‘Billy Miller Makes a Wish’ Will Help You and Your Kids Talk About Emotions

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Think back to your childhood. Do you remember a time when you were in distress and needed reassurance that everything would be okay? Do you recall who was the first person you turned to in your time of need? It may have been your mom, dad or even a grandparent who always made you feel better.

For Billy Miller in Billy Miller Makes a Wish, he turns to his supportive parents, as they know just how to ease his worries–especially after he makes a birthday wish that may or may not have led to an eventful summer. Written by award-winning author Kevin Henkes, this sweet, comical and emotionally complex chapter book touches on family life, resolving minor problems and coping with unpredictable situations that come about.

Billy Makes a Wish is a relatable read for early elementary schoolers who are, too, faced with small dilemmas as they’re growing up and learning how to work through them. With black-and-white illustrations from Henkes, the captivating novel is also the perfect stand-alone companion to The Year of Billy Miller, a Newbery Honor Book.

Find Out What Billy Wishes For and How it All Unfolds!

The Story

Billy Miller is a gentle, sensitive and kindhearted rising third-grader who has a loving family–his dad who is an artist that works at home, his mom who is a teacher and his little sister, Sal, who is quite rambunctious and silly. On his eighth birthday, Billy wishes for something exciting to occur during the long summer ahead but is immediately filled with regret.

Just moments after blowing out his candles, an ambulance rushes to his elderly neighbor’s house, making Billy feel responsible for the cause. The events don’t stop there, however. Throughout the remainder of his summer, more situations continue to unfold, from misplaced love letters, misguided tattoos, a critter in the basement and a chimney fire. Billy wrestles with the idea that his birthday wish may be the cause, but is it the result of his father going away to camp for a week?

With each scenario that comes about, Billy is faced with resolving the problems. Fortunately, he isn’t alone. He can always count on his parents to help relieve his concerns and stand by his side to overcome hurdles together.

Read this adorable, funny and heartwarming story together as a family and discover a special surprise in the end! Though, moms and dads may figure it out sooner as they read along.

Discover a Lovely Surprise at the end of Billy’s Summer!

What Others Have to Say About Billy Miller Makes a Wish

“[A] short, well-paced follow-up to Newbery Honoree Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller. . . Henkes’s sequel offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of kid life . . . Henkes captures the warmth of Billy’s family . . . as well as his guileless voice as he navigates common trials and tribulations of childhood.”— Publishers Weekly

“In this tender, lightly illustrated story, Mr. Henkes captures the angst, humor and quiet everyday dramas of life in a growing family.” — Wall Street Journal

“Billy Miller’s birthday wish, for ‘something exciting [to] happen,’ attunes him to all kinds of excitement in his life. . . . Henkes’s focus on small transitions in growing up and seeing the world acknowledges and celebrates the complex emotional life of childhood. Billy’s year of being 8 begins like a leaf unfolding, slow and steady . . . The sweet surprise of the summer, revealed when Papa returns, promises new and interesting chapters in Billy’s life. Full of heart and depth.” — Kirkus Reviews

Start reading Billy Makes a Wish today, which can lead to open conversations about tackling the challenges of childhood and feeling supported!

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