The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein


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The story of a daring tightrope walk between skyscrapers, as seen in Robert Zemeckis' The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and—in two dramatic foldout spreads— the vertiginous drama of Petit's feat.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is the winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal, the winner of the 2004 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Picture Books, and the winner of the 2006 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312368784
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 04/17/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 44
Sales rank: 39,140
Product dimensions: 8.02(w) x 10.61(h) x 0.21(d)
Lexile: AD640L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, winner of the Caldecott Medal, and has had four books named New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Gerstein was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He remembers being inspired as a child by images of fine art, which his mother cut out of Life magazine, and by children's books from the library: "I looked at Rembrandt and Superman, Matisse and Bugs Bunny, and began to make my own pictures."

He attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and then got a job in an animated cartoon studio that sent him to New York, where he designed characters and thought up ideas for TV commercials. When a writer named Elizabeth Levy asked him to illustrate a humorous mystery story about two girls and a dog, his book career began, and soon he moved on to writing as well as illustrating. The author of more than forty books, Gerstein lived in Westhampton, Massachusetts.


Northhampton, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

November 25, 1935

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California


Chouinard Institute of Art

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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
jenxloves More than 1 year ago
This book is such a beautiful tribute to the Twin Towers and Philippe Petit's story. For children who do not know of the tragedy of the 9/11, this is a good book to talk about that lesson. It is an amazing story of this man who walked between the towers, could you imagine doing such a thing? This book tells his tale wonderfully and gives a sense of adventure. Educational and adventurous, the kids will love it. This deserves to be brought out all year long, not just in September. Great read, pick it up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mordical Gerstein is the author and illustrator of more than thirty books for children. He won the Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between The Towers in 2004. He lives with his wife, Susan Harris, and their daughter, Risa, in Northampton, Massachusetts. A young aerialist named Philippe Petit watched two towers being built in New York City. He remembered dancing on a wire between the steeples of Notre Dame Cathedral in his home city of Paris, and he wanted to dance on a wire between the two towers. He knew that the police and the people who owned the building would not allow him to do that, so one day him and a friend of his dressed up as construction workers and snuck into the tower. They took a four-hundred-and-forty-pound reel of cable and other equipment into the elevator, and up to the top ten unfinished floors. They waited until it was night, and then carried everything up one hundred and eighty stairs to the roof. Two of his other friends were waiting on the other tower. They shot an arrow across to him, but it missed. It landed fifteen feet below the roof. Philippe had to climb down after the arrow. He tied a stronger rope to he arrow, and on the end of the stronger rope he tied the cable that he was going to walk on. It took the men all night to everything ready for Philippe to walk on the wire. He put on his black shirt and tights, picked up his twenty-eight foot balancing pole, and stepped onto the wire. A woman coming off of the subway noticed him, and then soon other people along with the police also seen him. The police rushed to the top of the towers, and told him that he was under arrest. Philippe knew that as long as he was on the wire he was free. He dance, ran, walked, knelt in a salute, and even lay down to rest for almost an hour. After he felt satisfied, he walked back to the roof and held out his wrists for the handcuffs. The judge sentenced Philippe with an unusual sentence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is about a man named Philippe who walked between the Twin Towers in 1974. I really enjoyed this book because it was a true story. The book also showed how if you believe in yourself then you can accomplish anything. My favorite line in the book is on the last page. It says, ¿But in memory, as if imprinted on the sky, the towers are still there. And part of that memory is the joyful morning, August 7, 1974, when Philippe Petit walked between them in the air.¿ No matter if something we love is gone, the memory still stays in our hearts. Mordecai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of his books. He always wanted to be an artist as a child and never dreamed that he would be an author. He moved to New York City where he did animated commercials to support his family. Elizabeth Levy inspired him in 1970 to begin writing. He was the Caldecott award winner in 2004 for this book. Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Brookfield: Roaring Book Press. 2003.
alyssabuzbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a picture book based on Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the North and the South towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
bwetmore05 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is based on the true story of Philippee Petit, who tightrope walked between the twin towers in New York City. The students will love the suspense and excitement of this book.
petajaye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caldecott Award for stunning ink and oil paneled paintings. A French aerialist walks a tighrope hung between the Twin Towers of New York city.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1974, French street performer Phillippe Petit and his friends steal into the still unfinished World Trade Center, hauling in the supplies for Petit to complete his most daring stunt thus far ¿ tightrope walking on a taut cable wire hung between the top of the Twin Towers. This picture book tells the story of this feat without too much fanfare, letting the story speak for itself. I¿m not sure that most young children will appreciate the measurements given in the text, but I think they¿ll get the concept of the danger when they see the accompanying photographs, particularly the two pull-out spreads showing just how high up Petit was walking on how small a surface. This is a cute introduction into a tiny bit of New York City history that is probably unknown to many.
StephanieWA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely retelling of the true story of Philippe Petit's tightrope walk across the Twin Towers in New York. Gerstein's images, which are contained in different sixed boxes on each page, complement the text in their colour and style, depending on the scene. His simple flowing text describes the incident beautifully and draws the reader into the extraordinary event and, with the images, help to convey the feeling of adventure and freedom that an artist like Petit must have felt on that day.
keatkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Remarkable, true story that will immediately engage children as they learn of the mischievious antics of aerilaist Philippe Petit. A very respectful and reverent portrayal of the World Trade Centre, that refocuses the tragedy of the 9/11 setting, on the joy and art of Petit, as he made his memorable walk between the towers in 1974. Illustrations are technical, yet playful - including fold-out panels to emphasize the grandeur of the towers and Petit's achievement. Highly worthy of the Caldecott Medal.
oapostrophe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorites, the true story of Philippe Petit's famous tightrope walk between the unfinished twin towers in NYC in 1974. A spellbinding read-aloud for upper elementary school.
al04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The plot is based off of a true story of a man named Philippe Petite who had this everlasting dream that he accomplished. The non-fiction book gives the reader a postive insight of great things that have happen to the twin towers before they were destroyed. The setting that the story plot takes place is essential into understanding the dynamic of the book. The author is the illustrator and thus does a great job of describing New York City. The feeling of being so high and the tense atmosphere is also very well described.
bsalomon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A man sets up a tiny rope connecting the twin towers. He walks, dance, and does tricks on the rope disobeying the police officers who tell him to get off of the rope. This story is inspiring and insainly crazy. The man does not let his fear take over and gives the people in New York the courage they need to stay strong. This is a great book for children to understand the great impact that the twin towers have had on people, and eventhough they are gone we still have their memories. This is a great read aloud for all elementary and maybe middle school children. What makes this story incrediable is that it is true!
klsulliv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This text, "The Man Who Walked Between The Towers," helps teach children about the twin towers that were in New York City. It tells of a man who actually walked between the towers. This book is also useful to help teach children about September 11th and its historical impact on our country. This is a positive way to teach the history behind the twin towers no longer standing anymore which is mentioned on the last page of the text. Share with your children the amazing history this man had by walking between the two twin towers, and how the towers impacted our country on September 11th.
paulaanweiler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A uplifting story about a tightrope performer who walked across the twin towers. A positive story about the twin towers and following your dreams.
Jill.Barrington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A man who loves two walk on thin lines from tall heights experiences a great thrill. With the help of some friends, he attaches a line between the roofs of the Twin Towers in New York. The man then walks across and plays around on the rope for hours during the day. Policemen arrest him when he finally comes down, but the man was not charged with anything.The book would be useful in a discussion about talents, hobbies, and aspirations.
ckarmstr1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tells the true story of a man who tightropes between the twin towers. The story doesn't seem real at first, but when the author introduces the exact date of the incident, you know it is true. This pays a wonderful tribute to the twin towers without being heavy and saddening. The author describes the phenomenon of the man tight-roping, and then at the end of the book, the author talks about how the towers no longer exist, just their memory. Great book! Great way to introduce September 11th to young children.
PaigeCostella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A man with an usually talent, that can walk on thin wires for a thrill. He gathers his friends and stretch a thin wire across the World Trade Centers in NYC. He walks across this wire as crowds of people watch him from below. The man was not charged with anything by the police of New York. This would be a great book to read to students when talking about the Twin Towers and what they once were.
SDando on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For a picture book, this was surprisingly sophisticated. I liked how this book took a hard topic like loss and confusion after 9/11 and helped you to find an understanding and a sort of peace at the end. The story about tightrope walking itself was amusing, and gives children an example of courage and to always chase your dreams. The style of illustration is also very nice.
kris0812 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good story in remembrance of the Twin Towers that once stood as the tallest building in New York City. The oil painting illustrations provide views of different perspectives, from those on the street watching above to Philippe high above looking below. The illustrations add to the suspense of the dare-devil act and how dangerous a feat it was for Philippe to walk the tight rope across the two buildings. Though the pictures don¿t necessarily tell a different story from the text, they do support the story and add the emotion of the situation. Teaching ideas include: remembering 9/11, exploring other cultures (French) and interests (tight rope walking), ethical issues of abiding by or breaking the law, cause and effect relationships, and emotions/feelings built by illustrations rather than text.
LindseyBallard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young man named Philippe Petit that loved to do daring and dangerous stunts like juggling fiery torches and even walking tight rope! He was in New York and decided he wanted to walk a wire between the Twin Towers. He knew he could never get away with it, so he decided to disguise himself as a construction worker and sneak his way up to the top of the building! As soon as everything was in place he began his stunt! When he was walking the wire people where staring up at him from down below and couldn't believe their eyes. Of course the police got word of this young man's stunt and went to put a stop to it, but they couldn't! Nobody was brave enough to step out onto the wire and seize this man, so he continued to walk until he felt ready to come down! Once he did, he was brought to court where the judge sentenced him to perform in the park for the children of the city. And so he did, and that's the story of Philippe!This book was very interesting and almost hard to believe. It has a great connection to the Twin Towers, and would be a great book to lead into a lesson about 9/11.This would be a great book to tie into a lesson about 9/11. I'm figuring the student's are going to be too young to remember about this day in history so you could read a couple more books to them about it, or divide them into groups and have them discuss among themselves. Because this is a very sensitive issue, I wouldn't press too much on it at this age.
MsLangdon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Picture BookGerstein, M. (2003). The man who walked between the towers. Brookfield, CT: Roaring Brook Press.Philippe was a performer who juggled, rode unicycles, and walked on tight ropes. He watched the twin towers rise into the sky of New York City and knew that it would be a perfect place for a tight rope. So even though it was not legal he secretly made plans to walk between the towers. He and a couple of friends dressed as construction workers and worked all night securing the wire between the two towers. By morning it was ready to go and he got ready to go out. He was seen by people from the ground and officers were soon there to arrest him, but he continued to walk and dance on the wire for almost an hour. When he came down he was sentenced to perform in the park. Now that the towers are no longer a part of New York City, they, along with Philippe Pettit¿s daring feat, remain as a memory. The dramatic performance of Phillipe Petit is once again brought to life for new generations. In this book, the illustrations portray the same exhilarating excitement and anxiety that the risk-taking performer must have felt on the day of his incredible performance. The two panoramic, fold-out illustrations add the dramatic effect of danger and accomplishment. This book would be perfect for a read aloud to all age levels. Grades 4-12.
conuly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, if the title alone doesn't catch your attention, nothing will.This book walks a fine line (no pun) between serious and fun, and just manages to hit the right notes every time. I firmly recommend it.
lorinhigashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This touching picture book will speak to students of any grade due to the impact of the tragic events of the World Trade Center and Philippe Petit's historical feat. Younger students will see through Philippe Petit's eyes that anything is possible while older students will see the emotional tie between Petit's story and the memory of the towers. This is a story that can lead to discussions of the social and political conversations on different levels, as well as looking at the simplicity of it. The images capture the essence of simplicity especially with the breathtaking foldouts of Petit's walk and how he must have felt walking in the sky. The writing is also just another element of this successful book - even the first sentence tugs at the readers heart, "Once there were two towers side by side."
megjwal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai GersteinThis Caldecott Winner is a wonderful story about a man who tried the amazing feat of walking on a wire between the twin towers. He and a friend sneaked up enough wire to do it by dressing up as construction workers. It took the men all night to secure the rope. Finally, in the morning light Phillipe started walking on the wire. He walked back and forth for almost an hour. He was placed under arrest and sentenced to perform for children in the park. The end of the book says t the towers are now gone, but there is still a wonderful memory about Phillipe Petit walking between them. This story was very touching to me because I remember being a sophomore in high school when the towers fell. I like the way the story tells about a happy memory of a man walking between them and then shortly tells about the towers being gone.I would use this story with a class to discuss with an upper elementary class what happened on 9-11. Many of the students in schools today would not have even been born or would have been very young when it happened. This story would be a good way to introduce this important day in America¿s history. I would discuss with the students what they know about 9-11 and tell them the details they did not know.
kairstream on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Memory of the Twin Towers connects to 'relate across time'. The story of walking between the towers with lovely illustrations draws you in.