Slider Book Cover

by Pete Hautman

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Pete Hautman bio on home page:

Pete Hautman bio:

Pete Hautman FAQ’s:

Activities & Resources:



What’s Up With Nick (2:52):

Competitive Eating:

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest:


Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria:

Paper Plate Pizza Craft:


Hamburger History:

Mixed Media Hamburger Craft:

Hot Dogs:

Hot Dog Facts:

Fast Food:

Fast Food Word Search:


Tapeworms (1:39):

MakerSpace Activities:

Have students take a poll of their classmates preferences for pizza toppings. Make a graph detailing the results.

Use this website to create a hot dog craft:

Create a hamburger out of perler beads as seen here:

Discussion Questions:

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Are there some toppings that you would never eat? Some that you would be willing to pick off of your pizza? Explain.

David is less than impressed with the name his parents chose for him. If you could choose your own name, what would it be? Would you rather keep your own name? Why?

Have you ever made a bet with a friend? If so, what did you win or lose? If not, what would you be willing to bet? Why?

David mentions eating contests involving unusual foods such as maggots and ostrich guts. What are the most unusual foods that you have eaten? Which ones would you eat again? Which ones would you never eat again? Why? What strange foods would you like to try? Why?

Are you a middle child, or have you ever found yourself in the middle of a group of friends? If so, how did this make you feel?

What contests have you entered? What was the outcome? If you were to enter the same contest again, what would you do differently?

In this book, David and his family must drop everything whenever his younger brother, who is autistic, is upset. Have you ever had to stop everything to help a friend or family member who has special needs or who is just younger and unable to do things for himself? How has that made you feel?

If you have siblings, do you feel like your parents have the same rules and expectations for all of you? Why or why not? If the rules are different, do they seem unfair? Describe a time when the rules were different for you than they were for someone else and how this made you feel.

Have you ever taken something that wasn’t yours without asking first? If so, what happened as a result? If not, what is something that you’ve really wanted to take but didn’t take? Explain.

What things have you purchased online? How were you able to pay for them? Describe the rules you must follow to buy something online.

What have you done that you wish you could undo? Were you able to make a correction? What would you have done differently?

David mentions that he thinks it would be more interesting to see a hot dog left over from an eating contest in the museum he visited than it was to see a mammoth skeleton. What is the most impressive thing you have seen in a museum? What would you really like to see in a museum? Why?

When Mal is upset in the book, he has to be wrapped up in a rug, like a burrito. If you are upset, what do you do to feel better?

Have you ever paid a lot more money for something than you planned to pay? What did you buy? Were you able to change your mind about the purchase?

What foods make you feel sick? Are there times that eating too much of a certain food has made you feel unwell? Describe a time when food didn’t agree with you.

The main attraction in David’s town is Vaccie, a twenty-foot-tall fiberglass cow. What statues or monuments does your hometown have? What is the most interesting one you have seen in your hometown or on vacation?

The pizza owner in the book speaks with an Italian accent even though he isn’t Italian. Are you or any of your friends able to speak with an accent? If so, which accents?

What is the riskiest activity in which you’ve taken part? Were you scared? Were you injured? Did you know the risks before you participated?

Have you ever been a picky eater or known someone else who was? What foods did you or the other person especially dislike? Why?

Have you ever seen anyone cheat? What did you do? If you haven’t seen anyone cheat, what would you do if you did see it happening?

Book Talk Teasers:

Watch 30 seconds to a few minutes of the 2017 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Begin several minutes into this video: How do your students feel about an eating contest like this?

Have students perform the Reader’s Theater for Slider.

Read Alikes:

Brothers and Sisters of Children with Autism

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone does my homework. Moose Flanagan, who lives on Alcatraz along with his family and the families of the other prison guards, faces new challenges when his father is promoted to Associate Warden. (NoveList)

Galante, Cecilia. The world from up here. After her mother is hospitalized, Wren Baker and her younger brother go to live with her aunt and her cousin, Silver, but her stress level soars when Silver conceives a plan to climb Creeper Mountain and interview “Witch Weatherly” for the class history project. (NoveList)

McGovern, Cammie. Just my luck. Disappointed by how his life is going and blaming himself for the accident that has placed his father in the hospital, fourth-grader Benny takes his mother’s advice about helping others while worrying about his family when his father’s health worsens. (NoveList)

Myers, Walter Dean. A star is born. Zander’s play, Act Six, brings Da Vinci Academy into the spotlight, especially when LaShonda’s costume designs win her an opportunity she can accept only if she is willing to leave her autistic brother and their group home behind. (NoveList)

Rorby, Ginny. How to speak dolphin. Since her mother died, twelve-year-old Lily has struggled to care for her severely autistic half-brother, Adam, in their Miami home, but she is frustrated and angry because her oncologist step-father, Don, expects her to devote her time to Adam, and is unwilling to admit that Adam needs professional help–but when Adam bonds with a young dolphin with cancer Lily is confronted with another dilemma: her family or the dolphin’s freedom. (NoveLlist)

Competitive eating

Bancks, Tristan. My life & other stuff I made up. A young boy presents a collection of humorous stories based on his real life and imagined events that have to do with kissing a dog, competitive hot dog eating, and a job delivering teeth. (NoveList)

Dixon, Franklin W. Feeding frenzy. Frank and Joe Hardy investigate a mysterious death at the qualifying rounds of a hot dog eating contest. (NoveList)

Stine, R.L. The big blueberry barf-off! Bernie Bridges, the egotistical planner and schemer for a group of fourth-graders at The Rotten School, is determined to outsmart his rival in a pie-eating contest. (NoveList)


Cole, Frank. The world’s greatest adventure machine. Four kids win a contest to try out The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine, a new ride that will top all others. But there is more than meets the eye and the kids must work together to uncover the dangerous truth behind it before it’s too late. (NoveList)

Grabenstein, Chris. Mr. Lemoncello’s great library race. Mr. Lemoncello holds a contest for his young friends where they must race to bring interesting facts back to his library. (NoveList)

Harper, Charise Mericle. Lights, camera, cook! Tate, Rae, Caroline, and Oliver, ages nine to eleven, compete in a televised cooking competition. Includes cooking tips. (NoveList)

Maddox, Jake. Secondhand slice. Thirteen-year old Ben Malone is the son of the head groundskeeper at the exclusive golf club, Strongwood, a course Ben has never played because they cannot afford the fee–but when his best friend puts up the money to enter him in a junior tournament at the club, Ben is forced to confront his own lack of confidence (and his wicked slice). (NoveList)

Tolan, Stephanie S. Applewhites coast to coast. Thirteen-year-old E.D. Applewhite, still reeling from her bewildering kiss with former bad boy Jake, embarks on a cross-country road trip in a wildly painted school bus with her eccentric, highly creative family, as they compete in an art educational quest for a big cash prize. (NoveList)


De Laurentiis, Giada. Naples! When their great-aunt comes to live with Alfie and his older sister Emilia, they learn that food can not only take you places but also bring you back home. In the first book in the series, Alfie and Emilia find themselves magically transported to Naples. (NoveList)

Gutman, Dan. Mr. Tony is full of baloney. The After School Kids’ Care director wants to get into The Guiness Book of World Records, and A. J. and the gang jump in to help him. (NoveList)

Lewis, Josh. Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Pizza Planet people. Planet Earth is invaded by alien Pizza People, and Super Chicken Nugget Boy, normally a student at Bert Lahr Elementary School, must step in to save the day. (NoveList)

Rosenberg, Aaron. Case of the secret sauce. When Pete and Penny’s parents leave them with their uncle in charge of the family pizza parlor, they must solve a mystery after their secret sauce recipe is lost. (NoveList)

Yaccarino, Dan. Delivery of doom. Newly responsible for delivering pizza all over the galaxy, Luno and his friends Clive, an intelligent garlic bulb, and Chooch, a robot pizza oven, go on dangerous deliveries and try to evade those who would steal the Zorgoochi family Golden Anchovy. (NoveList)


Hautman, Pete.  Slider.  Candlewick, 2017. School Library Journal (July 1, 2017)
Gr 5-8-David meant to bid $20, not $2,000, on the half-eaten hot dog of his favorite competitive eater. But it happened, and he won, and he sort of used his mom’s credit card to place the bid. To make up the money, David realizes it’s time to turn his interest into cash and compete in a local pizza eating contest. He can eat an entire pizza in under five minutes, but he’ll have to train to do better than that and win the competition. When he’s not stretching his stomach by eating disgusting amounts of raw cabbage, David hangs out with his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. He also watches his little brother, who has autism, Mal, and rolls his eyes at his overachieving older sister and her annoying new boyfriend. David feels caught in the middle when it comes to his family and whatever is happening between Cyn and HeyMan. This novel is laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely sweet. Though the premise of scarfing down pizzas seems silly, this is ultimately a meaningful book with insight into having a sibling with special needs and the general ups and downs that come with being a teenager. VERDICT A fantastically funny, relatable book that will be an easy sell and a rewarding read for most middle graders.-Emily Moore, Camden County -Library System, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.  Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal , 2017.

Hautman, Pete.  Slider.  Candlewick, 2017. Booklist starred (July 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 21)
Grades 5-8. Jack-of-all-genres Hautman turns to the mouthwatering, madcap world of competitive eating. Narrator David admires the greats: Joey Chestnut, who can down 70 dogs in 10 minutes; Takeru Kobayashi, a Guinness Record-holding lightweight; and his personal favorite, Jooky Garofalo—who legendarily lost a Nathan’s Famous championship by one single half dog. David can’t believe when Jooky’s unfinished dog appears on auction site And he’s floored when his bid for the “piece of history” wins. Unfortunately, one mistyped decimal point means BuyBuy just charged $2,000—not $20—to his mother’s credit card. David may be able to inhale a single pizza in under five minutes, but to win the Super Pigorino Bowl’s $5,000 grand prize—and repay his mom—he’ll have to train like never before. More than a story of stomach-shattering determination, this is also an unflinching exploration of David’s bond with little brother Mal, who, though their mother forbids the label, has been diagnosed with autism. With crystalline prose, delectable detail, rip-roaring humor, and larger-than-life characters, Hautman gracefully examines what it means to be a friend, a family member, and, through it all, a kid trying to do the right thing. Readers will race to devour it, but like Papa Pigorino’s colossal BDT pizzas, this infectious tale is a thing to be savore.  Used with the permission of Booklist

Slider by Pete Hautman Middle School Candlewick 275 pp. 9/17 978-0-7636-9070-0   $16.99
When David accidentally bids $2,000 instead of $20 on a “historic half hot dog” online with his mother’s credit card, he knows he’s dead meat. In a panic, he formulates a plan: enter competitive eating contests and use his winnings to pay his mother back, ideally before she finds out about the charge. Indulging in his particular talent distracts him from life at home; eating astoundingly large quantities of food in impossibly short time spans is obviously not quite the success his older sister, Bridgette, has achieved in college, nor is it the small triumphs of his autistic younger brother, Mal, but David takes pride in it nonetheless. He also takes pride in caring for Mal, even if the responsibility chafes on occasion, and makes some headway with Mal’s increased socialization—Mal travels further with fewer meltdowns when he is wearing sunglasses, for instance, and David also uncovers a pattern to the characteristics that make food appealing to his brother. Despite the often-nauseating drama around the eating contests, the first-person narrative explores the two brothers’ relationship in a nuanced way (except for the main character’s occasional use of ableist language: “With the enormous glasses and his headphones and his hoodie, [Mal] looks like a normal kid pretending to be a rap star”) as David becomes more attuned to Mal’s perspective and ways of communicating. ANASTASIA M. COLLINS
From the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine by permission of The Horn Book, Inc.,