I had forgotten how much I liked this book when I was in the elementary school library and just came across it again recently. A couple of my teachers wanted a lesson on overcoming adversity and inferencing and I threw in some Figure 19 stuff as well.
We began by looking at the title and the cover discussing which "towers" they would be talking about and who the man was in the picture. Most of them immediately made the connection to the "twin towers" in New York before 9/11. It made me happy to hear students speak out as I read the story. When it says the main character, Philippe Petit "lay down on the wire," students responded with "No he didn't!" "How could he do that?!" and "Not me!" They were really listening!
When we finished, we talked about author and illustrator purpose. There are two fold out pages inside the book and we discussed the reasoning behind those pages and how they change the look and feel of the story. We then discussed what roadblocks Philippe had to overcome and how each one was accomplished.
After our discussion, we watched this video clip about the movie made about the same man. We discussed differences between what we saw in the short clip and what we had read. Why the author left out some information and why he chose to focus on different parts of the story.
Many students responded that they wanted to watch the movie and see what really happened and get more of the story.