Congratulations to all 2021 graduates!! It has been graduation season for about a month now and I have loved seeing all the social media posts and pictures. From Preschool graduations to job “graduations” to high school and college graduations, there has been so much achievement and hard work that should be celebrated. 

I know a really popular graduation gift during this time is a book, specifically Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. However, I want to push as all to make the anti-racist choice to choose a different book to give to our graduates. There are SO many rocking diverse books that are absolutely perfect for graduation gifts. 

In the list below, we have listed 10 diverse picture books written by Black authors, Indigenous authors, and authors of color. Each book would give a special and empowering message to your graduate. I hope you are able to use this list to give the gift of mirrors and windows as you celebrate your loved ones and/or students. Happy Graduation from Colorful Pages!

I Am Every Good Thing, by Derrick Barnes

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

Derrick Barnes’s picture book features a Black narrator that shares everything he is and all the good that is within him. He tells the readers, “I am” hilarious, joyful, powerful, energetic, an undisputed champion, and so many other things that make him proud to be himself. The words are accompanied by vivid illustrations by Gordon C. James. 

I Am Every Good Thing would be an empowering graduation gift that can remind graduates that they are every good thing and that they are “worthy to be loved”!

All Because You Matter, by Tami Charles

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

All Because You Matter is a comforting and empowering love letter to our black and brown kiddos. The author, Tami Charles, assures the readers that they will always matter. It reminds readers that they matter despite the racism and prejudice they encounter because they are born from legends and are strong. 

All Because You Matter would be perfect to gift graduates to share that they will always matter and remind them of their strength. 

The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

The Day You Begin is a picture book about being different from others. It explores different situations where different characters feel like “the other” in places. The book shows how overcoming that feeling is so brave. 

The Day You Begin is school-based so it is great for school graduates (even though I also use it for the beginning of the year). It would be a good book to have a graduate’s educators sign as a memory keepsake. 

Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Exploration & Conversation

Yuyi Morales writes and illustrates this beautiful picture book memoir. Dreamers follows a woman and her baby as they immigrate to another country. They are met with both beauty and obstacles. At the end, Morales writes about how they became dreamers. 

Dreamers is an extremely visually-appealing book. I would highly recommend this book as a graduation present, especially if the graduate or their family can relate to the immigration theme of this book. 

I Am Enough, by Grace Byers

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation (with a little Conversation at the end)

I Am Enough is a picture book that has about a sentence every couple pages with an affirmation and ends with a discussion about worth. The affirmations from the narrator compares themself with an object or nature to share all the good things about themselves. It starts out with “Like the sun, I am here to shine.” and ends with “I am enough.”

I Am Enough would be good for graduation gifts because you could have it out at their graduation party and have their loved ones sign a page and write why the graduate embodies that affirmation. 

I Believe I Can, by Grace Byers

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

In this other picture book, Grace writes more affirmations for kiddos to love and believe in themselves. These affirmations revolve around the things the narrators can do and are. It ends with the sentence, “I know I can do anything, if only I believe I can”. 

I Believe I Can is another good graduation gift or graduation party activity! It would be a good picture book for loved ones to write their wishes or hopes and dreams for the graduate.  

You Matter, by Christian Robinson

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

Christian Robinson is a beautiful illustrator of several beloved books. And, he recently released a book that he wrote and illustrated. You Matter is a picture book that explores the world. Its message is about how everyone matters and everyone is connected. 

You Matter is another great book to remind graduates that they matter and are connected to something bigger than themselves!

Love, by Matt de la Peña

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

Love is a picture book all about love. It starts with one’s birth and the love that begins. The narrative covers the love of community members, family, siblings, grandparents, etc. The book also talks about dark times that might come up where love will shine through. 

Love is a good graduation-gift-alternative to Oh, The Places You’ll Go because it has similar melodic text with deeper messages in it. 

I Promise, by LeBron James

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

This motivating picture book shares different promises that we all should have to strive for greatness. LeBron James wrote this book that is inspired by his I Promise Foundation. 

I Promise is a powerful graduation book. I would definitely recommend it for a graduate that is continuing on to another school to remind them of the promises they can make to continue their greatness at the next school. 

What’s My Superpower?, by Aviaq Johnston

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Representation with some minor Exploration elements

What’s My Superpower is a picture book about Nalvana, a little girl who is in search of her superpower. She sees all her friends having superpowers and tells her mother about all of them. Nalvana’s mother keeps reassuring her. At the end, Nalvana’s mother shows Nalvana that her superpower has been right in front of her this whole time. 

What’s My Superpower would be a fun and cute graduation gift! You could give this gift with a note about what you think the graduate’s superpower is. 

From the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea, by Kai Cheng Thom

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

This dreamy picture book explores gender, identity, and acceptance. It is about Miu Lan and how they were born during the time between night and day so they couldn’t decide what to be. Yet, their mother loved them all the same and sang them a song, “whatever you dream of, I believe you can be”. However, when Miu Lan went to school, they got worried because everyone else was either a boy or a girl and they had a hard time finding friends. At the end, Miu Lan shows their classmates the beauty in their identity and acceptance. 

From the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea would be a great book to give graduates to remind them that “whatever you dream of, I believe you can be”. You can also pair it with a framed copy of the song that the mother sings to Miu Lan. 

Take a picture of your graduates with their diverse book gift and tag us! Like I said above, I love seeing graduation pictures ❤️

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