Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 8, 2008

Dyslexia and the children's book: Henry Winkler's hero finds unique solutions to school problems


What is your favorite thing about being an author?

My favorite thing is when I get in my car to go to Lin's office, and I have no ideas.

I leave Lin's office and have seven or eight pages in my hands that have made us laugh, or just touches me in some way.

My second favorite thing is meeting the parents and kids who love Hank. They are passionate about him. They know every detail, every mistake.

Talk about your writing process. You don't type?

No, I don't type. Lin sits at her computer, and I walk around on the rug, or sit on the couch or chair in her office. The floor in her office is parquet squares, and I try to fit my shoes in the squares and walk without touching lines.

You'll be in Andover on Mother's Day. Do you have any Mother's Day plans with your family?

I've already ordered the flowers, and they're bigger than usual.

If the character Hank Zipzer and the character of the Fonz from "Happy Days" were to meet, would they be friends?

Oh, the Fonz reads Hank. He writes me a note after each book.

They would be friends. The Fonz would take care of Hank the way that (Hank's friends) Ashley and Frankie do. The Fonz would take good care of him.

Readers love that his friends don't judge him, and watch out for him the way he does for them.



Q: What Is Dyslexia?

A: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.

It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. ... Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

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