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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

Great Gifts for Graduates

Graduation season is upon us and we've picked out our favorite books and gifts for the new graduate, moving up and on in the world.

1. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith

The perfect gift for teens and adults, alike. This book provides tons of creative inspiration for observing and experiencing the world around us. Full of interactive activities and prompts such as collecting found objects based on how they reflect light, sketching all the things you use and take for granted in your daily routine, or observing the sounds or colors around you.

2. Instructions by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess

The instructions that guide a traveler through a fantastical land also resonate with anyone about to take a journey into the unknown. Grown-up book lovers will love that the same steps that guide us through fairy tales can also help guide us through life.

3. Jon Klassen Congrulations Card

What is not to love about this card? A crab has triumphantly made it to the top of the rock, with the simple text, "You Did It." Art by Caldecott-winning artist Jon Klassen of I Want My Hat Back fame. And this card is conveniently the perfect size to hold a check for the graduate. *wink wink*

4. The Journal of Awesome

This journal is filled of cheerful and inspriring writing prompts, reminders and observations for recording the simple joys that make life AWESOME.

5. Wild Thing Mug

"And it was still hot." Remind your own Wild Thing that you'll always be there whenever they return from their adventures. In the meantime, here's an adorable mug to keep their drinks hot.

6. Library Card Tote Bag

Ideal for the book lover, this canvas tote bag sports the image of an old-school library card. Perfect for toting their books off into their next adventure. Bonus: Every purchase of this tote bag donates one book to a community in need.

I love giving the gift of picture books, even to adults, because they always manage to say what needs to be said the best, the most beautifully and, quite frankly, the most succinctly. In addition to the old graduation stand-by, Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss, here are a few of my other graduation picture book gift ideas.

Courage by Bernard Waber

I love this little book that lists all the kinds of courage you encounter every day. "Courage is arriving much too early for a birthday party." "Courage is a spelling bee and your word is superciliousness." or "Courage is the juicy secret you promised never to tell." Perfect for the brave new graduate.

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds

A celebration of creative spirit, collaboration, and thinking - both figuratively and literally - out of the box.

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthanl, illustrated by Jane Dyer

All of the best and most important lessons in life can be told with cookies. "Respect means offering the very first cookie to your grandmother" or "Modest means you don't run around telling everyone you made the best cookies, even if you know it to be true."

There by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Told exclusively in questions that perfectly capture the uncertainty and determination of setting out on your own.

Cherish Today: A Celebration of Life's Moments by Kristina Evans, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Bryan Collier teams up with his wife to create this perfect graduation book. A celebration of life and diversity, acknowledging hardships along the way and cherishing the triumphs and successes that make up life's journey.

We have lots more suggestions for books and gifts for graduates here. What are you favorites?



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