Yes, let’s be honest, most teenagers would prefer to get money or a gift card as a graduation gift, but that doesn’t feel meaningful enough for such a momentous occasion as graduating high school. Somehow, this particular event inspires us to want to inspire them, to pass along words of wisdom or great advice to help them as they take this next big step into adulthood.
While it’s still a good idea to pass along the money or gift card (because college is expensive!), why not add a personal touch for the occasion?
A book is always a heartfelt gift that someone can keep forever (or even pass along.) You can write a memorable inscription with your favorite graduation quotes, underline some of your favorite parts, or take them out to dinner to discuss it. Sure, teens may not be incredibly interested in starting their summer reading yet another book, but they will eventually appreciate it.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to help you pick out the book that will be the best fit for your high school graduate.
Graduation Gifts: 20 Of The Best Ever Books For High School Graduates
This selection of books is a mix of modern and time proven classics. Whether you’re looking for inspirational, practical or just a whole lotta fun, you’ll find the perfectly unique book to gift the graduate in your life. (These are great for College Grads too!)
Inspirational Books for High School Graduation
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. This sweet book full of beautifully simple illustrations and brief, but powerful words of wisdom and encouragement is the most perfect graduation gift for anyone on your list. It is touching, meaningful and just something that will bring comfort, inspiration and support to any young adult heading out into the world. You should buy yourself a copy at the same time, because you’ll want one to keep once you have a chance to look through it. Trust us.
The Last Lecture After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, a professor shares the lessons he’s learned—about living in the present, building a legacy, and taking full advantage of the time you have—in this life-changing classic.
Tuesday’s with Morrie – A professor and a student reconnect after 20 years and a beautiful friendship is formed. One that shows we still have much to learn even long after we leave the classroom.
Enjoy Every Sandwich – When a Medical Director of a leading research institute whose mission is to help those struggling with disease overcome their fear of pain and death, discovers he has terminal cancer, can he apply the same principles to his own life? The answer is a resounding yes! His journey will convince anyone that it is not the duration of our life that matters, but whether we can live each day we are given with purpose and meaning.
The Road to Character – New York Time’s columnist Dave Brooks looks to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders and illustrates how through internal struggle and a sense of our own limitations, we can build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.
TED Books Box Set – If you’ve heard of TED Talks, imagine a whole collection of them in book form!
Wild – Sometimes we never know exactly who we are or what we are capable of doing until we push ourselves to our limit and survive.
The Year of Yes – From the creator of “Must See TV” including Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, comes a book that challenges the very definition of success from a working mom. You can have it all, and have nothing, if you aren’t being true to yourself and embracing a life that truly challenges and fulfills you.
The Better Angles of Our Nature – “If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this — the most inspiring book I’ve ever read.” – Bill Gates. According to this book, our world is actually becoming a safer and less violent place, contrary to what most of us think and the media would have us believe. A compelling argument in favor of optimism and believing that it is still possible to make the world a better place.
Practical Books To Give As High School Graduation Gifts
What You’re Really Meant To Do – Too often, people live unfulfilled lives because they chase after the wrong kind of success. Here’s how to define what “success” means to you and then put a plan together that will get you there. This is a great book for recent grads.
The Defining Decade Drawing from more than two decades of work with thousands of clients and students, Jay weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read full of anecdotes that provides the tools necessary to take the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood—if we use the time well.
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves – and the world – for the better.
How to Cook Everything: The Basics – Hopefully, your graduate will know more than how to boil water and burn toast, but if not, this is an excellent introductory cookbook of the essential skills and recipes needed to at least have a foundation in cooking and how to feed oneself without relying on take-out.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die – Just because one becomes an adult doesn’t mean losing all sense of adventure. Life should continue to be an exploration and here are the 1,000 suggestions for that bucket list.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – There is a reason this has been a New York Times bestseller for decades. Timeless advice that applies both at work and at home, it’s a book many people read over and over again.
Your Turn: How To Be An Adult. From a former Stanford dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising and author of the perennial bestseller How to Raise an Adult. Being an adult, it turns out, is not about any particular checklist; it is, instead, a process, one you can get progressively better at over time―becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and gaining the knowhow to keep going. Once you begin to practice it, being an adult becomes the most complicated yet also the most abundantly rewarding and natural thing
The Complete Guide to Money – All the basics every graduate needs to know from everybody’s favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey. A primer in managing your own money, personal finance, and a roadmap to making wise decisions when it comes to everything from budgeting, debt, homeownership, and investments.
Funny Books To Give As High School Graduation Gifts
Adulting, How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps – Just because you don’t feel like an adult doesn’t mean you can’t act like one. From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet in your first apartment, this fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It In this expansion of her 2017 commencement speech to her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.”
The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College: This college survival guide is perfect if you are looking for 18th birthday gifts, or high school graduation gifts for him or for her. This freshman survival guide is one of the best dorm room gifts you can give to help them start college off right.
Oh, The Shit You Don’t Know Tony Carter’s newest picture book for adults is based off of Dr. Suess’s Oh! The Places You’ll Go! Funny, sharp, and full of good advice for graduates. This book also comes with several blank “Autograph” pages at the end to act as a guest book for grad parties or for use as a yearbook.*Also available in a clean version titled, Oh, The Things You Don’t Know!
Graduation Mad Libs – Just a little something fun to keep everyone entertained at the graduation party. 😉
There are at least twenty more books that could on this list, but it felt like these were truly the best of the best to gift your high school graduate. Send them off with at least a few words of wisdom or a few laughs to get them started on the right path and to help them navigate this adventure they are embarking upon.