Book Review: The Year of Billy Miller | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: The Year of Billy Miller

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

I first came across the brilliant work of children’s author Kevin Henkes when I was a graduate student in the New York City Teaching Fellows program. It was the first week of a crash course in elementary school teaching when one of our instructors pulled out Henkes’ picture book, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, a story about a precocious young mouseling who can’t wait to show off her new prized possession. The story is both laugh-out-loud funny and honest. The instructor read it in such an animated and exuberant way that I felt giddy just imagining sharing it with my students.

It’s been 13 years since then, but Kevin Henkes’ work continues to make me giddy. He’s written 35 picture books in his 33 years as a published author. Many of them feature Lilly, and a host of other quirky mouselings, and appeal to the younger elementary set. But he’s also penned and illustrated sweet, engaging tales for preschoolers, plus 10 novels for older readers. 

Henkes’ newest literary offering is The Year of Billy Miller, a short novel featuring a thoughtful and anxious second-grade boy. I learned in a teacher workshop that kids tend to like books featuring characters a bit older than themselves, and I’ve found this to be mostly true. I’m always on the lookout for intelligent, age-appropriate novels to read to my first-grade daughter, Mira, so I was excited to give Billy Miller a try. 

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About The Author

Alison Novak

Alison Novak

Alison is the former managing editor at Kids VT, Seven Days' parenting publication and writes about education for Seven Days.


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