The Year of Billy Miller

billymillerWritten by Kevin Henkes

This was a very nice, enjoyable book that is well described by the title. Billy is in second grade, and goes through his school year from Fall to Summer during the book. This is a book with little conflict. Billy has wonderfully supportive, understanding, grounded parents who take great care of he and his younger sister. The conflicts Billy face are realistic and he problem-solves well. They are things such as: should he give his sister a prize for staying awake all night as he promised when they really didn’t stay awake all night? It is kind of like “Seinfeld” in that it is a story about “nothing”. It isn’t really very didactic. Life happens, and this is the story.

I see this as being a good story for second-grade teachers to read to their students. Small problems do come up and they are thoughtfully dealt with. It would be an enjoyable story to share together. I can also see grandparents buying this book for second-grade student so that the parents and child could share this story. Some second grade students can read at a 4th grade level, but many aren’t ready to. I don’t know that a lot of 4th graders would like to read about a second-grade student. Maybe.

The situations Billy faces are those second-grade students do face. The problem of which family member to write a poem about for the school program could be a real one. It’s not really an adventure book, or man against man or man against nature book. It’s just what it says: The Year of Billy Miller.

Review by Cheryl Baker, Mill Creek Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: 2-4

Author Website:

The Year of Billy Miller
Written by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books
240 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013
ISBN: 9780062268129 (hardcover)

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