The Jolly Green Giant

Donna, Rocket, and I visited Blue Earth, Minnesota. I will always associate this town with The Year of Billy Miller. Watch the video (above) and look at the photographs (below) to find out why. 

I interviewed Kevin Henkes on February 9, 2014. 

Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Newbery committee was laughing and clapping?  What did you do after you hung up the phone?

Kevin Henkes: Even though I knew that Monday January 27th was the day of the announcements, when the phone rang at 5:35 a.m. I instinctively thought that something bad had happened to my mother (age 84) or to my son (age 18 and away at college). I was relieved and thrilled when what was really happening sank in. When the committee laughed, I thought it was because I'd said, "I'm in bed." After I hung up, my wife ran out to get celebratory bakery treats and we had a most lovely breakfast. Almond croissants were never so delicious and I'll always associate them with Billy Miller. (And I called my mother and my son with the good news!) 

What does the Newbery mean to you? 

Kevin Henkes: This Newbery Honor means that BILLY MILLER will have a longer life. What more could an author wish? 

Please finish this sentence starter:

Reading is a constant wonder and one of the things that keeps me going. 

Kevin Henkes won the 2005 Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon

"So if you are hunting for something new for that first or second grader in your life, you can do no better than pick up The Year of Billy Miller."  - Anita Silvey 

Kevin Henkes reads his manuscripts aloud over and over and over again. 

Junonia is set in a place where Kevin and his family spend time during the summer.

Learn about the inspiration for Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.


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