The Bookworm Files

Here’s Hank by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver


Hank Zipzer is familiar to many young readers as the irrepressible hero of a series of books by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, chronicling his life as a fourth grader in New York City. Hank is dyslexic, and his struggles in school are major plot points in the books.

Now, Winkler and Oliver have taken a few steps back in time for the Here’s Hank series, portraying Hank as second grader. The first two books in the Here’s Hank series, released together, introduce some of the major characters who will show up in the later series.

In Bookmarks are People Too, Hank wants desperately to win the role of Aqua Fly in the second grade class play. But Aqua Fly has a lot of lines, and Hank’s not the best reader. To complicate matters, class bully Nick McKelty is auditioning for the same part. Meanwhile, Ashley Wong, who will become one of Hank’s best friends, moves into his apartment building.


In A Short Tale About a Long Dog, Hank’s grades start to improve, and as a reward his parents get him a dog, Cheerio. Training a dog is hard work, and just as Hank thinks he’s got it under control, Nick McKelty steps in to cause some mayhem.

Hank has a good heart and good intentions, but trouble seems to follow him. These are great books for kids who struggle with their behavior. Their portrayal of dyslexia, based on Henry Winkler’s childhood experiences, will speak to children with learning differences.

The series is set in a typeface called Dyslexie. The designer, Christian  Boer, is dyslexic and he designed Dyslexie to meet the needs of dyslexic readers. Preliminary studies of the font by a Dutch researcher suggest that it may be successful.

Bookmarks are People Too and A Short Tale About a Long Dog by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver; Grosset and Dunlap; c2014

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2014 by in 5-8.
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