Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Henry Winkler's children's books about dyslexia to be published in UK

From The Telegraph in the UK:

Henry Winkler (pictured), who played The Fonz in the hit sitcom Happy Days, has reinvented himself as a best-selling children's author.

The actor, 64, has already sold 2.5 million copies of his books in the US and is now being published in Britain.

The series of 17 books follows a young dyslexic child called Hank Zipzer and is based on Winkler's own experience with the condition.

He said: "As a seven year-old I knew I wanted to be an actor. But if you want to know what means the most to me, it's the books."

Winkler is about to start working on a new set of books with his co-author Lin Oliver, called Ghost Buddy which centre around a 13 year-old boy with an imaginary best friend.

The actor has claimed that he did not read his first novel until he was in his 30s.

He said: "I was in the bottom 3 per cent at school. I was told I would never achieve. My parents had an affectionate term for me: 'dummerkind' [dumb kid]. I didn't' do well at school."

Winkler did not discover that he was dyslexic until his son Jed was diagnosed.

"I realised - that's me too," he said. "The first novel I read was when I was in my 30s. It was a triumph - all of those words in those covers."

He admitted that he always had difficulty reading the Happy Days scripts and said that he would memorise them on his own because he found it impossible to read in groups.

Winkler is currently touring 60 schools across the UK as part of the government's My Way campaign which is intended to encourage school pupils that there is no such thing as being stupid, just different approaches to learning.