How Oliver Olson Changed the World

llustrated by Heather Maione. Ages 7 to 10. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009. 978-0-374-33487-1

ALA (American Library Association) Notable Book
New York City Public Library 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing
Bulletin from the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon list
Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award (Transitional Fiction)

How I Came to Write This Book:

I was at a school here in Colorado a couple of years ago and saw a hallway display of kids’ suggestions on what they would do to change the world: everything from designing a jet-powered skateboard to working toward world peace. Instantly I had the idea of writing a book about a kid who would desperately need to change at least his own corner of the world to escape from the influence of his over-protective parents. But I had no idea that the planet Pluto would end up in the book in a starring role!

Published: 2009

How Oliver Olson Changed the World


Oliver’s overprotective parents insist on doing everything, including homework, for him, whether it’s making a diorama of the solar system of coming up with a big idea for changing the world. But when Oliver is drawn into opinionated classmate Crystal’s orbit – she’s outraged at ex-planet Pluto’s banishment – and they decide to work together on the diorama, Oliver slowly begins to assert himself. Mills’s previous beginning chapter books have been stellar, and this one is no exception.
- Horn Book

An engaging and thought-provoking chapter book.
- Booklist

A fast-paced entertaining read.
- Kirkus Reviews

Won’t someone think of the middle graders? Fortunately, Claudia Mills does, and with continued perception, humor, and sympathy.
- Bulletin from the Center for Children’s Books (starred)

How Oliver Olson Changed the World . . . is better than gold. Better than diamonds and jewels. It’s an early chapter book that’s thoughtful, original, funny, and wry.
- Fuse # 8