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Niagara Falls, Or Does It? #1 (Hank Zipzer) Paperback – February 10, 2004
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About the Author
Henry Winkler is an acomplished actor, producer and director. In 2003, Henry added author to his list of acheivements as he co-authored a series of children's books. Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, whose undiagnosed dyslexia made him a classic childhood underachiever, the Hank Zipzer series is about the high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy with learning differences.
Henry is married to Stacey Weitzman and they have three children.Lin Oliver is a writer and producer of movies, books, and television series for children and families. She has created over one hundred episodes of television, four movies, and seven books. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alan. They have three sons named Theo, Ollie, and Cole, one fluffy dog named Annie, and no iguanas.
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Here are other superb books for children and teens with learning disabilities. For children who are not being read to, it’s important that parents read the book also and start an ongoing conversation.
Disability awareness and acceptance are common traits of successful students and adults with LD.
Along with therapists and SPED teachers, parents play a critical role in helping children understand and cope with their disabilities. Be sure to recommend these resources to your friends and your child’s teachers.
It’s Called Dyslexia, Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
Knees: The Mixed Up World of a Boy with Dyslexia, Vanita Oelschlager
Here’s Hank series, Henry Winkler (author has dyslexia)
The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia, Diane Robb
That’s Like Me: Stories About Amazing People with Learning Differences, Jill Lauren
Hank Zipzer series, Henry Winkler
Many Ways to Learn: A Kid’s Guide to LD (2nd edition), Judith Stern
Eli, The Boy Who Hated to Write (2nd edition), Regina and Eli Richards
My Name Is Brain Brian, Jeanne Betancourt (author has LD)
Succeeding with LD (2nd edition), Jill Lauren
Learning Disabilities and Life Stories, Pano Rodis
Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook, Ari Tuckman (useful for anyone with attention, time management and organizational difficulties)
Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia, Eileen Simpson
The Human Side of Dyslexia (essays by college students), Shirley Kurnoff
Learning Outside the Lines (college prep), Jonathan Mooney and David Cole (authors have LD and AD/HD)
Books About Learning Difficulties
Leo the Late Bloomer, Robert Kraus
Katie’s Rose: A Tale of Two Late Bloomers, Karen Burnett
Jasmine Can (difficulty reading), Bena Hartman
Thank You, Mr. Falker (difficulty reading), Patricia Polacco (author has dyslexia)
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, Louis Sachar
Gifted Hands: The [Dr.] Ben Carson Story, Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis
These books promote “growth mindset”—the belief that intelligence increases with effort. Research has found that students with this view have higher achievement than those who believe that intelligence is a fixed quantity (determined at birth).
Making A Splash: A Growth Mindset Children’s Book, Carol E Reiley (kindle version available on amazon.com, hard copy available at gobrain.com)
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Dr. JoAnn Deak
Mr. Winkler, of the famed Arthur `Fonzi' Fonzarelli role on the television series "Happy Days," is also a producer, director, and public speaker. The creation of the character Hank Zipzer was partly autobiographical. Mrs. Oliver, co-author, is a producer of movies and countless television shows, mostly based on children's books. She is also a co-founder and director of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Prater & Dyches, 2008).
We join in on Hank Zipzer's beginning of his fourth grade year, and it starts off grandly as Hank is called to the principal's office. Throughout the book we learn about Hank's feelings about his struggles with reading, and it is evident that a lot of drama, antics, and even comical moments are related to his shortcomings. Although the book is somewhat predictable, it is a book in which a reader roots for the "underdog" of the story and secretly relishes when the antagonist gets what he deserves. However there is much more going on in this book as Mr. Winkler and Mrs. Oliver reveal the theme that being different is okay, because, according to Papa Pete, "That's what makes us great" (pg 132).
Hank Zipzer is an intermediate-level enjoyable read, and is hard to put down. I highly recommend reading it. As a teacher in a classroom, this book is a solid piece of authentic literature to use in perhaps a literature circle. Character development, plot, setting, and theme can be examined. And since this book has relatable characters such as Hank, students can discuss the impact his learning disability has and how it affects the many aspects of his life.
Prater, M., & Dyches, T. (2008). Books that portray characters with disabilities: A top 25 list for children and young adults. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(4), 32-38.
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