With writing partner Lin Oliver, Henry has sold more than 2 million copies of his Hank Zipzer children's book series. The titles of the books are fun—including Holy Enchilada and Barfing in the Backseat: How I Survived My Family Road Trip—but the books are based on a struggle Henry says he's faced his entire life. "It is the story of my life as a dyslexic," he says. "So the stories are really me. And then we exaggerate the humor—I never actually flooded the classroom."
In school, Henry says he often repeated classes, and teachers always told him he was smarter than the grades he earned. It wasn't until his stepson was tested in the third grade that Henry learned of his own dyslexia. "Everything they said to him, I said, 'Oh, my goodness, that's me,'" he says. "So at 31, I realized I wasn't stupid. I wasn't lazy. I was trying to live up to my potential, and I had something that actually had a name."
Now, Henry says he wants every child to know one very important thing. "A child that has a learning challenge knows that they're not keeping up. And it's already like an insidious worm that is eating away at their self-image," Henry says. "What I say to children is that you've got greatness in you and you don't know what you can accomplish. ... You are great."