The Year of Billy Miller
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joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12
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When Billy Miller has a mishap at the statue of the Jolly Green Giant at the end of summer vacation, he ends up with a big lump on his head. What a way to start second grade, with a lump on your head! As the year goes by, though, Billy figures out how to navigate elementary school, how to appreciate his little sister, and how to be a more grown up and responsible member of the family and a help to his busy working mom and stay-at-home dad. Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. This is a perfect short novel for the early elementary grades.
Billy Miller wasn’t always worried that he wouldn’t be smart enough for second grade. To be blunt, the idea never even entered his brain. Then he fell. It wasn’t life-threatening or anything but that fall from a guardrail to the ground certainly gave him a bump on the noggin. When he heard his mom confess to his dad that she worried there might be some kind of permanent damage, that’s when his own worries started. Fortunately his Papa sets him right telling his son, “… I know – and I know everything – that this is the Year of Billy Miller.” Turns out, Papa’s right. Between making up with his teacher, helping his Papa with his art, attempting to stay up all night with his little sister Sal, writing a poem about his mom and so much more, second grade is turning out to be a full year. And Billy Miller’s going to be smart enough for all of it.
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“Billy sat alone, considering the choice he had to make. He sucked the web of skin between his thumb and pointer finger, his hand falling across his chin like a beard.”
“Billy had known Grace since kindergarten. She was so shy she seemed almost invisible. Like vacuums, her wide eyes were sucking in everything.”
“Billy had trouble getting started. He opened his poetry journal to the first page and wrote: My Mom. He couldn’t think of anything else to write, so he drew a series of volcanoes in progressive stages of exploding.”
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