February 18, 2014
Henry Winkler visits Chicago schools for book talks
by Nick Davies
Actor Henry Winkler spent his Valentine’s Day visiting Chicago-area schools to read from his popular children’s books and talk about literacy, Stephanie K. Baer reports for the Chicago Tribune. Along with his co-author Lin Oliver, Winkler stopped by H.C. Storm Elementary in Batavia and Mill Street School in Naperville to talk to kids who—let’s be honest—probably have no idea who he is.
That’s not to say the students weren’t excited to meet Winkler; since 2003, he and Oliver have written more than twenty popular children’s books together, including the Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever series. The titular Zipzer, like Winkler, is dyslexic, and presenting a positive message to children with learning disabilities has been a significant motivator for him.
Speaking to the kids at H.C. Storm, he said, “When I was your age, reading was really hard, math was hard, spelling was hard, history was hard, science was hard. I was great –at lunch.”
Despite the fact that they probably needed extra history classes to learn about the Fonz, students from third through sixth grade rewrote the Happy Days theme song to mark the occasion of Winkler’s visit: “Sunday, Monday, grab a book! Tuesday, Wednesday find a nook!” And given that they opted to rhyme different words rather than ending every line with “day” (or “days”), the young students can be proud that they’ve already demonstrated a higher level of creativity than the actual composers of the song.
Both elementary school visits were sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop, which invited Winkler and Oliver to its 12th Annual Children’s Literature Breakfast over the weekend, and arranged the school visits.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.