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Children's bookclub: Read answers from our Q&A with Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler, author of Hank Zipzer.

(35 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Mar-14 14:40:39

Henry 'Fonzie' Winkler's latest offering Hank Zipzer: The Curtain Went Up, My trousers Fell Down is one of our children's bookclub picks for March.

The semi-autobiographical Hank Zipzer series recounts Henry Winkler's own experiences growing up with dyslexia. They promote the importance of friendship and family, with equal measures of humour and heart. Perfect for even the most reluctant readers, aged seven and up. Apply for a free copy, come and let us know what you/your dcs think or review the book.

Henry Winkler is also taking your questions this month. Post a Q to Henry before 10am Friday 21st March and we'll post up his answers before the end of the month.

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 09:55:45



Firstly thank you for the book win.

My questions are:

1. How do you feel now that your books have been made into a Children's TV Series ??
2. Was this your plan for the books from the start ??
3. Also The character for yourself (Mr Rock) Is he based on someone you know / knew ??

Many thanks.

My writing partner Lin Oliver and I are so happy, not only that Hank Zipzer IS a television show, but we are also so happy about the quality of the show. Yes, Mr. Rock was my teacher in year 11. He was the music teacher. Mr. Rock was the only one who said, "Winkler, when you get out of here, you will be great."

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 09:57:13


Jem, Scarlett, Archie and I have absolutely LOVED watching the new series on TV. It was everything we could have hoped for and more. Jem was super lucky to have played just the tiniest part in The Curtain Went Up, My Trousers Fell Down, and he says it was every bit as fun on set filming as it is to watch. He's exceptionally proud to have been a part of such a great success. His school friends, dance and drama friends and family are all asking if there's going to be another series after this one ... so we hope to goodness you've got some more books up your sleeve!! smile

There are 18 books in America and 2 brand new ones with Hank in the 2nd grade. We start filming season 2 in July.

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 09:59:21


Ooh, I've just seen this... didn't know it started as a book. Will have to look out for it for our very relucant reader (ADHD and maybe dyslexia).

My question... do you have any encouraging advice for our 7 year old, who is slowly getting there, with lots of help, but is massively reulctant to read.

And... do you have any advice for me, especially when I feel my well of patience rapildy draining whenever I try to help him?


Being a student is one of the most difficult things on the earth. Being a parent IS the most difficult thing on the earth. To your child I say, "School does not define you. Just because school is difficult, that doesn’t mean you are not brilliant. As a matter of fact, you are powerful with greatness inside you. Your job is to figure out what your gift is and give it to the world."

To TwoLeftSocks, I say, "Whenever we as parents think it’s difficult, our children are actually living it. Schools should start teaching children HOW THEY CAN LEARN not WHAT WE THINK THEY SHOULD LEARN. As long as your child tries as hard as they can, it doesn't much matter in the long run what their grade is. Some children's brains are just not school brains. I was bad at math. I still can't spell. Reading is hard and I didn't do so badly."

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 10:00:11


just wondering what you think about the recent articles and public debate, stemming from Yale and Durham University, arguing that the term dyslexia is meaningless, unscientific and should be abandoned? Was it helpful to you to have a specific label for your difficulties?

Knowing that I had a challenge is much more helpful than what the challenge is called.

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 10:02:22



I just wanted to let you how much my seven year old and I enjoy watching the TV series.

Do you have any plans for writing any other novels?

Thank you.

We have just written 4 novels taking Hank back to year 2 before he was diagnosed.

MrHenryWinkler Thu 17-Apr-14 10:03:22


I don't really have a question, I just wanted to tell Henry Winkler how much my 6 yr old DD loves the TV series of Hank Zipzer. We have recorded the entire series so far and every episode has been watched multiple times.

Poor DD is having a tough time with reading, she has lots of extra help at school (which she thinks is playing games with the resource teacher). She has fantastic concentration and is very eager to please so she tries really hard but it's clear that she doesn't recognise words in the way that most of us do, letters are also a problem like b and d. Even if a word re-occurs on almost every page of her reader she has to start from scratch with sounding it out each time.

It doesn't help that her older brother picked up reading in no time, and that he has no tact (ASD and incredibly mind-blind) and says that people who can't do the things that he finds easy must be 'stupid'. She asked me one day if Hank Zipzer was stupid because he finds it hard to read and write, and she and I both agreed that Hank was clearly far from stupid because he always finds another way around and is much more inventive than most of his peers, and generally comes out on top. grin

Actually, I do have a question. Are there any plans to bring Hank Zipzer out as an audio book? If there are plans, please, please, please say that you will be narrating them. I'm in that narrow age bracket that is old enough to remember the Fonz in his heyday, and young enough at the time to have thought he was genuinely the coolest character that ever lived. It would be no hardship at all to listen to your voice on a long car journey. [flirty] grin

There are 4 Hank ZIpzers recorded through Random House Audio. I have also read 3 of our novels, Ghost Buddy.

SuburbanSpaceperson Thu 17-Apr-14 10:49:57

Thanks, I had only looked on Amazon and not found the audio books, but they are on Book Depository. smile

TwoLeftSocks Thu 17-Apr-14 15:01:58

Thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate it, lots smile

Tabby33 Tue 29-Apr-14 11:09:47

We have enjoyed this book and are now going backwards to obtain pervious books to understand Hank’s progression.
I particular liked the way the writer is addressing Dyslexia and how this should not hold you back! The connection between Hank and Heather in the end is fun. We loved how each personality rubbed off on one and other. It also illustrates not to judge people before getting to know them and you might just find you actually get on very well and create a force not to be reckoned with. This book also enforces my attitude that if you really want something and strive for it you will get it!
It was a little predictable for an adult but my 10 year old nephew loved it.
Thank you for a lovely read.

nwstokes Tue 20-May-14 10:45:54

At long last I have got round to reading the book. First class reading but also the aspect of what life can dish up. Will be saving and collecting other books ready for grandchildren

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