Mirette on the High Wire is a Caldecott Award winner and a big hit with my students. I think my students particularly loved the fact that a young girl helps an adult through a difficult time. This book is a real hit in my library.
Mirette’s mother operates a boarding house in Paris where many actors, jugglers and other performers like to stay. A man comes and asks for a room. Mirette discovers that the man is actually the Great Bellini, a famous high wire artist. She watches, fascinated, as Bellini practices on a small wire in the back. She begs Bellini to train her, but he warns her that once she begins walking on the wire, her “feet will never be happy again on the ground.” Mirette can’t resist learning. She practices and practices. While she works with Bellini, she learns that Bellini has become afraid of working on the wire. Together, Mirette and Bellini practice. Their work together inspires Bellini to get back on the high wire, high in the sky in Paris. Mirette, seeing him high in the air, quickly climbs up to the high wire and walks across to meet him in the middle. It’s a wonderful moment in the book that my students love.