Dr Seuss’s wonderful Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is probably no stranger to most people, as the de-facto — almost cliched — ‘graduation picture book’. But if you don’t want to go down this beaten path, the good news is that there other equally inspiring picture books that are perfect for celebrating and/or cheering on young graduates, and reminding them that they are capable of anything they set their minds to achieve. Here are some of our favorites below.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
Encapsulating all the hopes and dreams that all parents have for their children, this dreamy book expresses in gentle rhyme and beautifully whimsical illustrations, the unlimited potential that lies within each and every unique person, and reminds them that they will always be loved for who they are.
Reach for the Stars by Serge Bloch
Serge Bloch’s signature mixed-media illustrations are full of originality, and good-natured wit and whimsy, and here, they combine with some lighthearted life advice that will strike a chord with anyone, to spur them on to — what else? — reach for the stars!
Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder
Who better to take inspiration from on how to spread your metaphorical wings and take flight into the wide world, than 11 species of birds, all ethereally and stunningly photographed in mid-flight? The arresting images accompany lines from a simple but uplifting (pun intended) poem by Helen Frost, and interesting factoids about all the species of birds featured are included at the end of the book.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This magical story of the unassuming Miss Rumphius is an inspiring reminder of how everyone has the ability to “make the world more beautiful”, in their own way — however small it may seem — and Barbara Cooney’s dreamy illustrations are reason enough to read (and own) this timeless classic.
What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
Everything that surrounds us today was born from someone’s idea. But anyone can come up with ideas — it’s what they do (IF they do anything at all) with them that makes a difference, and this is the perfect book to encourage a young creative person to have the courage and verve to take the next step and make his or her ideas become reality.
So Many Days by Alison McGhee and Taeeun Yoo
Life is a long, wondrous journey, but sometimes, it’s hard to tell where it will all lead, or know our place in the world. This beautifully illustrated book is thus a great reminder for anyone, that it’s okay NOT to know sometimes, but to trust in themselves, and their inner strengths and abilities; and, somehow, everything will work out in the end.
What are your favorite inspirational picture books for young graduates?
Eileen is a magazine sub-editor and camera-shy mom of two littles, who are also her inspiration (and excuse) for spending way too much time hunting down an eclectic selection of what she firmly believes to be some of the best children’s books ever created, as well as reviewing them on her children’s book review website Picture This Book. A lifelong bookworm, Eileen set up Picture This Book two years ago to encourage more parents and educators to read to the children under their care, as she believes quality books to be as crucial to early childhood development as water, food and air. You can also follow Eileen’s book-hunting adventures on her Instagram page.
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