11 Great Books for Grads

If you think May should be renamed May-hem, you are not alone. It’s graduation season! Gowns are donned, caps are flung, diplomas are dispersed, and shoppers everywhere are searching for that special grad gift. Look no further than these eleven book picks. With options from preschool (the cutest), to elementary, middle, and high school graduates, we have all ages and stages covered. A book is a smart gift for encouraging lifelong learning.

Edmund Unravels, by Andrew Kolb
Edmund is a bright ball of turquoise yarn. He loves to unravel and explore the world, always returning home with a helpful reeling in by his parents. At first his adventures are close by, but as he gets older and bigger, his journeys become more distant. Little readers will cheer as Edmund decides to ravel his way back home when he tires of his exploits. Parents will be happy to share a message about exploring with a safe place to land when the corners of the world become unwelcome.

Kindergarten, Here I Come!, by D. J. Steinberg and Mark Chambers
Preschool graduates will love this charming tale. With detailed illustrations and simple, rhyming text, the expectations of a day in the life of a kindergartener is covered from start to finish. From first day jitters, to lunch, to recess, and celebrating the 100th day of school, little ones will have a better sense of their school days to come after reading this story. Pick up a copy now and start sharing with your child to help them ease into that first day of kindy.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Emily Winfield Martin
This recently released Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition features a new, original print. It’s easy to see why this book is a bestseller, as it resonates with parents and children alike. With beautiful illustrations and rhythmic text, the author-illustrator cleverly imagines what parents think of when they look at their children. With its encouragement of character qualities, such as kindness and helping others, kids of many ages can identify with the messages in this book. A perfect gift for graduation time.

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered, by Lisa Congdon
With enlightening words and snippets of encouragement, this book is filled with wise words for graduates. Equally appropriate for elementary, middle, or high school grads, each page is lovingly illustrated and provides a frame-worthy inspiration or call to action. With more than 100 quotes from history’s wisest individuals, this book is a great pick for those with a creative side, an aspiration for the arts, avid writers, or students with an appreciation for timeless wisdom.

The Double-Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea J. Buchanan, Miriam Peskowitz, and Alexis Seabrook
A follow-up to the bestselling The Daring Book for Girls, this book packs a punch, doing double duty as both educational and fun. From exploring history, to learning about customs, providing educational insight, and offering guides to activities, this book offers something for everyone. Topics range from surfing to April Fool’s Day, and cowboys to croquet. Aimed at older elementary age students, this makes a memorable graduation gift that will certainly inspire (and enlighten) any young reader.

The Dangerous Book for Boys, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
Chock full of life skills and useful information, this book is for outdoorsy kids of all ages. Learn how to tie a knot, find true north, identify a tree, or make a periscope. Stimulating curiosity, exploring education hands on, and encouraging parent-child activities, this tome captures something for everyone. Taking kids away from the temptation of technology and luring them into the great outdoors, this book will keep them busy long after graduation.

I Will Always Write Back, by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch
Oftentimes, graduation equals separation from friends and peers. As students transition on to new schools, keeping lines of communication open can be grounding and provide reassurance. This book explores the true story of a girl from America and a boy from Zimbabwe and their pen pal relationship. Young readers will appreciate how correspondence can keep you connected, and marvel at just how big the world is and how important new connections can be. Kids will want to share this one with parents, making this a graduation gift for the whole family to enjoy.

The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff and  Ernest H. Shepard
Short on words yet deep in meaning, this book explores the idea of needing to be ourselves. With Pooh and a cast of Hundred Acre Woods characters throughout the story, readers will encounter a range of philosophical views and personalities. Students will be able to better understand the religions and beliefs of other cultures, as well as begin to comprehend their place in the world. In the end, everyone will ask if they can be more like Pooh—calm, reflective, and utterly in tune with themselves.
[
ean9]Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self: Real Words of Wisdom from People Ages 7 to 88, by Susan O’Malley and Christina Amini
O’Malley has taken the question, “What advice would your 80-year-old self give you?” and transformed the responses from people of all ages and from all walks of life into this vibrant book. The result is a range of simple, complex, and heartwarming responses; from advice to listen to your mom, to the reassurance that it’s ok to put sugar in your tea.

The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In College, by Anthony ONeal and Rachel Cruze
High school graduates heading off to university will appreciate this useful and insightful book. Authors ONeal and Cruze identify five mistakes to avoid in college, with a focus on making healthy money habits a high priority. This primer will keep a college-bound student thinking about their financial success as much as their educational success.

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, by William McRaven
Admiral William H. McRaven introduces ten principles from Navy Seal training to students with this small yet smart book. With insight, wisdom, wit, and grit, this book explores the military-inspired ways to get more out of life, including values that go well beyond starting your day with a well-made bed. This small, punchy book offers gift-givers an excellent opportunity to share pragmatic advice with students heading out into the world on their own.

Check out our Gifts for Grads page for more gift ideas for new graduates!

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