typical style, which sometimes appears a bit surreal. Text is written around the edges of the pages and requires turning, while there is a hold in the center of many pages that Madlenka appears in when pages are turned. Very cleverly done, I think.

Programming: I would use this book on some sort of multicultural day/lesson because of the variety of characters. With older students I might use it to display the art styles found in the illustrations and how they reveal the background of Peter Sis and also how they reflect the culture being portrayed.