Philipe Petit was always challenged to walk the tightrope in as many difficult places as possible. As the twin towers were going up in New York in 2001 he determined that he would have to walk before it was finished and occupied. He organized friends, snuck in the ropes and rigging he would need with friends, suspended the rope and then he walked out into the wind. He walked, danced, ran, knelt, and even lay down on the rope. When arrested he was sentenced to perform for students in Central Park. The book ends poignantly with the shadows of the towers after the attack on September 11, 2001.
Mordicai Gerstein, MacMillan, ©2003, 978-0-7613-1791-3
There are several related websites that can add to the study of this book.
Man on Wire (a cineme verite version of the walk):
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (a storyteller reads the book):
The Nick Wallenda walk across Niagara:
Stretch around 8 very long ropes across the gym floor and ask student to walk them, keeping their balance. How many seconds can they stay on the rope? Ask them to time each other with their arms at their sides, and with their arms out. Then give them a balancing pole to hold while they walk…they should see that it is a great deal easier to stay balanced. (You need lots of ropes because you want mass participation…not a lot of students watching other students.)
For the science of tightrope walking there is a nice video that explains the balance, the centre of gravity, the inner ear, and so on.
For 11 creative writing ideas, click The Man Who Walked Between the Towers to download.