A 2014 Newbery Honor BookA New York Times Bestseller
Award-winning, nationally bestselling author Kevin Henkes introduces second-grader Billy Miller in this fast-paced and funny story about friendship, sibling rivalry, and elementary school.Read more...
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More About The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin HenkesOverview
- How to Train a Train
Jason Carter Eaton
A 2014 Newbery Honor BookA New York Times Bestseller
Award-winning, nationally bestselling author Kevin Henkes introduces second-grader Billy Miller in this fast-paced and funny story about friendship, sibling rivalry, and elementary school. The Year of Billy Miller includes black-and-white art by Kevin Henkes and is perfect for fans of the Ramona books; Frindle, by Andrew Clements; and the Clementine series.
The New York Times declared: "Henkes's delightful story is restrained and vivid . . . forgoing the overdramatic or zany, it shows the substance, warmth and adaptability of beautifully common family love." When Billy Miller has a mishap at the statue of the Jolly Green Giant at the end of summer vacation, he ends up with a big lump on his head. What a way to start second grade, with a lump on your head As the year goes by, though, Billy figures out how to navigate elementary school, how to appreciate his little sister, and how to be a more grown up and responsible member of the family and a help to his busy working mom and stay-at-home dad. Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. This is a perfect short novel for the early elementary grades.
- ISBN-13: 9780062268129
- ISBN-10: 0062268120
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publish Date: September 2013
- Page Count: 229
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Related CategoriesPublishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-08
- Reviewer: Staff
It’s the Year of the Rabbit, according to Billy Miller’s new second-grade teacher. It’s also the year of several dilemmas for the boy, including the fear he might “start forgetting things” due to bumping his head while on vacation over the summer. Then there’s the habitat diorama that Billy is assigned—the bat cave he creates doesn’t turn out quite like he’d hoped. Henkes’s (Junonia) gentle slice-of-life novel, divided into four sections, humorously examines these and other plights while capturing the essence of Billy’s relationships with four significant figures in his life: his teacher (who he accidentally insults on the first day of school); his stay-at-home, struggling-artist father; his sometimes annoying, sometimes endearing three-year-old sister; and his mother, about whom Billy must compose a poem to be presented at the end of the school year. Each segment introduces a new conflict that Billy manages to resolve without too much fuss or torment. The book’s clear structure, concrete images, and just-challenging-enough vocabulary are smartly attuned to emerging readers, and its warmth, relatable situations, and sympathetic hero give it broad appeal. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)BookPage Reviews
One boy's big year
On the first day of school, Billy Miller worries that he’s not smart enough for second grade. That’s the first of many trying moments for Billy, all portrayed in the four episodic sections of this charming chapter book. Billy fears that his teacher doesn’t like him, tries to stay up all night for the first time, discovers the value of little sisters and aims to write the perfect poem for his mother. Author Kevin Henkes handles every situation with sensitivity and gentle realism.
Pressured by classmates to switch from calling his father “Papa” to “Dad,” Billy finds himself in a difficult stage of childhood. He’s no longer a cute toddler like his younger sister, nor is he old enough to stay home alone. His year becomes, then, a time for growing up.
Despite his many worries, Billy also finds joy and comfort as he begins to discover his talents, forge deeper bonds with his family and rely on a quiet resilience.
Although The Year of Billy Miller has no underwear jokes, bodily fluids or crime-fighting superheroes, it is solidly a book for boys. Henkes brilliantly captures Billy’s view of the world from a male perspective. With so few books that tackle boys’ true emotions, this rare novel stands out for both its subject matter and its exquisite storytelling. While girls may relate to Ramona, now boys can claim Billy Miller.