With graduation time upon many families, rather from kindergarten, elementary, high school or beyond, here are some excellent books to help celebrate with some guidance into the next phase of life. The first five books are non-fiction and the last two are picture books. All are good for all ages unless otherwise indicated.

A Year of Good News: 52 Good-News Stories from Around the World, by Martin Smatana, is an extraordinary book rich with true stories of people helping to make the world a happier place. Here are just a few of these inspiring, brief stories: British students collected plane ticket money so their Jamaican caretaker could visit his native country. Firefighters in Utah let a young girl who was frightened after being in a car crash, paint their fingernails. Hundreds of Canadian students gathered outside an elderly woman’s home before she left for a retirement home. She had waved daily to these students on their way to school. On one side is the brief story with only one or two sentences. On the opposite page is a richly colored illustration made with intricate artistic mosaics.

Kindness is my Hobby: How to Change the World Right Where You Are, by Ruby Kate Chitsey, is an uplifting guidebook for kids of all ages to help senior living facilities become a happier place. Ruby Kate became friends with an elderly woman when she was ten and it changed her life perception and life goal. Her Three Wishes Foundation is now helping senior care center across the States. You will find also find in this book how easy it is to start helping in your own community. There are even a few favorite recipes from her senior friends found at the back. This book has over 100 pages.

Smart: Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain, by Amy E. Herman with Heather Maclean, is an interactive book that guides kids, (young and old), on how to fully utilize our brains to think critically, advance awareness, and describe what you see. Who couldn’t use this type of help? This book has over 171 pages with photos and drawings to enhance the brain and advance the information. This is a must for all families!

What About Philosophy: An Illustrated Q&A Book for Kids, Gwenaelle Boulet and Anne-Sophie Chilard and cleverly illustrated comedic cartoon-like pictures by Pascal Lemaitre, is truly an innovative way to help kids navigate through life. This book explores feelings youngsters feel but may not understand. Some of the chapters include Is It Bad to Make a Mistake?, What Does it Mean to Be Brave?, and Do We Always Have to Be Kind? This book is part of an excellent series.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers, by Jess Harriton, Maithy Vu and Bindi Irwin, highlights each young woman with a brief summary of her achievements on one side of the open page and on the other is a rendering picture of her. Some of these outstanding women include Laura Dekker from New Zealand and the Netherlands. She built her first boat at the age of six and sailed solo around the world at fourteen. These women are from many parts of the world and will inspire all who read this easy-to-read book.

Be the Bus: The Lost & Profound Wisdom of The Pigeon, by Mo Willems, is a smallish size book featuring the famous pigeon. However, the humor found throughout is geared for older kids and adults. There is much tongue-in-cheek humor here. If I could change One thing about myself, I’d be perfect. The art is bright and typical of Willems’ comical pigeon displays.

Little Lessons, by Seymour Chwast, is a tiny book rich with wonderful and useful proverbs. Some of these are: You can’t eat your cake and have it too. A bad carpenter blames his tools. The pen is mightier than the sword. And here is my favorite one: Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. The bright illustrations were done in pen and ink on paper. Don’t miss the brilliant afterward, by Wolfgang Mieder, found in the back. It is a fabulous explanation of where proverbs originated.