Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

mirette

Publishing: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1992

Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner

Description: Mirette lives in a boarding house where all of the great performers come to stay. When a mysterious man appears and walks on a tightrope in the courtyard, she wants to be just like him. She practices on his wire when he is not around, and then he teaches her. She finds out, however, that he is the Great Bellini and that fear has stopped him from performing. She confronts him about it and he decides to try again, but this time she steps out on the wire with him and they begin performing as a duo.

Programming: In this story, Mirette is able to befriend the Great Bellini and help him to overcome his fear. This would be a good place for a team building exercise or the class could read other stories about friends helping each other overcome fears.

Advertisements
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

CM_between_towers

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.