Highrise: The Towers in the World and the World in the Towers
Highrise: The Towers in the World and the World in the Towers
Highrise: The Towers in the World and the World in the Towers Highrise: The Towers in the World and the World in the Towers

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Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: by Katerina Cizek ; adapted by Kristy Woudstra
Audience: Juvenile
Age range lower: 13
Age range upper: 17
Specs: color and black and white photographs, illustrations, resources, glossary, index
Pages: 80
Trim Size: 9" X 11" X 3/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20190920
Copyright Year: 2019
Price: Select Below

Highrise: The Towers in the World and the World in the Towers

Adapted from the Emmy-winning, multimedia interactive documentary of the same name, Highrise is an in-depth exploration of the world's highrises and the people who live inside them.

From the multi-story dwellings of Ancient Rome to the soaring glass skyscrapers of today, humans have used highrises for thousands of years to house the poor, protect the rich and sometimes narrow the gap between the two. Highrise first examines the history of vertical living in a 20-page chapter on the origins, technological triumphs, social failures and future of the highrise. The book then invites young readers into homes around the world. Through the lens of the highrise, readers will learn about 10 cities and hear stories that capture what life is like in these diverse places.

The cities featured in Highrise:

  • Ramallah, West Bank
  • Mumbai, India
  • Guangzhou, China
  • Chicago, USA
  • Tainan, Taiwan
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In addition to being windows on different cultures and experiences, the stories from these cities cover important and, at times, challenging issues that residents must face -- from a young mother in the West Bank who cannot visit her parents in Gaza, to an LGBTQ activist in China who must hide her sexual orientation from her family. Highrise is a bold and unique volume that illuminates life on our urban planet like never before.

National Film Board of Canada Collection In the tradition of the NFB's creative and innovative storytelling on film comes the National Film Board of Canada Collection: a series of celebrated animated films, documentary films and media projects adapted for the printed page.


Katerina Cizek is the award-winning director of the multimedia documentary Highrise and a pioneer of digital documentaries. She teaches and presents around the world about her innovative approach to the documentary genre and is currently the Artistic Director of the Co-Creation Studio at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Documentary Lab.

Kristy Woudstra is an award-winning Toronto-based writer and editor. She has traveled the world to cover stories in countries like Niger, Uganda, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, and her writing has appeared in many Canadian publications including The Walrus, Canadian Living, Broadview and This.

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