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26 Graduation Gift Worthy Kids Books

Updated Mar. 12, 2019

Moving on to the next stage of life, be that graduation from kindergarten, high school or college is a beautiful and momentous occasion, and is a great opportunity to express love for and confidence in those you cherish. Regardless of the age of a graduate, children's books make a great gift that's both sentimental as well as useful (and sometimes a little humorous), and while "Oh the Places You'll Go" is the most common choice, there are some other fabulous choices that will let you gift outside the box—these are a few of our favorites!

Top 10 Graduation Gift Worthy Books

Wherever You Go book
#1
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This book has amazing rhymes, but even more so a great message. It talks about adventures being everywhere and there are ways to reach our dreams if we will only get started and move forward. There are lots of different roads that lead to lots of different places we just need to choose the best one that will lead us where we want to go.

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
#2
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely love this book. The illustrations are so beautiful and unique, and the message is even better. I love that it shares the message of unconditional love, that the parent will love whoever their child grows up to be. The book also talks about having courage, kindness, boldness, and loving others. Such a sweet book, one of my favorites!!!

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.

Be Happy! book
#3
Be Happy!
Written and illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love the encouraging, hopeful, and happy messages in this book! I appreciate the reminders of qualities we can have or develop to help us be happy. :) I think it's great that the end of the book is a question and that it can get you talking further about what makes you happy!

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.

What Do You Do with an Idea? book
#4
What Do You Do with an Idea?
Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I love this entire series of books, but this one is definitely my favorite. It's beautifully illustrated, inspirational, motivational and clever. That being said, it's definitely geared towards a little older audience.

A young boy comes up with an idea and he keeps it safe until one day he realizes the amazing power it can have.

Edmund Unravels book
#5
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Super cute and original! This book is particularly great as a gift for anyone leaving the nest and venturing a little farther from home than they have before, be that starting school for the first time, going away to summer camp or leaving for college. The illustrations are modern and bold and the message that adventuring is great, especially when you remember that you have a loving home to come back to is beautifully reassuring.

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.

Sometimes You Fly book
#6
Sometimes You Fly
Written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a sweet read! I love the overall message of this book and the examples it gives of true success. The illustrations in this book are fabulous, and the before and after element of the text and illustrations is a fun part of the book.

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.”

Journey book
#7
Journey
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

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.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! book
#8
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-17

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!

I Wish You More book
#9
I Wish You More
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and 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.

The North Star book
#10
The North Star
Written and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The North Star tackles the deep yet important topic of our personal life journeys. It addresses concepts like the voices and messages that influence us, how we'll treat others, and being confident in what our own goals are. It does all of this in a remarkably simple story that is meaningful to adults but still understandable to young readers. The simple illustrations bring some simplicity to the deeper ideas presented by the story.

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.

Books About Adventure & Graduation Gift Worthy

Wherever You Go book
#1
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This book has amazing rhymes, but even more so a great message. It talks about adventures being everywhere and there are ways to reach our dreams if we will only get started and move forward. There are lots of different roads that lead to lots of different places we just need to choose the best one that will lead us where we want to go.

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.

Edmund Unravels book
#2
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Super cute and original! This book is particularly great as a gift for anyone leaving the nest and venturing a little farther from home than they have before, be that starting school for the first time, going away to summer camp or leaving for college. The illustrations are modern and bold and the message that adventuring is great, especially when you remember that you have a loving home to come back to is beautifully reassuring.

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.

Sometimes You Fly book
#3
Sometimes You Fly
Written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a sweet read! I love the overall message of this book and the examples it gives of true success. The illustrations in this book are fabulous, and the before and after element of the text and illustrations is a fun part of the book.

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.”

Honorable Mentions
  1. Journey - The Book Snob Mom - This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

  2. The Knowing Book - Open a door... Follow a trail... And before you forget, look up... The knowing book is a celebration of our world, of all that you know, and of all that you will discover. Savor the journey.

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