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Great Gifts - Childrens Books - Henry Winkler - Hank Zipzer and Dyslexia | Buy Online

Updated on August 16, 2012

Happy Days was one of my favorite shows. Of course all the characters were special but the show star was most certainly "The Fonz", Henry Winkler. While Henry Winkler's character was cool. But the really cool thing about Henry Winkler is his next career choice. I happened across this series of books when I read the opening that Mr. Winkler endorsed for a great book in celebration of libraries called Heart of the Community: Libraries We Love. Mr. Winkler's opening quote was "Read your hearts out." Mr. Winkler's second big career after acting was he went on to co-write a series of inspirational children stories. He created an imaginary character called Hank Zipzer who like his very own childhood overcomes his fears and shortcomings. Hank Zipzer finds his strengths and serves as an inspiration for all of us.

According to Winkler,

"The Fonz was everybody I wasn't.

He was everybody I wanted to be."

Henry Winkler aka "The Fonz"

"Henry Winkler is an actor, producer and director. He is probably most famous for his role as the Fonz in the 1970s US television sitcom, Happy Days. But if you ask him what he is most proud of, he would say, "Writing the Hank Zipzer books with my partner, Lin Oliver." He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Stacey, their three children and two dogs." source:

The Fonz Talking About His Inspirational Children's Books

Henry Winkler Volunteer Activities Supporting Children's Welfare

Mr. Winkler is deeply committed to children's welfare.  He  works with numerous children's groups. He is a founding member of the Children's Action Network, (CAN), a non-profit organization that  uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues and to make children a top priority in everyday life. CAN is currently dedicated to finding homes for the more than 114,000 children in the United States who are waiting for an adoptive family and improving outcomes for the more than 500,000 children in foster care.

The Fonz - No Leather Jacket

Bronz Fonz in Milwaukee, WI

Happy Days Theme Song

Happy Days Are Yours and Mine

The line "These Happy Days Are Yours and Mine" maybe just from a television show that millions of Americans loved but the words are true for one of the star characters. Happy Days premiered January 1974 and ended September 1984. But the happy days did not end their for the celebrity who played the star character The Fonz. The background of his life is even more fascinating than the very cool character that Mr. Winkler played for over 10 years.

Henry Winkler confides that he had trouble learning as a child. He was undiagnosed with dyslexia - a reading disability that has nothing to do with cognitive learning. People diagnosed with dyslexia have a difficult time interpreting the written words. In short, people with dyslexia transpose letters and numbers and learn by doing rather than by reading or hearing. People with dyslexia learn in a manner that known as "tactile or kinesthetic" learners rather than visual or audio. They learn well and can be very intelligent. Many famous people have had dyslexia as the video below showcases - one of my other heroes who I have admired is Albert Einstein - he too learned differently - he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

As a side note, I feel that I must speak out of school here. My husband who has had the privilege of meeting many famous people in his life (he was a former journalist) has a treasured photo with Mr. Winkler. I always admired the man but I have no personal affinity to pop culture. After reading the book in celebration of libraries and learning more about the work Mr. Winkler, I now know why Henry Winkler is so esteemed in my husband's eyes. Some people are celebrities, some people are famous, but the true and lasting impression is caring and sharing. To share your own personal weakness to allow others to grow is the mark of not just a celebrity but the mark of a truly great man. I have always enjoyed the photo of Mr. Winkler and now I will forever cherish it. What a great and wonderful man to care about others, to move children to find their strengths and to be inspired to dream. In the Barbie land world, Ruth Handler would say, We Girls Can Do Anything! In the world of Hank Zipzer, all children have special talents and can be anything they chose and strive to be.

Weakness Turned to Helping Others

Out of weakness, Mr. Winkler created a strength - much in the same way, Albert Einstein and many other famous people did the very same thing. People with dyslexia simply have a different way of learning. And to this end, Henry has left a legacy of not just a great family show and the forever memorable The Fonz, but an entire series of book - 17 in all about Hank Zipzer, co-authored with Lin Oliver.

Happy Days Backstory and the Leather Jacket

I always remember the Fonz in his leather coat - but that wasn't true in the very beginning. The ABC executives did not want The Fonz in a leather jacket because they felt it would make the character more of a "criminal" than just plain cool. So the very first 13 episodes you will only see The Fonz in a windbreaker.

As Winkler said in a TV Land interview, "It's hard to look cool in a green windbreaker".

The funny item is the compromise on the leather jacket came when the execs agreed to a leather jacket ONLY whenever the motorcycle was present. And from that point forward, history was made, and The Fonz was never seen without both his leather jacket and his motorcycle. The leather jacket became so iconic, it was every where. Later, he would even be seen water skiing in shorts and his iconic leather jacket!

Hank Zipzer and Henry Winkler

The imaginary character, Hank Zipzer, has roots to the real life of Henry Winkler. Like Hank, Henry Winkler was told "I would never achieve, that I was lazy, that I wasn’t living up to my potential, and apparently that is not true." Henry Winkler created a lasting character for millions of Americans, now he has created Happy Days for millions of children who feel different. Mr. Winkler forever is asking us to achieve our dreams, we can be cool too!

"Happy Days" by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox

Happy Days theme (long version)

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days.
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days.
The weekend comes,
My cycle hums,
Ready to race to you.

These days are all,
Happy and Free. (Those Happy Days)
These days are all,
Share them with me. (oh baby)
Goodbye grey sky, hello blue.
There's nothing can hold me when I hold you.
Feels so right, it can't be wrong.
Rockin' and rollin' all week long.

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days.
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days.
Saturday, What a day,
Groovin' all week with you.

These days are all,
Share them with me. (Those Happy Days)
These days are all,
Happy and Free. (oh baby)
These Happy Days are your's and mine.
These Happy Days are your's and mine, Happy Days.

The Fonz in the Famous Leather Jacket

Dyslexia and Famous People

Dyslexia - What You Need to Know

In an interview, about his successful children book series with the fictional character named Hank Zipzer, Henry Winkler explained. “Truly, I’m speechless. I was told I would never achieve, that I was lazy, that I wasn’t living up to my potential, and apparently that is not true.” So what are the symptoms and treatments for this dyslexia? For your convenience, an outline is provided below:


Dyslexia is a "reading" disability resulting from the inability to process graphic symbols. It is not a cognitive disability. People with dyslexia typically have a very high IQ but test poorly in written examinations. Some people learn by hearing, or seeing, these people learn by doing called tactile or kinesthic learners.  Some of the symptoms include:

  • Often with a high IQ, tests well verbally but not academically.
  • Often talented in art, sports and creative endeavors.
  • Difficulty with the written word.
  • Difficulty with arithmetic.
  • Learns best with hands on behavior, experimentation.


Specialized tutoring and education. AS with all children, positive reinforcement is critical. With children with dyslexia, they know they are different and many struggle with their self-esteem. In some cases, psychological counseling may be recommended.

Hank Zipzer - The Life of Me

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."

Charles R. Swindoll

"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Life, love, and laughter - what priceless gifts to give our children."

Phyllis Dryden

"Don't throw away your friendship with your teenager over behavior that has no great moral significance. There will be plenty of real issues that require you to stand like a rock. Save your big guns for those crucial confrontations."

Dr. James C. Dobson

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.

Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."

Alex Haley

"Every child is born a genius."

Richard Buckminster Fuller

"In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but

what you have taught them to do for themselves that

will make them successful human beings."

Ann Landers

"We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open."

Harry Edwards

"Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision."

Denis Waitley

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Hank Zipzer Henry Winkler Childrens Books | Buy Online

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Great Gifts for Children - Books and More

The very best gift to give a child is the ability to learn. Give your children the inspiration, the self-confidence to achieve their dreams. The power of print, the power of listening, the power of doing. Empower your children with setting a great example, have books around, read, do activities with your children. Gift a gift of a book that inspires, add a handwritten quote for you children to remember you by. be cool like The is what you do....

"Your children will see what you're all about by

what you live rather than what you say."

Wayne Dyer

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In Appreciation

Quotes courtesy of:

Lyrics provided by:

Biography courtesy of:


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    • GmaGoldie profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      Isn't knowledge a great thing! We are so much wiser now - appreciating different learning styles and talents. All is possible from books. Thank you for stopping by.

    • readabook profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Oh I loved the Fonz. This is a wonderful hub about dyslexia. We know so much more now than we used to.


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