OK, let’s be honest. Most high school seniors would prefer to get money or a gift card as a graduation gift.
But cold cash 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 along in their new adventure.
So, it’s probably still a good idea to give the cash or the gift card, as it’s really the most useful. And no matter what the graduate in your life is pursuing, whether it’s college, the military, trade school, employment, gap year, or anything else, we all know that life is expensive right now.
But why not add a little dash of meaning or a side helping of tried and true advice by tucking that cash or gift card inside a memorable book for a unique graduation gift?
Or we love this idea we borrowed from a friend. Pick a book you love, then paper clip bills or gift cards to a few pages you find meaningful or something they should know.
It is a way to personalize your gift and show that you care.
Here are a few ideas to help you pick out the book that will be the best fit for your graduate (or graduates).
20 of our favorite books to gift high school
Now, raise your hand if you have now, or did at one time, have multiple copies of this book? Wow! That’s a lot of hands. 😉
It’s a great book, and it is perfect for the occasion. But this is often why EVERYBODY gets this as a gift for graduates. It’s kind of a no-brainer and who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss and all his inspirational rhymes?!
Tradition is a beautiful thing, and if you feel confident you are the only one likely to be gifting this book, then go ahead. But sometimes breaking the mold and going a new direction can be a good thing.
Not sure what to give instead? We gotcha covered!
Beyond Oh, The Places You’ll Go! – 20 Of The Best Ever Books for High School Grads
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.
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 Times 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. 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 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.
How to Cook Everything: The Basics – Hopefully, by the time one graduates, they’ve learned enough to at least boil water and make toast. Even that is debatable today when we’re slowly losing the art of cooking.
Here is an excellent introductory book 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, it 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 bestseller for decades. Timeless advice that applies both at work and at home, it’s a book many people read over and over again.
Five Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College – Don’t want to end up living with your parents after college? Here are the five mistakes to avoid making in college to save yourself years of pain and expensive life lessons.
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 know-how 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 college graduate needs to know from everybody’s favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey. A primer in managing your own money and making wise decisions when it comes to everything from budgeting, debt, homeownership, and investments.
Funny Books To Give As 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, this fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.
From sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to sharing lecture notes, The Naked Roommate is your behind-the-scenes look at EVERYTHING you need to know about college (but never knew you needed to know). This essential edition is packed with real-life advice on everything from making friends to managing stress. Hilarious, outrageous, and telling stories from students on over 100 college campuses cover the basics, and then some.
Graduation Mad Libs – Just a little something fun to keep everyone entertained at the graduation party. 😉
This heartwarming gift book for high school graduates is the perfect way to celebrate their achievements and launch them into their college experience with helpful, insightful advice for making the best of their new academic experience.
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.
Are you in the thick of raising your tweens and teens? You may like this book by Whitney Fleming, the co-owner of Parenting Teens & Tweens: Loving Hard When They’re Hard to Love: Essays about Raising Teens in Today’s Complex, Chaotic World.
Parenting teens and young adults can be hard, but these popular graduation-related posts that other parents found helpful might make it a little easier.
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