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The Year of Billy Miller Paperback – May 26, 2015
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“Billy Miller’s second-grade year is quietly spectacular in a wonderfully ordinary way. . . . Henkes offers . . . a sense that experiences don’t have to be extraordinary to be important and dramatic. . . . Sweetly low-key and totally accessible.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Henkes’s delightful story is restrained and vivid in in just this way: forgoing the overdramatic or zany, it shows the substance, warmth and adaptability of beautifully common family love.” (New York Times)
“A vivid yet secure portrait of a boy coming into his confidence . . . [with] a comfortable rhythm perfectly suited to young readers. . . . Nuanced and human.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“Funny and often poignant . . . Billy himself might have been daunted by a book with more than 200 pages, but eager young readers will find this a great first chapter book to share or read solo.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“A story with a lot of heart.” (Booklist)
“Smartly attuned to emerging readers, and its warmth, relatable situations, and sympathetic hero give it broad appeal.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Thoughtful kids able to tackle a book of this length will enjoy reading this on their own, but it would also make a fine choice for reading aloud in the classroom or home.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
From the Back Cover
It was a blustery day. The flag on the nearby pole snapped in the wind. Billy raced ahead of his family—up the steps to the lookout platform. As he stood between the Giant's enormous feet, a sudden gust lifted his cap from his head. His cap sailed away. Without thinking, Billy stepped onto the middle rung of the guardrail, leaned over, and reached as far as he could. . . .
Newbery Honor Book
ALA Notable Book
Horn Book Fanfare Honor List
Kirkus Best Books of the Year
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Top customer reviews
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I highly recommend this book, especially to second grade teachers.
The book is divided into four sections, each section about as long as a typical book from one of the churn-and-burn series (looking at you Junie B.). So, in essence, you are getting four books for the price of one and I appreciate Henkes for doing it this way instead of starting a series of Billy Miller books.
Section One "Teacher" is about how Billy deals with starting second grade and the natural feelings of insecurity that many students go through when starting a new grade.
Section Two "Father" is about Billy's dad struggling with his artwork and how being frustrated or angry about one part of our lives can effect other parts as well. This section can be used in conjunction with having your class create dioramas.
Section Three: "Sister" tells about Billy's first attempt to stay up all night and how it turns into a wonderful bonding session with his little sister instead. This section can be used for creating scary stories or an arts and craft projects where the students make their own "Drop Sister".
Section Four: "Mother" is probably the weakest part of the story but wraps things up nicely. Can be used in conjunction with a poetry writing assignment.
Strengths: Billy is an adorable character, very believable and endearing. Henkes demonstrates once again his superb understanding of childhood and the sorts of things that most kids worry about. The book would be a wonderful read-a-loud as it is full of character, heart, and beautiful writing.
Weaknesses: The only problem I had with the book was the length. The book is rather long (229 pages) for the target audience which would have to be first through third grades. I'm not sure older children would pick up the book.
Dealing with his little sister, Sal, reciting poetry from memory at school, making a diorama for a school project - all these things help make Billy's second grade year memorable and a little bit more grown up and responsible.
Henkes has managed to capture what it is like to be a second grade boy, and shares the experiences through Billy Miller.
I loved reading this to myself, but can't wait to book talk it at school,and read it aloud to my girls at home.
Most recent customer reviews
Dad says - my son loved this book. He couldn't put it down!
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