Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes

Billy Miller is nervous about going back to school.  After suffering a concussion over summer vacation, he’s worried that he may not be smart enough for the second grade!  On top of the stress that comes from meeting a new teacher, Billy’s struggling to get along with his little sister, his parents, and his friends.  It seems like there’s always something going on at the Miller household, and Billy’s usually right in the middle of the action!

One thing I liked about this chapter book was how the reader gets the chance to follow Billy through the entire school year.  It’s not a minute-by-minute, day-by-day account, but rather an in-depth look at some of the more memorable events as Billy sees them.  Mr. Henkes gives a lot of attention to the simple things, like Billy’s diorama project and his class’ poetry recital.  These might not be major societal issues that we’re talking about, but they’re certainly huge milestones for a second grade student!

This one is a little bit longer than the traditional chapter book, but it’s nicely broken down into shorter sections so that even the most methodical reader will be able to make steady progress.  Not only is this book a great story about a very cool kid, but it’s a strong choice to prepare young men for the longer novels that they’ll see in upper grades.  Keep a copy of this book on hand and I guarantee, it won’t be long until all the pages start looking dog-eared and worn!

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