8 Children's Books That Make Great Graduation Gifts

Find the Perfect Gift for Your Child's Next Stage in Life

Graduation party with family and friends

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From "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss to "Pete the Cat" books, there are a number of children's picture books that make excellent graduation gifts. If you are looking for a unique gift for a high school or college graduate, try some grown-up friendly children's books full of wit and wisdom. With this type of gift, you can share some important messages and tips with a graduate without sounding preachy.

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Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life

Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life
A great graduation gift.

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"Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life" contains, as the subtitle says, "tips from a cool cat for living an AWESOME life." Unlike the other "Pete the Cat" book on this list, this book is not a story. Instead, this book by Kimberly and James Dean is a collection of well-known quotations with Pete the Cat's interpretation of them in words and pictures.

The quotations are from William Wordsworth, Helen Keller, John Wooden, and Plato, among others. There's a lot of wisdom in the book. Thanks to Pete's laid-back attitude and engaging explanations, "Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life" is both a fun and a worthwhile gift for a graduate.

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Oh, the Places You'll go by Dr. Seuss book cover

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"Oh, the Places You'll Go" is an inspirational book in rhyme that speaks directly to the reader and provides an uplifting send-off for people entering a new phase in their lives. Dr. Seuss points out that there will be difficult times as well as good times in this book.

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I Wish You More

I Wish You More - Picture Book Cover Art

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"I Wish You More" by the award-winning team of picture book creators Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a book full of good wishes, expressed in a way young children enjoy and graduates appreciate. The wishes are presented as expressions of love, delivered in double-page spreads featuring a simple sentence and accompanying illustration.

While acknowledging that life isn't perfect, the wishes are always for the best that can happen under a variety of circumstances. Wishes include thoughts like "I wish you more give than take" and "I wish you more umbrella than rain." The book's creators effectively combine humor, wisdom, and affection in "I Wish You More."

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Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin cover

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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?

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If You Hold a Seed

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay book cover

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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 a metaphor for working towards a dream or goal with care and patience and reaching it over time. This makes "If You Hold a Seed" a good graduation gift.

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Only One You

Only One You by Linda Kranz book cover

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In this picture book written and illustrated by Linda Kranz, a mother and father decide it is time to share their wisdom with Adri, their son. Adri and his parents are colorful rockfish and live in a large community with other 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 being preachy, getting across some important points with wit and good cheer.

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Henry Hikes to Fitchburg

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson book cover

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The author and artist, D.B. Johnson, uses a quotation from Henry David Thoreau as the basis for the plot. The lively artwork and images of Thoreau and his friend portrayed as bears add 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.

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Zoom by Istvan Banyai book cover

Photo from Amazon

Istvan Banyai's "Zoom" is a bright and colorful wordless book that is sure to amuse graduates, while reinforcing the importance of standing back to look at the "big picture." The images emphasize the idea of getting information 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.

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Kennedy, Elizabeth. "8 Children's Books That Make Great Graduation Gifts." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2021, thoughtco.com/childrens-books-for-grad-gifts-627602. Kennedy, Elizabeth. (2021, September 3). 8 Children's Books That Make Great Graduation Gifts. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/childrens-books-for-grad-gifts-627602 Kennedy, Elizabeth. "8 Children's Books That Make Great Graduation Gifts." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/childrens-books-for-grad-gifts-627602 (accessed March 20, 2023).