It's that time of year again, the flowers are blooming and everywhere you look someone is dressed in a cap and gown. Whether it's the final days of preschool or the end of a four year college journey graduations abound and everyone has the same question: "What do I get for for my son/daughter/niece/nephew/neighbor/ 'the I don't know him very well but I'm still invited to this party' grad." As much as I love Oh the Places You'll Go I always caution our customers that for my very own graduation (high school, college AND grad school) I received countless copies. Even now, I think I have about six copies on my bookshelf all with heartfelt notes inside but six nonetheless. If you want to move beyond the Seuss favorite here are some great choices:
The Clever Stick by John Lechner
Our friend John Lechner was at the store this weekend signing copies of this fabulous picture book when we realized that it truly could be the perfect graduation present. All about finding your voice, journeying through life and making the best out of what you have, this picture book makes the perfect gift and an added bonus is that it's signed by the author/illustrator!
Instructions by Neil Gaiman
Easily one of my favorites, Instructions was first published as a poem in the collection A Wolf at the Door. This small format picture book depicts the journey from home, the obstacles one might face and then back as the narrator asks questions of the reader throughout. Perfect for the high school or college grads it encourages the reader to "Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story."
There by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick
This poignant and quiet picture book begins with a question we've all asked our selves and one that graduates surely ponder, "When will I get There?" With sparse text and gorgeous illustrations this book is perfect for young children who will enjoy the story of wonder and quest as well as older students who can relate to the thought provoking questions and sense of journey.
The North Star by Peter Reynolds
All about the journey through life, the questions one must ask and the decisions that have to be made, The North Star has certainly become a graduation favorite. College students leaving the world of academia and setting off on their own path will be able to relate to this very special picture book as well as high school students leaving the comfort and safety of home.
Courage by Bernard Waber
Perfect for younger children to conjure questions, Courage presents the reader with different situations from "courage is tasting vegetable without making a face" to "courage is sometimes having to say goodbye." Each scenario will help readers think about their own fears and being brave whether it's about leaving the safety of first grade or moving across the country as a new college student.