May 22, 2015

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Pick of the Day: The Year of Billy Miller

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HENKES, Kevin. The Year of Billy Miller. illus. by author. 240p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-226812-9; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-226813-6; ebook ISBN 978-0-06-226815-0. LC 2012050373.
Title in large red letters over picture of boyGr 1-3–The beginning of a new school year brings anxious moments for Billy Miller, a typical second grader at Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary School in a small Wisconsin town. His new teacher, Ms. Silver, uses chopsticks to hold her hair in place and know-it-all Emma Sparks is unfortunately one of his desk mates. Just as a school year is divided into quarters, the book is divided into four parts–”Teacher,” “Father,” “Sister,” and “Mother”–each offering a new perspective on Billy’s personality and development through his interactions with these well-developed characters. He begins the school year with a lump on his head from a family-vacation incident and navigates glitter homework fiascos, canceled sleepover plans, and sibling annoyances as readers see the year unfold through funny and often poignant situations. Billy himself might have been daunted by a book with more than 200 pages, but eager young readers will find this a great first chapter book to share or read solo.–Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH

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