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Children's Picture Books that make Good Graduation Gifts

Updated on August 6, 2013

What Makes a Good Graduation Gift?

Graduation is a milestone in a young person's life, whether it's from elementary, middle, high school, college or university. This is a goal that has been set and now achieved and should be recognized and celebrated. Children's picture books can be an especially meaningful gift if selected properly. A book is something that will last, and can be pulled off the shelf at times when inspiration is needed. Children's books are beautifully made and illustrated making them a wonderful gift. So if you need a special graduation gift this year for your special one, check out the following titles and I think you'll be pleased.

Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes, by Susan V. Bosak

An inspirational fable, told in free verse poetry, this book is high on the list as a beautifully told and illustrated book for graduates. The old wise star takes the young star on a journey through life's stages giving him advice and letting him know the importance of dreaming. Each double spread has different illustrators (a total of 15), a poem about color, a quote from a famous person and the phrase "Dream a Dream with Me." This book was published as part of The Legacy Project which is committed to fostering intergenerational communication. Activity kits are available online at to go with this wonderful book.

Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss

This Dr. Seuss title has become a traditional title given to graduates. In his typical rhyming fashion with his whimsical illustrations, Dr. Seuss takes us on a journey through life's ups and downs, but lets us know that we will finally come out on top and "MOVE MOUNTAINS!" And although there will be lots of fun and fame along the way, "you'll play lonely games too./Games you can't win/'cause you'll play against you." In other words, he shows us the good and the bad in life. But most important, he ends with the important message, "You're off to Great Places!. . ./So. . .get on your way! This is certainly a favorite gift!

Unwitting Wisdom: An Anthology of Aesop's Fables, by Helen Ward

In this beautiful oversize book, Helen Ward retells twelve of Aesop's fables illustrating them in pen and watercolor. In "Steady and Slow," she retells the well known story of the tortoise and the hare, emphasizing the irritating qualities of the hare calling him the "master of faster," and his humiliation at losing ("There was still a good chance that someday he would end up testing . . . the sharpness of a crocodile's teeth." Eleven other fables are retold, not all as well known at this one, but everyone a lesson worth lingering over. An excellent choice for a graduation gift--a book to reread again and again!

Only One You, by Linda Kranz

There are many positive mottos that we should all live by in this gem of a book. Adri's Mama and Papa give him words of wisdom as the little fish heads off on his own, like “Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd,” “If you make a wrong turn, circle back.” and “Look for beauty wherever you are, and keep the memory of it with you.” This book would be a perfect one to pull out of the bookshelf time and time again. You might like to consider this treasure as a gift to your graduate.

What the Dormouse Said, Lessons for Grown-Ups From Children's Books, Compiled by Amy Gash

In this book you will find over three hundred quotations from over two hundred well-loved children's books, such as Charlotte's Web, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Eloise, Sounder, Number the Stars, and Goodnight Moon. they are organized by 21 topics, providing lessons about faith and courage, love and friendship, family woes, goodness, aging, and other topics. These quotes remind us of the values we learned as children and help us to recognize the importance of being yourself, to respect nature, to live adventurously, and to be defiant when it counts, among other things. This book would certainly be a good choice as a graduation gift.

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan

This is a book for all those who are starting a new life, and isn't that what most of our graduates are doing? In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his wife and daughter to immigrate to a foreign country. Sepia-toned panels and turn-of-the-last-century dress and architecture seem to place readers in familiar territory, but then there is an unknown language printed on all the signs, and fantastical creatures who inhabit the land. As the man learns to find his way in this unfamiliar landscape, he also meets and makes friends who tell of their escapes from oppression and war. In the end he is happily reunited with his family in this new land giving us a message of compassion and hope.

The Little Engine That Could, by Walter Piper

Certainly this classic children's tale is one that gives a message to graduates who are starting out on their life's journey. The story of the little blue engine who comes to the rescue of another train who has broken down so that the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain can receive their toys and good things to eat has wonderful lessons of kindness and perseverance. The little train does not give up, but continues with the refrain of "I think I can, I think I can." Isn't this a lesson we all need to keep in mind every day of our lives?

Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages, by Marla Frazee

Although this is supposedly an instruction book on how to get babies to walk, it is really a guide and encouraging words to anyone starting out on a new endeavor which would be perfect for a new graduate. Frazee gives advice like "Ooops. It is very common to fall down.... Go ahead and cry if it helps. Feel better now?", and "IMPORTANT! Don't look down at your feet. Look toward where you want to go. Imagine yourself as already there." What excellent words to give to a new graduate to carry with them wherever they go!

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Do You Know Any Other Books That Would Be Good Graduation Gifts?

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      4 years ago

      Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach


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