Forty years ago this morning, Philippe Petit stepped out onto a wire between the Twin Towers and walked on air for nearly an hour while crowds of people watched below. I’ve written about him before, watched the documentary Man on Wire, and read the book Let the Great World Spin. I find this particular event fascinating, but even deeper than that, I find wire walkers to be thrilling creatures. I’m equally engaged and terrified, and that combination brings me back to Circus Flora each year, watching between the cracks in my fingers over my face.
So the whole family was excited when F received The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein from a friend for her birthday. She opened it immediately and E read it to her in the backseat of the car while we waited in the drive-thru line of the pharmacy. I snapped this photo of the two of them, F’s almost out of her seat and completely transfixed.
The book was awarded The Caldecott Medal for its illustrations, and they are truly superb. They showcase Petit from the ground and from the perspective of the seagulls flying above and around him. The height is dizzying, even rendered in ink and colored pencil. This book will certainly make it onto our book gift list, and it’s perfect for any school aged kid. Older kids might enjoy watching the documentary as well about Petit, and he has several books out about creativity and performance art that would pair well with this picture book.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!