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What a beloved story about a young boy who struggles to express his emotions and to find his place in his classroom among a highly confident 2nd grade girl and a teacher from whom he desperately seeks validation and approval!
I read this aloud with two 6-year-olds (a boy and a girl), and they both loved the story. While it has been many years since I was a 2nd grader, everything Billy feels and struggles with resonated with me. This is how I remember feeling and acting when I was in elementary school.
Full disclosure, we own all of Kevin Henkes' "mouse stories." This was just as engaging and heartfelt, but in a longer chapter format. My kids are still quoting the haiku to me:
Mom likes volcanoes. They are hot. They can explode. Please do not fall in.
Billy Miller is a normal boy who just started 2nd grade.He has a problem with a know-it-all girl at school that he dislikes.His father (which he called papa but called him dad later) was struggling to sell his art, but Billy recommended this dad to making a kind of art called diorama.It was a success and Billy was left with her sister, Sal, and their babysitter to go to a hotel because their parents went to a place to ell their art.At the hotel, he tries to stay up all night with his sister but didn't make it, and gave his sister a pearl.He also struggles a little about thinking who to take to the stage and what poem he should make.
In all, I think this an interesting , and great book.
Billy Miller struggles with finding his way through the sorts of problems one would expect for a second-grader. He starts school on a wrong note and seeks to remedy the problem with his teacher. His father's artistic block causes tension in the family until Billy finds a way to help. Billy wants to stay up all night and hopes his little sister can help him do it. But who is he supposed to write his special poem about when he loves both his mom and dad? It's a puzzle, but Billy addresses the problem with his typical aplomb.
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.
I love this book! Billy Miller is starting second grade and he is scared about being smart enough to do his school work since he got the "lump on his head." This book is about family relationships, self-doubt and self-discovery. It's about learning to cope with difficult classmates and pushing yourself to stretch to be and do more than you thought you could. The story is written from the perspective of a second grader with an erratic little sister, a loving grounded mother, and an unusual artistic father. The heart of the story is the interactions between Billy and his family, friends, and teacher. This is a funny book with warm, loving characters, and of course the know-it-all character that every child always encounters at every grade in school. This book will both make you laugh and leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling that makes you remember the good times of growing up.
This was a Nerdy Book Club nomination and I thought it would be a good read aloud for my daughter who is a first grade teacher and my sister-in-law who is a second grade teacher. I have always loved Henkes' characters, especially Lily, and in this book, Billy Miller is beginning second grade and has some worries about "if he is smart enough" and if the bump on his head he got at Yellowstone will adversely affect his memory. He has a supportive set of parents and the annoying little sister, Sal. His best friend is Ned and he is very funny. What is so nice about this book is that it is divided into 4 parts and each could be read alouds. Students and teachers will enjoy Billy, his trials and tribulations, and his never ending irritation with a new girl, Emma Sparks. There is humor, wonder and many characters to fondly remember in this little gem of a book.
This book is perfect for readers looking for a good story about a second grade boy. Billy is worried that second grade will be too hard for him. His parents both reassure him as does his teacher, but Billy has to experience the challenges of second grade for himself before he sees that the adults were right, and he can be confident in his own ability.
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.
Wonderful read-aloud for the classroom! Billy Miller is such a lovable character! We need more characters like him! The book is divided into four great sections, as though a collection of short stories (Billy with his new teacher, his dad, his younger sister, and his mom). Each story has a level of excitement and stress that keeps the reader laughing and attentive! The Year of Billy Miller is a heartwarming book that will leave the reader or listeners very satisfied with Billy's second grade school year!
Writing, art, using one's imagination and creativity are featured in this book. A classroom teacher would find this a valuable kick-starter for a study of emotions, artwork, creative writing, speaking skills, and more!
As I have indicated in previous reviews, each week I read to two Third Grade classes in a local elementary school. I often find that books I consider are better suited for either older or younger children. This time I got it just right. Billy Miller is starting the second grade and he was worried that he wouldn't be smart enough for school this year. However, Billy was fortunate to have a loving family, a compassionate teacher, and good friends. As a result, it was a good year for Billy Miller. Both my listeners and I enjoyed this book.
The Year of Biily Miller is funny and enjoyable story. Billy, his family and friends are a delightful cast of characters. Kevin Henkes delivers an entertaining and funny story that is great for pre-teens and their parents. Follow Billy as he deals with school and his family. Touching and true to life with all the elements that go with it.