Moving On, Moving Up: Picture Books for Graduates of All Ages

From preschool to college, this is the time of year for graduations and “moving on” ceremonies; the telltale strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” are heard across the land, and everywhere relatives and assorted friends search for the perfect graduation gift. A car? Hmm, not so much. Cash or a gift card? A little impersonal, maybe. Well, how about a children’s book?

Of course, the perennial presence of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go on the bestseller lists at this time of year is evidence that I’m not the only person to think of this, but if you want to get a little more original with your gift, you have many other options. About.com has a nice page on Children’s Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts; two of the titles on that list, Zoom and Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, are particular favorites of mine too and would make perfect presents for the graduate who could use a bit of perspective.

After some brainstorming, I thought of a few more:

Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages, By Marla Frazee
This understated, charming title purports to be a guide for babies getting ready to walk (“Is sitting there on your bottom getting boring? Has lying around all the time become completely unacceptable?”) but the advice therein—about where to look for support, what to do when you fall, and how to keep your balance—will bring a wry smile, and a bit of encouragement, to anyone embarking on an exciting and scary new endeavor.

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
Give with a card inscribed “Draw your own path!”…and a purple crayon. And maybe a pie. You could include a hungry moose, too, but I wouldn’t advise it.

Mole Music, by David McPhail
A fable about how following your passion can have world-changing—and unseen—effects. Perfect for an aspiring musician.

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
There are so many ways to make the world more beautiful. The way Alice Rumphius finds is unexpected and inspiring.

On Beyond Zebra! by Dr. Seuss.
Yes, it’s another Seuss title, but this one is a less literal riff on the “moving on” theme, and a reminder that the world, and the possibilities, don’t end with “Z”.

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