Hot Dogs and Hamburgers

Rob Schindler, Hot Dogs & Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age (Austin, TX: River Grove Books, 2012)

Shindler - Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
The United Church of Christ has adopted this book as a “One Read” for our denomination for this year. We have been promoting it in our congregation as a part of our participation in the life and programs of our church. There are a few more than 40 copies circulating in our congregation, including one set of CD’s for those who are not able to read the words on paper. It is the kind of book that can be read in one or two evenings, and Shindler’s story is compelling and engaging.

Briefly his story goes like this: Frustrated with his son’s inability to read and his own inability to teach his son how to read, Shindler becomes a volunteer tutor with the Chicago Literacy Council. He not only learns the skills he needs to engage his son in reading and become a better father, he also makes lasting and life-long connections with the remarkable people who become his students. His perception of the kind of people who are unable to read is forever changed and his family is renewed in the process.

It is a delightful story with a powerful ending. We have had two different groups in our congregation discussing the book and more than a quarter of our congregation have now read the story. That’s pretty remarkable for us.

I have a close friend who did not learn to read until he was 30 years old, so I have a sense of the wonderful contributions that can be made by those who cannot read. I also know a bit of the frustration and heartache that comes from not being able to read and thinking of oneself as not being intelligent. And I have witnessed the transformation that occurs when the former teaching disability is overcome and the person learns to read.

It is a great choice for a one read and a book that is easy to recommend.