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It’s graduation time from preschool and kindergarten to high school and college! Here are some outstanding books filled with advice, imagination and creativity to help encourage and bring out the best as these various graduates transition to their next phase of life.


Keep Curious and Carry a Banana (Wisdom from the World of Curious George), written by Justin Martin and Liza Charlseworth, which was inspired by the words of Margret Rey, and colorfully illustrated by H. A. Rey, Justin Martin and Liza Charlseworth, showcases wisdom with the playful antics of the cute little monkey. Under the helpful words of advice, “It’s a zoo out there. So keep your sense of humor”, Curious George is atop a tree smiling and holding a balloon while being surrounded by zoo animals. Another page has many pigs and piglets being let out of their pen by this monkey. The caption reads, “Unlock the potential in others.” There’s some great advice in this small book. It will also bring a smile to the receiver.

I Want to be an Astronaut, by Ruby Brown, and brightly illustrated by Alisa Coburn, is a small board book that encourages youngsters about the many possibilities of what they can become when they grow up. Some of these occupations are archaeologist, fighter pilot and deep-sea diver. There are so many possibilities, why not begin exploring them while your child is young?

The Thank You Book, by Mo Willems, is celebrating the importance of thanking those around you. This book is actually the end of the “Elephant & Piggie” books. So Piggie is setting out to thank everyone that has been in this series. There’s a surprise at the end that readers will enjoy. But more than that – it’s a nice way to remind your graduate to always be considerate and kind to others in order to have a happy, successful life.

Peanuts: Do Your Happy Dance! Celebrate Wonderful You, by Charles M. Schulz, and adapted by Elizabeth Dennis Barton, and illustrated in the Peanuts tradition by Scott Jeralds, is a sharp little board book rich with life advice helpful to all. Whether you kick the football or not (like Charlie Brown) or hope your doghouse will fly (like Snoopy) – keep trying. Don’t let others dictate what you can or can’t do. Don’t let others get to you if they call you a “blockhead”. This is an inspiring little book!


Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still, by Karlin Gray, and illustrated with Ecoline and Colorex ink and colored pencils on Keaykolour paper by Christine Davenier, demonstrates how a young girl from a communist country could conquer the 1976 Summer Olympics to become the first gymnast to receive a perfect score and go on to win the gold medal. This picture book also shows how she failed to land on the balance beam several times but how this didn’t stop her. It shows how hard she worked to become better. This is a perfect book to show how to never give up on yourself! 

Noah Webster & His Words, by Jeri Chase Ferris, and illustrated with ink, watercolor and graphite by Vincent X. Kirsch, is a biography about this great man and how he came to write one of the most important books back when America was young. Biographies are a great source of inspiration for young graduates. It shows how hard work and perseverance pays off. In this simple version of his life, Webster had to work for many years and cross the Atlantic in order to find the meanings and origins of many words. Back in the late 1700’s, Americans spelled words in many different ways and Webster felt this was one way to help unite the country.

Imagine a World, by Rob Gonsalves, is rich with imagination. How beautiful and amazing life is when we use our imaginations and soar to places unfathomable. Just opening to each double-page painting will open your mind and imagination. Each painting has the beginning line: “imagine a world…” followed by a simple phrase befitting the spectacular picture. The first painting has a scene of orange/brown leaves falling from trees. A boy is throwing the leaves in the air and you see these leaves becoming the same color of butterflies. Each scene will make you ponder and study what is before you and chances are you’ll go back and look again and again.

Fill-me-in (Write, Draw, and Color with the World of Moose), by Moose Allain, is filled with drawings that beg to be filled in, colored or completed. This imaginative and creative book will likely spark individual ingenuity. One double-page spread has several different dwellings with large bubbles above. The directions ask for you to fill in the bubbles with possible dreams of the people inside. Another open-page spread asks for you to draw a detailed map filled with cities, mountains, rivers and more.

Wise Words to Color (Inspiration to Live and Color By), drawn by Zoe Ingram, is actually a coloring book. But this isn’t just any coloring book. The intricate backdrop and words of advice on each open-page is to be relished and enjoyed through your own colors of choice as you fill in the pages. Chances are you’ll want to frame some of these wise words because they are so pertinent to a successful and happy life.

The Book of What If…? (Questions and Activities for Curious Minds), by Matt Murrie and Andrew R. McHugh, encourages curiosity and explores many possibilities to solve problems or situations. Once the question is addressed in a certain subject, it delves deeper into activities and solutions. For instance, in the chapter “What if Humans Had Never Landed on the Moon?” discusses all of the inventions and all that we learned about space from the moon landing effort. The activity part asks for you to gather a few friends and discuss where or if we should continue to explore space. There is also a diagram of the components of a rocket. However, since this is written by a nonmember of the church, there is a bit of a non-Christian slant to a few of the questions. Nevertheless, there are many great questions to help get the mind working and wondering.