Upper Elementary Lesson: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

Upper Elementary Lesson: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers


The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. Sigh. Its everything you could want in a children’s book, and it’s easier for me to bullet out some of the top reasons to love this piece of literature:

  • It’s incredible well-written with rich vocabulary; the illustrations are also top-notch

  • It tells the real-life story of Philippe Petit who walked on a tightrope between the tops of the Twin Towers in NYC in 1974 - so filled with adventure and anticipation

  • It works with all ages, and speaks to the messages of resilience and perseverance

  • While it can just be a fun, beautiful story, it also allows for a greater conversation around 9/11 for older kids

  • It works for a variety of classroom concepts including: comparisons of non-fiction vs. fiction; a plethora of math concepts; stellar vocabulary; social studies/current events; geography; and narrative structure (writing and story-telling)

Also, I LOVE the idea of bringing the concept of a “drishti” - or focus point - into this class. It really helps kids stayed focused during the poses, and opens the door for a conversation of why tools that help us focus outside of yoga are so important. 

PS. There is a great slideshow on Youtube that shows cool pictures of Philippe Petit actually walking on the wire in 1974.  This 1974 news story, showing an interview with one of the policemen who tried to get Philippe off the wire, is also a really nice complement to the read aloud.  And then this mini-documentary is also a great addition to any lesson if you have an extra 15 minutes (it shows some of the same footage as the above news story)! The documentary Man on Wire is also a great resource :)

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