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Top 6 Children's Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts


Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss is only one of several children's picture books that make excellent gifts for graduates. If you are looking for a unique graduation gift for a high school or college graduate, I recommend these children's picture books for their wit and wisdom. One of the benefits of this type of gift is that you can share an important message with a graduate without sounding like you are preaching.

1. Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Cover art of Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Random House

Oh, the Places You'll Go is an inspirational book in rhyme that speaks directly to the reader and provides an uplifting sendoff for people entering a new phase in their lives; Dr. Seuss also points out that there will be difficult times as well as good times. For more information, read my review of Oh, the Places You'll Go. Compare prices.

2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Cover of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons picture book
If your graduate tends to worry and get uptight about things that go wrong, this is a good book to share. Pete, who is a pretty laid-back cat, has four groovy buttons on his shirt. What happens when one by one they pop off? To find out, read my book review of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons (Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2012. ISBN: 9780062110589) Compare prices.

3. If You Hold a Seed

Cover of If You Hold s Seed
The Perseus Books Group
Author and Illustrator Elly MacKay's luminous illustrations complement this quiet story about a little boy who plants a seed and patiently cultivates and cares for it over the seasons and years until it reaches maturity. This story also serves as s metaphor for working towards a dream/goal with care and patience and reaching it over time, which makes If You Hold a Seed a good graduation gift. (Running Press Books, The Perseus Books Group. 2013, ISBN: 9780762447213) Compare prices.

4. Only One You

Cover art of the children's picture book Only One You
Rising Moon Books

In this picture book written and illustrated by Linda Kranz, a mother and father decide it is time to share their wisdom with their son, Adri. Adri and his parents are colorful "rockfish" and live in a large community of brightly colored and intricately decorated rockfish. While Adri's parents' words are indeed wise, it is the mixed media artwork illustrating their meaning that makes this book so special. For example, "If something gets in your way, move around it" is illustrated with a line of rockfish that detours around a fishing line with a worm on it. The clever illustrations keep the book from seeming "preachy," getting across some important points with wit and good cheer. (Rising Moon Books, 2006. ISBN: 9780873589017) Compare prices.

5. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg - Children's Picture Book Cover Art
Houghton Mifflin
The author and artist, D.B. Johnson, uses a quotation from Henry David Thoreau as the basis for the plot. The lively artwork and seeing Thoreau and his friend portrayed as bears adds to the enjoyment. However, there is an important message here. Thoreau stressed the importance of simplicity rather than material goods. With all of the emphasis on getting ahead in life, this book helps to put things in perspective. (Houghton Mifflin, 2000. ISBN: 0395968674) Compare prices.

6. Zoom

Cover art for Zoom by Istvan Banyai
Istvan Banyai's Zoom is a bright and colorful wordless book that is sure to amuse graduates while reinforcing the importance of standing back and looking at the "Big Picture" and getting all the information you need before making decisions. This book is perfect for the graduate who says s/he is looking at the Big Picture when planning for the future but actually has tunnel vision. (Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1998. ISBN: 0140557741) Compare prices.

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