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The Best Graduation Gift Worthy Kids Books

Looking for the best graduation gift worthy books?
Be Happy! book
#1
Be Happy!
Written & illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Monica Sheehan has taken her bestselling book be happy. and created an irresistible little gem for people BIG & small. So open it up and get inspired to . . .

Sing and dance a little! Have fun! Be kind—be brave! And be the best YOU.

Edmund Unravels book
#2
Edmund Unravels
Written & illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends.

Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

You! book
#3
You!
Written & illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

A life full of adventure first requires big dreams. And big dreams need big encouragement. From world-renowned author and artist Sandra Magsamen comes YOU!, offering inspiration and hope to readers from 1 to 100. Includes colorful, lively illustrations along with whimsical rhyming text that can be cherished in almost any setting.

You're Here for a Reason book
#4
You're Here for a Reason
Written & illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Now available in board book, You’re Here for a Reason, from national-bestselling and beloved author Nancy Tillman, takes a universal truth and makes it accessible for readers young and old. Not only are we loved, but we also matter. In this tender and timeless read-along book, Tillman reminds us of this message in beautiful illustrations as children and animals interact with acts of kindness. You’re here for a reason. If you think you’re not I would just say that perhaps you forgot . . . a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here. If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you’re here! Thank goodness times two! I just can’t imagine a world without you. Not only are we loved, but we also matter. Once again, NancyTillman takes a universal truth and makes it accessible forreaders young and old, as children and animals interact withacts of kindness.

Ideas Are All Around book
#5
Ideas Are All Around
Written & illustrated by Philip C. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As an author and his dog, Wednesday, walk through their neighborhood, they look at sunflowers, say hi to Frank, a turtle, who makes quick for the water and disappears, and watch a train rumble by as they walk uphill to a big purple house that belongs to their friend Barbara. Wednesday chases squirrels while the two friends discuss fishing and war and how back before the neighborhood was there enormous woolly mammoths roamed where houses now sit. Thoughts open up to other thoughts, and ideas are born and carried forward, often transforming into other ideas until he finds that ideas really are all around, you just have to know what to do with them. This title has Common Core connections.

  1. Sometimes You Fly - This gorgeous gift book, equally perfect for preschool graduations or college commencements, baby showers or birthdays, is an inspirational tribute to the universal struggles and achievements of childhood. Beginning with a first birthday, the scenes travel through childhood triumphs and milestones, coming full circle to graduation. A magical blend of succinct text and beautiful watercolors renders each moment with tenderness and humor and encourages readers to “remember then, with every try, sometimes you fail . . . sometimes you fly.”

  2. Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads—from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

  3. Journey - Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

  4. The Knowing Book - This picture book is a celebration of life and the perfect gift to mark any milestone, from a new baby to a birthday to graduation. Illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell! In this inspiring story, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and wonder. Along the way he chooses a path and explores the unknown. And at the end of his journey, braver and more confident, he returns home—a place he can always count on. Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s wise words and Cordell’s beautiful illustrations combine in this book ideal for any special gift-giving occasion.

Wherever You Go book
#10
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Roads give you chances to seek and explore. Want an adventure? Just open your door. Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller’s lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road—the same road that will always lead you home again.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be book
#11
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Written & illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a parent’s musings about what a child will become, knowing that the child’s kindness, cleverness, and boldness will shine through no matter what, as will the love they share.

Exclamation Mark book
#12
Exclamation Mark
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A punctuation mark feels bad that he doesn’t fit in with the others until a friend reveals the possibilities that exist when differences are accepted.

I Wish You More book
#13
I Wish You More
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times bestseller! Some books are about a single wish. Some books are about three wishes. The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant book of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age.

What Do You Do with an Idea? book
#14
What Do You Do with an Idea?
Written by Kobi Yamada & illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea? is for anyone who’s ever had a big idea.

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.

  1. Yay, You! - Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On For new graduates, or for anyone facing imminent change, here is profound insight, bold inspiration, and truly ensloxifying advice. Also an occasional hippo. No wombats. What’s more, Yay,You! will not overstress the weary mind. It’s nice and short, with lots of pictures, no chapters, no index, no graphs, no study questions, and not a single Suggestion for Further Reading. Portable, colorful, and low in saturated fats, this is truly the perfect gift for that special onwardly-mobile someone. There are so many choices. The world is immense. Take a good look around and decide what makes sense…

  2. All Our Wild Wonder - All Our Wild Wonder is a vibrant tribute to extraordinary educators and a celebration of learning. The perfect gift for the mentors in our lives, this charming, illustrated poem reminds us of the beauty in, and importance of, cultivating curiosity, creativity, and confidence in others.

  3. Whatever You Are, Be a Good One - A quote book like no other, this thought-provoking collection compiles the timeless wisdom of great original minds— from Marie Curie to Stephen King, Joan of Arc to Jack Kerouac, Oscar Wilde to Harriet Tubman—brilliantly hand-lettered by beloved indie artist Lisa Congdon. Readers will find enlightening insights (“Wisdom begins in wonder”— Socrates), stirring calls to action (“Leap and the net will appear”—John Burroughs), and stimulating encouragements (“Be curious, not judgmental”—Walt Whitman) beautifully illuminated on every page. A delightful reminder to get out there and make the most of life, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One is perfect for recent graduates, creative thinkers, and anyone looking for a little inspiration.

  4. Reach for the Stars - A boy receives many confusing words of advice in the form of phrases like, “Dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.”

How Big Is the World? book
#19
How Big Is the World?
Written & illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Little Mole asks each animal he meets how big the world is, and they all give progressively larger answers, ranging from the size of a spider’s web to an endless ocean.

Happy Dreamer book
#20
Happy Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A “dreamer maximus” describes the many ways one can dream, and the importance of being a happy dreamer.

I Can be Anything book
#21
I Can be Anything
Written & illustrated by Diane Dillon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zoe is sure that she can be anything she wants to be, despite a little voice of doubt that points out the problems with her ideas—but first she needs to learn how to read.

The Three Questions book
#22
The Three Questions
Written & illustrated by Jon J Muth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, this exquisitely illustrated book explores the meaning of life. Full color.

Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life book
#23
Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life
Written & illustrated by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone’s favorite cat shares a collection of his favorite inspirational and feel-good quotes in Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life. Pete’s glass-half-full outlook on life shines through as he adds his fun take on well-known classics attributed to luminaries from Albert Einstein to Confucius to Abraham Lincoln to Shakespeare and more! Fans of Pete the Cat will delight in this amusing look at quotes that are accompanied by Pete’s witty responses and Pete illustrations by New York Times bestselling artist James Dean.

  1. If You Hold a Seed - A young boy plants a seed that, with water, sunlight, care, and patience, grows into a strong, tall tree.

  2. Only One You - Adri promises to remember his parents’ words of wisdom about how to live his life, such as “Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd” and “Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky.”

  3. The North Star - Ideal for graduates! A gorgeous new edition of the universal fable that has inspired seekers of all ages to follow their heart’s desire. Ask yourself where it is you want to go. . . . It is often said that life is a journey, and it’s true. But sometimes it’s hard to know which path to follow, when signs point in so many directions. In this beautifully illustrated book, Peter H. Reynolds once again encourages readers to observe, to wonder, and to consider diverging from the well-worn path—to pursue their dreams. Originally published ten years ago, The North Star has had a profound effect on its many readers. This edition, featuring all-new art, celebrates the book’s own decade-long voyage connecting people around the world. It has inspired classroom activities, a musical, and thousands more thoughtful journeys.

  4. Toy Boat - A toy boat gets separated from its owner and has an adventure on the high seas.

The Sky Is the Limit: A Celebration of All the Things You Can Do book
#28
The Sky Is the Limit: A Celebration of All the Things You Can Do
Written by Lisa Swerling & illustrated by Ralph Lazar
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-18

From the bestselling creators of Happiness Is comes a celebration of the many delightful, triumphant, silly, sweet, life-changing experiences that lie ahead.

A world full of wonder is waiting for you . . . the sky is the limit of what you can do!

The only thing needed to begin this marvelous adventure? YOU! From far-reaching endeavors to the quieter milestones that have a magic all of their own, this gift-y picture book celebrates life’s most meaningful moments, and encourages readers to reach for a sky’s worth of possibilities.

• A joyous all-ages book perfect for families and children celebrating everyday accomplishments • An inspiring graduation gift • Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar are the creators of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Happiness Is… series.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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