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The Year of Billy Miller
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The Year of Billy Miller

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  6,886 Ratings  ·  1,043 Reviews
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 Tim
ebook, 240 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Greenwillow Books
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I don't readily compare books to Ramona (now THERE'S a sentence opener, ladies and gentlemen). To compare any children's book to Beverly Cleary's classic series just leaves one wide open to ridicule. The Ramona books are classics for a very particular reason; they place a sturdy, hard-as-nails finger directly on an age that is traditionally forgotten. Kids between the ages of six and ten are nebulous creatures. Too old to be cute little itty bitties and too young to enjoy the rights and privileg ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-fiction
I once had a teacher who said, if one of us was flummoxed as to the accolades given a particular work or writer, "Maybe you just weren't invited to the party." Though I'm a fan of a lot of Kevin Henkes's books, I was not invited to the party on this one. Two stars feels shabby, but "It was ok" is exactly how I feel. "Billy" has picked up lots of starred reviews and is widely considered a Newbery contender. The stories it tells--about the dread of feeling misunderstood by your 2nd grade teacher, ...more
Rachael Stein
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read it while getting an extremely painful tattoo and liked it anyway. Review to come.

ETA: here is the actual review!

When I attend ALA, I usually approach author signings in one of two frames of mind. Sometimes - probably the majority of times - I am diffident and humble, giving them a quick "thank you" and getting out of their hair. This year, however, I went with the other approach, which I'll call "wild-eyed fangirl." I hugged Laura Amy Schlitz and took a picture in her hat. I burbled and en
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A story that captures the magic of ordinary things--a smile from your teacher, your love for an annoying little sister, or sharing a quiet moment with your mom. This book would be a perfect read aloud for second or third graders.
Susan Dove Lempke
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's very unusual to find a full-length novel about a second grader. The presumption in children's literature is that kids want to read about someone older than they are, or their same age at the most. They might occasionally want to look back with a mix of nostalgia and humor especially if a book is part of a series, like Cleary's Ramona books. But something like this, with over 200 pages about a second grader? Unheard of.

It's a very true and tender look at this particular second grader, Billy
Can you come of age as a second grader? Yes -- in small but meaningful ways. Kevin Henkes captures a perfect handful of them in this heartwarming and utterly wonderful book about a boy named Billy Miller who has normal kid worries as he starts (and, some months later, ends) his second grade year. He worries maybe he's not smart enough for the second grade. He worries that his teacher doesn't know he's a nice kid. But he hopes a lot too -- hopes he can succeed at staying up all night for the firs ...more
Destinee Sutton
I really wish that, instead of a 229-page novel for 2nd graders, Henkes had written four 70-page novellas for 2nd graders. Seriously.

Newbery update: I actually had a dream last night that Billy Miller won the Newbery Medal and I was so disappointed. Turns out, it won an Honor, and I'm not so disappointed. It's nice for the Newbery committee to recognize a book for younger readers, even if I still believe this is really four books crammed into one too-long book. I will continue to think that, wh
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Henk, man - The Henk.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: ARC
Shelves: character, elementary
I started reading this book because sps received an ARC copy and I was bored last night and it was lying right next to me. It's about second grader Billy Miller who has a stay-at-home dad who is a struggling artist, a 3-year-old sister, and a mom who is a teacher. Billy Miller is starting a new year of school and it tells the story of his year through 4 chapters, each one focused on his relationship with the important people in his life.

Billy definitely thinks and acts like a 2nd grader and I li
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: realistic
I don't normally read around this age range, and this book was a very simple read so it is fine for grades 1+, but I thought it was kind of boring. The main character goes through his second year of school in this book, and the length of the book might be intimidating to readers under second grade, but the writing style is definitely simple enough for 1st graders. So it has that going against it. Also, as I mentioned, it was boring. This book looks pretty long and intimidating, but most of that ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
When Billy suffers a head injury right before the start of his 2nd grade school year, he and his parents are worried that he is going to under-perform, or exhibit memory problems. Billy internalizes his injury and worries, is he smart enough for second grade? As he navigates through the school year, all of his different relationships are showcased in their own official sections of the book: teacher, father, sister, mother. His father is an unemployed artist looking for his big break...meanwhile ...more
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
This story of a second grader's school year, related through his experiences with the key people on his life: Teacher, Father, Sister, Mother, is just right. Billy, his sister, friends and the caring adults that inhabit his small orbit are rendered darn near perfectly and provide a rich, warm portrait of a child's inner life. The short, meaty sentences are thoughtfully constructed, and it feels like not a word is wasted in this just over 200 page beginner novel for young fans of Ramona or Clemen ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile
Billy is going into second grade, and he's a little worried he won't be able to handle it. Both his parents assure him he'll do great and will love his teacher. The year starts out a little rough: he's certain Ms. Silver doesn't like him, there's a new girl in class (Emma--a bit of a Bossy Pants) and the school work load is much higher than in first grade. But as the year progresses, Billy does find that it *is* his year, just as his mom said at the start of school. The year ends with the whole ...more
Chris Go
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Clearly I have been reading a lot of Lemony Snicket of late. I'd say too much, but I don't think that is possible. As I read "The Year of Billy Miller", I kept waiting for the big bad thing to happen.

The book is divided into sections called Teacher, Father, Sister, and Mother. As I finished one, I would thing, oh wow, nothing bad happened in that section, does the next character have something terrible happen? When nothing bad happens to the sister, I was going crazy thinking the author was goi
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Every once in awhile you need to pick up a book that makes you feel good. The Year of Billy Miller is certainly one of those books. Henkes use of language in this book is superb. Readers will identify with Billy, his younger sister Sal, and even his father. And where most books feature mom prominently and dad takes a more backseat role, this book is reverse. Dad is an artist who stays at home while mom works as at teacher in a high school. And thought it is the relationship that Billy has with h ...more
Bish Denham
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
I feel like I missed something with this book. It was okay, I even kind of liked it, but... nothing really happens. Maybe that's the point. Maybe it's simply about a very normal 7 year-old boy who is dearly loved by his parents and that's it. And that is a good thing. Still, I kept thinking something was going to happen: a fight with his best friend and figuring out how to be friends again, a prank or two, an argument with his parents. Something. The other thing that kind of bothered me was that ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love how Billy is all boy, but not rude & crude. I had three boys myself, and they are different than girls. And given that most teachers and librarians who work with young children are female, books like this are important to help us remember that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is not the only choice....
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
I really liked this book. I can see why it won a Newbery Honor. I loved how Billy Miller's problems were such second grade problems. I guess I was never suppose to leave elementary school, because I could see so many of my second grade students as Billy Miller. I'm going to be recommending this book to all of my second grade teachers for a read aloud.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is the kind of book that teachers and parents want students to enjoy, but sadly they probably won't. It is very simplistic which leans toward younger readers, but I don't think it will keep their interest. It might work as a read aloud. I felt that the story was sweet but (sorry to say) lame. It was trying too hard to be meaningful and relatable to kid angst, while not being funny or eventful enough to quite make the cut.
Julie Robinson
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Second grade; early grade read aloud; intermediate independent read; school days; family; babysitters
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A cute, realistic fiction children's novel. I read this aloud to my 6 year old son and he loved it. It was refreshing how non-violent/dramatic/suspenseful this book was but instead focused on the everyday struggles of a kid trying to figure himself / his school out. The family dynamic was lovely, too.
Amy Rae
If anyone knows how to write about small problems with great affection and respect, it's Kevin Henkes. The Year of Billy Miller is full of the tiny, silly issues seven-year-olds run into, and it never feels condescending about any of them.

Whether it's charming or dull to you is basically a coin flip. For me, it was a little of both, at one point or another. I agree with a different reviewer who suggested this would have been a good beginning-reader series rather than one long book. However, I t
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Billy Miller is a realistic fiction chapter book about a second grader, Billy Miller. Over the summer, Billy and his family go on vacation and Billy falls and gets a bump on his head. He overhears his parents talking about it and his mom is worried that there may be permanent damage. Billy is now worried about being smart enough for second grade. He has other typical nine-year-old problems, like worrying about his teacher liking him, getting along with other kids in his class,
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: not sure. Suggestions accepted!
This is the type of book I haven't seen for a while, and it is wonderful to read! I read the book all in one day. My one problem with the book which is why it lost the fifth star, is the question of audience. In terms of reading level, it is about a grade 3-4 book. In terms of length, it is about a grade 5-6 book. In terms of the main character, it is for second graders. My experience is that usually kids don't really want to read about kids younger than themselves. So I am not sure this would b ...more
Kevin Henkes and I have a history. I was first introduced to his books when my daughter’s first grade teacher read Chrysanthemum to the class. She loved the book and so did I. We were hooked on Henkes. Together we read Owen, Julius the Baby of the World, Chester’s Way and Lilly’s Plastic Purse. They were all great books, with sweet illustrations, a story with a message and usually an “ah hah” moment. They also had pattern, repetition and rhythm, just like a song. I was sad when she moved on to b ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: readin2013
I liked some things about The Year of Billy Miller. I did. But. I didn't quite "love, love, love" The Year of Billy Miller. I liked that it balanced school stories with family stories. There would be scenes set in the classroom, with the teacher, perhaps, or with his classmates. There would be scenes set at home with Billy interacting with his dad, his mom, his sister, his best friend. I thought Henkes did a much better job with the home scenes, the family stuff, than the school stuff. I did get ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was afraid to read this book because a few others' words said it was a 'teary' book, and I wondered what that meant. It's not that I'm afraid of tough topics, it's just that I couldn't imagine how an author could write something that would bring tears for younger readers. I shouldn't have worried! The Year of Billy Miller is a lovely story that started so beautifully that I read most of it last evening, then had to leave the final part until this morning. This is about a family, a mama, a pap ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit, mock-newbery
Billy Miller worries that a lump on his head from a fall after an impulsive action over the summer leaves him not quite smart enough for second grade. His new teacher, Ms. Silver, writes a welcome letter about the Year of the Rat. His parents assure him this will be the Year of Billy Miller.

Told in 4 parts over the course of the school year, the story shows Billy's relationship to his teacher, father, sister, and mother. In each section, Billy learns something about himself and the people around
Lisa Suchy
The Year of Billy Miller is about Billy Miller, a worried second-grade boy. He is beginning the school year and is anxious of the year ahead of him because at the end of summer he fell and bumped his head while on family vacation. It wasn’t a life-threatening fall, but it did leave bump on his head. Billy Miller’s family consists of his a younger sister, Sal, and his mom and dad that he calls Mama and Papa. This book consists of learning of Billy’s fears, worries, and accomplishments as he is tr ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty curious about The Year of Billy Miller because I’ve long been a fan of Kevin Henkes’s picture books and because I don’t see very many books written about or for children of this age (second grade). On the whole, I found the novel to be a really warm, gentle, and satisfying read.

The Year of Billy Miller follows Billy for a year. Billy is a little insecure going into the second grade because he hit his head pretty hard during his summer vacation and doesn’t know if there will be any
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Kevin Henkes became an author/illustrator when he was nineteen years old, working on a card table in his bedroom.
Today he's the author of many award-winning picture books and novels.
More about Kevin Henkes...
“he could manage. Ms. Silver happened to be walking by” 1 likes
“Drop Sisters.” 0 likes
More quotes…