It’s that time of year when kids graduate from pre-school, elementary, junior high, high school and possibly college. Here are some great books to give to your graduate that can help inspire and navigate them to greater achievements as they look toward their future. These books are good for all ages, unless otherwise noted.
Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea and Air, by Stewart Ross, and illustrated by innovative Stephen Biesty, is a marvelous account documenting, in chronological order, the travels and accomplishments of 14 explorers. These include Leif Eriksson in 1003 A. D., Mark Kingsley in 1895 and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969. These explorers stepped out into the unknown to discover new parts of earth and space. There are amazing fold-outs to learn about in each chapter, as well as maps and colored pencil detail that invite readers in and keeps them engaged throughout this incredible book! Even the book cover opens into a detailed map of exploration.
Not Your Parents’ Money Book: Making, Saving and Spending Your Own Money, by Jean Chatzky, is a powerfully informative book that helps kids understand the value of earning and saving money. The book is organized in a kid-friendly fashion to make it engaging while teaching the importance of managing money.
No Problem! An Easy Guide to Getting What You Want, by Ken Watanabe, and illustrated by Elwood H. Smith, is a problem solving book that helps kids initiate a solution by following simple steps after discerning they are up against a difficult situation and need to make a decision. These problem solving tools include understanding the problem, figuring out the cause of the problem and coming up with a solution that will work.
A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature, by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano, is more than just a list of recommended books by these editors of “The Horn Book Magazine”. It gives informative opinions from readers who love books for kids. I especially like the way each section is divided: “Reading to Them”, “Reading With Them” and “Reading on Their Own”. However, the last section, “Leaving Them Alone”, should be disregarded as it’s for teens and for the most part these books are inappropriate, so I say just that: leave them alone!
Rule the World: 119 Shortcuts to Total World Domination, by the editors of Klutz, is a tongue-in-cheek book that advises all on how to live up to your potential. Here are a few chapters in this hilarious spoof: “Delegate Everything”, “Wing It”, and Have a Trustworthy Handshake”.
Tales of Famous Heroes, by Peter and Connie Roop, and illustrated by Rebecca Zomchek, covers over 15 famous people who helped change history. Some of these people include Paul Revere, Sacagawea, Nelson Mandela and Jane Goodall. Each hero is easily discernable from the highlighted starred label next to their name; for example, above Sacagawea’s name is the label: Native American guide.
A Value Tales Treasury: Stories for Growing Good People, by Spencer Johnson, M. D., is a motivational book about five great people and their stories briefly told about how they became great. The book is geared for “younger” children, ages 5 to 10, by introducing five important characteristics, followed by a famous person. The five traits are: believing in yourself, helping others, being honest, determination and having humor. The illustrations, by Dan Andreasen, are done in oil.
The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True, by Gerald Morris, and illustrations sprinkled throughout by Aaron Renier, is a chapter book geared for ages 7 to 9 that is a delight to read. Furthermore, this book teaches the importance of being courteous. This is one book in a series, and if you’ve not read any of Morris’s other books, you’re missing out!
Bill Peet: An Autobiography is the story of this famous children’s author / illustrator told through his own eyes. With his notable black and white illustrations on every page, he looks back at his childhood and livelihood as an artist and brings out the difficulties encountered along the way demonstrating that life has its challenges and its rewards.
Hope is an Open Heart, by Lauren Thompson, is a photo gallery rich with children next to the beauty of the land. Each page extends a hopeful message like “Hope is daring to do something you’ve never done before” and “Hope is knowing that you are loved. Hope is knowing that you love others”.
Giant Steps to Change the World, by Spike & Tonya Lewis Lee, and illustrated by Sean Qualls, is an encouraging picture book full of intrepid and encouraging counsel to be all that you can become. I especially like the endpapers that are full of rich motivational quotes from the likes of Jesse Owens and Albert Einstein. The illustrations extol hues of blues and purples.
Mary’s Penny, by Tanya Landman, and illustrated by Richard Holland, is a picture book that showcases the rewards of being inventive and clever. A farmer decides that he will reward one of his two sons the ownership of the farm when either can figure out how to fill the whole house with something that costs a penny. But it’s the witty daughter who comes up with the solution. The delightful illustrations are done in mixed media.