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Billy Miller fears not being smart enough for second grade after a summer bump on his head. Appropriate emotional nuances in Billy’s encounters with his parents, sister, teacher, and classmates help Billy’s father’s pronouncement that this is Billy’s year come true.  


Meeting Notes for November

Meeting Notes for November 15:

Positive Comments:

  • The effortlessly flowing writing make this a perfect book for this age group.
  • The story captures Billy’s anxiety along with the comfort that the adults in his world give him.
  • He solves the topic, the “who,” for his essay in a realistic way.
  • The book’s structure of focusing on each season works well.
  • Although the book is long for a second grader, the story should be accessible to some of the readers in this age group and would be a good “read-aloud.”


  • Some readers might be unsatisfied that the story has a somewhat open ending.
  • The book is too long for some second graders.


enolan's picture

Henkes beautifully captures

Henkes beautifully captures the complex emotions of 2nd grader Billy Miller. Nothing "extraordinary" happens to Billy, but Henkes writes of ordinary struggles with such nuance and emotional honesty that every child can relate in some way. This would be a wonderful family bedtime story or primary school classroom read out loud. While reading I kept thinking of the Eudora Welty quote: "A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within."

Meeting Notes for October

Meeting Notes for October 18:

  • Needs more readers.