“‘Mrs. Silver and the great nation of China might think that this is the Year of the Rabbit,’ said Papa. ‘But I know—and I know everything—that this is the year of Billy Miller.’”
Number of Pages: 229
The Year of Billy Miller is the story of…you guessed it…Billy Miller. He is entering second grade and worries that he may not be smart enough. He wants to impress his teacher, mom, and dad, but he is also growing more independent. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I couldn’t help but love this book! It even won my Best Book Award! Books like this are really important because they teach children that they are not alone in what they are experiencing and feeling. There are lots of books like this with girl main characters—Ramona, Clementine, Judy Moody, etc.—however, boys also need to understand that it’s ok to make mistakes and not be good at communicating, but it is better to fix the problem and be courageous.
This book doesn’t have much of a plot, other than following Billy over the course of second grade. It is broken down into main events that are categorized by Billy’s interactions with a specific character: Teacher, Father, Sister, Mother. I think that was a very intelligent way to break down this book. It can be hard for second graders to read a long chapter book, but this allows them to read a few chapters at a time and even leave the book alone for a long period of time and still be able to pick it back up and continue reading.
I didn’t realize until halfway through the book that Henkes also wrote the Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse books. That made me love this book even more! The book deals with similar issues (through the eyes of a mouse). I love that Billy Miller expands on Lily’s and it is able to be more appreciated by both genders. And I prefer that books about real life experiences to be about actual humans. I think it helps children make more connections to the characters.
This would be a great book to read with a child and talk to them about these experiences, since they will probably deal with a lot of these while growing up—disappointing a teacher, dealing with a mean person in class, feeling embarrassed, etc.
I literally finished this book with a huge smile on my face. You can’t really ask for more than that in a children’s book. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
“Billy Miller hated his sister. At least, right now he did.”
o Amber Gregg o
Check out my other recipients of the Best Book Award!
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