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Find out more about the inspiring bestseller Dream – the perfect graduation gift book

The battle is on: Seuss vs Susan

Use the Dream Illustration Slides to project all the illustrations from the book

Does your school buy a gift book for all the students in the graduating class? Get a special discount on Dream

Use the Begin and End With a Dream activity set for creative, meaningful ideas to end the school year

Check out all the LifeDreams activities

The best graduation gift of all is one that encourages hopes and dreams, and the award-winning bestseller Dream by Susan V. Bosak does just that. Get more great grad gift ideas for high school, college, and university! Dream by Susan V. Bosak is a newer graduation gift choice than Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go. Graduation Gift. Beautiful graduation gift for high school, college, and university. Great Graduation Gift. Best Graduation Gift. Graduation gift ideas. A popular graduation gift is Dream By Susan V. Bosak. Graduation Gift for university and college. Graduation Gift for college and university. Graduation Gift for university, college, and high school. Best graduation gift for high school. Graduation Gift for middle school. Graduation Gift for elementary school. Graduation Gift for students. Best Graduation Gifts. Graduation gift ideas. A graduation gift for children as a graduation keepsake and special gift. A graduation gift for teenagers. A graduation gift for graduates. Graduation gift list. High school Graduation gift ideas. Best graduation gift ideas for high school. Popular graduation gift ideas for high school. High school graduation gift options. High school graduation is a time to dream. The book Dream is the perfect gift for a high school student for a high school graduation. College graduation is a time to start reaching for dreams. Dream by Susan Bosak is an inspirational college graduation gift. The best college graduation gift. High school graduation gift. Elementary school graduation gift.

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BEST GRADUATION GIFTS 2014:
ENCOURAGE THE DREAM

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Rites of Passage
History of Graduation
Life Success
A Dream Gift
Seuss vs Susan
Grad Gift Elem/Middle
Grad Gift High School
Grad Gift University
Don't Forget

Dream

Perfect grad gift! Featured in the children's section
of bookstores


"A dazzling book
that challenges us to find a dream and follow it."
Bloomsbury Review

"A popular graduation gift, in the vein of
Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
SLJ

"A book you can pin
a dream on!... A worthy rival to Oh, the Places You'll Go! as a favorite gift book."
CM Review

"Inspirational... Beautifully produced."
Publishers Weekly

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Encourage a lifetime of hopes and dreams

Milestones are those moments in
our life when our personal star
shines a little more brightly in the sky. They mark the passage of time and our progress in the journey of life. They're a chance to enjoy the love and attention of family and friends, celebrate achievements, and look toward the future with hope.

Best Graduation Gifts

Graduation is
a key life milestone. It marks the end of one part of the journey, the completion of a course of study. Graduation is a time for the graduate to be proud that they made it! It's a time to celebrate accomplishments – both academic and personal – and hopes and dreams for the future. It marks the start of a new part of life's journey.

Millions of young people will graduate this Spring – most in May and June, and most from high school followed closely by college and university. The one thing they ALL have in common is a dream achieved: they made it to graduation.

A graduation gift is an important and special keepsake, particularly as the years pass. What's the absolute best gift you can give a graduate? Encourage the dream.

This guide from the Legacy Project offers practical ideas for meaningful, memorable gifts that encourage a graduate's hopes and dreams.

You can also find out more about the importance of
rites of passage
and the history of graduation. But let's start with a quick look at life success and why dreams and goals are so important.


Life Success

Life success lies in the dreams we have, the goals we
set and achieve, in what researchers call "planful competence."

Researchers at Florida State University looked at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a
national random sampling of 12,686 individuals who were 14 to 22 years of age in 1979. These individuals were interviewed annually until 1994, and then every two years.

The FSU research found that, "adolescents with a purposeful orientation towards life, combined with general and practical knowledge, have more ambitious career plans, more stable plans in young adulthood, and greater educational and occupational achievements by midlife."

In other words, concrete dreams and goals, and your ability to execute a plan to achieve them, play a big part in your life success.

So, that's why encouraging and supporting a graduate's dreams and goals should be a big part of any graduation gift. Every one of us needs a dream – dreams give young people direction, and give us all hope. The most precious gift anyone can receive is the support from family and friends so essential to moving forward, going after dreams, and achieving them.


A Dream Gift

The ideal graduation gift should encourage a graduate's dreams, with one eye on the past and the other on the future. In practical terms, it should have: 1) emotional value/meaning; 2) usefulness; 3) lastingness; and
4) convenience/small size (so that it can be easily transported with the young person).

Books fit the bill for the ideal graduation gift. A book is something with meaning that will last. It sits shining on a bookshelf to be picked up when comfort or inspiration is needed, or when a loving memory needs to be evoked. Children's books are particularly popular choices as a graduation gift because they are often beautifully produced and concisely capture a heartfelt message. There has to be some simple way to express the essence of the moment, and children's books can do that brilliantly.

 
Dream

Dream – the title itself is a hopeful invitation to the potential of the future! – is a meaningful, beautiful graduation gift book. Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes by Susan V. Bosak has won a remarkable 11 national awards and is illustrated by 15 top world illustrators – including two-time Caldecott Medal winners Leo and Diane Dillon and Academy Award winner Shaun Tan.

CM Review describes Dream as "a book you can pin a dream on! A worthy rival to Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go as a favorite milestone gift book." Find out more about Seuss vs Susan.

Says The Bloomsbury Review, "Dream is an elegant book that depicts the journey of life – from infancy to adulthood – highlighting all the hopes and dreams found along the way... Inspirational quotes from people such as Martin Luther King Jr, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Emily Dickinson are set alongside gorgeous illustrations by internationally acclaimed artists. Richly crafted and thoughtfully written, Dream is a dazzling project that challenges us to find a dream and follow it."

As a graduation gift, Dream is a beautiful book with a timeless message about living and dreaming. It will mean more and more to the graduate as they continue on their life journey. Each of the 15 illustrators has also hidden a star in their illustration. The book encourages readers to hunt for the stars and make a new wish with each one they find! This is a fun, whimsical way to share a moment with a graduate talking about their hopes and goals for the life ahead of them.

Dream is available in bookstores across the country.

If you're a teacher, principal, or parent at a school that has a tradition of buying a gift book for all the students in the graduating class, the Legacy Project has a special discount on Dream. Many schools also read Dream aloud during their graduation ceremony. The Dream Illustration Slides allow you to project the illustrations at the front to create a special multimedia experience for students and their families. To expand the dream theme, have students write their dreams and goals for their future on large, colorful Dream Stars. Use the stars as decorations for your graduation ceremony (parents love reading the dreams of their children – no matter what their age!). Save the stars for a future class reunion.

Here are some creative ideas for personalizing a gift of the Dream book:

 
  • Each illustration in Dream has a hidden star. Use the stars as inspiration to make a series of cut-out star wishing notes, each with a special personal thought or quotation. Bind the notes together with ribbon to create a personalized keepsake.

  • Design a personal graduation diploma to go with the institutional one. Use evocative phrases, favorite quotations, and family photos to illustrate the graduate's past achievements and future goals. As an alternative, share a short, vivid memory or story about the graduate in the center of the personal diploma. Once you create your personal diploma, have it framed.

  • Dream follows the course of a life from infancy to older adulthood. Verbally or in writing, share a personal anecdote from your own life or the graduate's growing years that illustrates something you value or a character trait you feel is important for achieving goals. What strengths or achievements – big or small – can you share? Don't forget to express how they make you feel about the graduate and the life ahead of them.

  • Since an important part of the ritual of graduation is the preparation and anticipation, send the graduate a series of cards leading up to the graduation ceremony. Each card can reflect one stage of life – infant, toddler, child, teen, and so on. Share special memories and your hopes and feelings evoked by thinking about that life stage. When graduation day arrives, present the Dream book as a way to tie together all the cards and complete the set.

  • Use the themes in Dream to inspire you to share your heartfelt feelings and thoughts about how to attain life dreams. You can share your thoughts by making a speech during a family dinner. Or write a letter on special stationery that can be read and re-read by the graduate over the years. Possible topics include: the importance of setting goals and making smart choices; balancing the fun of childhood with the responsibilities of adulthood; learning from mistakes; never giving up on a dream; finding inspiration in the world around you; creating a personal set of values to live by; never forgetting your roots; focusing on the important things in life; setting high, yet realistic expectations.

  • Create a hopes and dreams collage, with personal photographs celebrating a graduate's past achievements and images from magazines symbolizing future goals. Each page in Dream has an inspiring quotation from a historical leader, innovator, or achiever. Select some of the quotes and include them in the collage. You can even include the last definition of "dream" that appears on the title page: "Live with a sense of meaning that fills your mind, makes your feet dance, and stirs your soul to soar" (Susan V. Bosak). You can also include a quote or two that's special to you, that encapsulates values or character traits you think are important, or that you've found inspiration in through the years.

  • The story in Dream begins at the end of the rainbow with the Dream Chest, a magical portal between what is and what can be. Give the graduate a special chest or box to store their memories and keepsakes.

  • One of the illustrations in Dream shows the Club of Dreamers, famous people throughout history like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and William Shakespeare. What historical figure do you think the graduate would admire and could learn from? Perhaps someone in a field the graduate is interested in? Buy a detailed biography of that person to go with the Dream book – making the gift set a gift of "inspiration and information." We can learn a great deal about life in general and our own goals from the lives of those who have come before us.

  • The quotations on each page in Dream are intended as "echoes across time" from accomplished individuals who can serve as role models and offer wisdom and inspiration. Arrange calls, visits, or notes from people the graduate admires – a former coach or teacher, a local community leader or sports star – encouraging the graduate to reach for their dreams and affirming their ability to achieve them. Mentors and social support go a long way to attaining our dreams.


   

Today, young people graduate from college or university, high school, junior high or middle school, elementary school and even kindergarten. Dream is an appropriate gift for graduates of all ages.

One idea is to give a copy of Dream in elementary school and start a family tradition that will lead up to graduation from high school and college. At the end of each school year, work with your child to write a letter about what happened during the school year, special memories, successes, and failures. Save the letters and present them to your child upon graduation from high school or college. Or, each year have their teacher write a short note on the endpapers of Dream. When your child graduates from high school or university, they will have a keepsake full of dreams and good wishes!

There are more gift ideas below specifically for elementary/middle school, high school, and college/university. Many graduates may have big-ticket items in mind. Remember that meaningful is best, and that you also need to stick to what you can afford. Give what you can to help a graduate with what they need to achieve their goals.

To create a memorable experience around the giving of a graduation gift, share a "dream day" full of activities, like shopping, going to a sports event or the spa, and a nice dinner or lunch. The graduation gift will evoke even more memories every time the graduate looks at it.

A friendly warning: Inspired by Dream, many people have asked about naming a star for a graduate. Don't do it! It's tempting to think about buying a star, and there are plenty of companies on the Internet eager to take your money. At least half a dozen companies are offering to attach names to stars. They make the designations seem official, and mail you a fancy certificate and directions for locating the newly named point of light. Their promotional strategies range from harmlessly playful to bordering on fraudulent. It's a novelty gift and you really don't get much more than a very expensive piece of paper. Only the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has the right to officially name celestial objects. It does so for scientific purposes only and does not recognize any commercial naming systems. For more information, visit www.iau.org.


Grad Gifts for Elementary/Middle School

   
  • As described above, give the Dream book with a set of wishing notes, a hopes and dreams collage, a special Dream Chest, a book about a historical figure the graduate admires, or put the graduate's face into the Club of Dreamers. You can also add...

  • Give a computer or iPad fully loaded with appropriate software/apps.

  • Get an iPod/MP3 player and load it with dream-themed music the young graduate can use for inspiration and motivation as they continue their studies.

  • Give a good quality digital camera to capture special moments.

  • Encourage ongoing studies by giving an attractive bookshelf, desk, or study lamp.

  • Being on time is important for achieving dreams, so a good watch or clock radio is a useful gift.

  • A quality backpack, with some useful goodies inside like a change caddy, calculator, and a fancy or fun pen.

  • Start a collection by giving a set of commemorative coins from the year of the graduation. These are a keepsake and could appreciate in value.

  • Help the young graduate build toward their dream by giving a relevant gift card for a favorite store or lessons.

  • Celebrate future dreams with a custom T-shirt (or use fabric paint to make your own) that has an image or quotation related to something the graduate is interested in.


   

For more great ideas for teachers and parents to mark the end-of-school-year milestone, check out the Legacy Project's free online Begin and End With a Dream activity set.


Grad Gifts for High School

   
  • As described above, give the Dream book with a set of wishing notes, a personal graduation diploma, a personal anecdote or life advice, a series of special cards leading up to the graduation ceremony, a hopes and dreams collage, a special chest or box for keepsakes, or a book about a historical figure the graduate admires. You can also add...

  • Give a computer or iPad fully loaded with appropriate software/apps.

  • Get an iPod/MP3 player and load it with dream-themed music the graduate can use for inspiration.

  • A gift of a smartphone will help a graduate stay connected and organized. Consider paying for a one-year calling plan.

  • Give a good quality digital camera to capture special moments.

  • Giving money isn't cold and heartless – in fact, it can be quite the opposite. You remember what it was like starting out, when money was tight, don't you? A meaningful, fun gift set might consist of a sum of money accompanied with a fake $1 million bill as a wish for future riches and a financial book with practical advice on saving and investing. The money you give can be designated for a specific purpose, like recreation, travel, or tuition.

  • Start a collection by giving a set of commemorative coins from the year of the graduation. These are a keepsake and could appreciate in value.

  • Reaching for dreams also means taking care of the everyday stuff like eating. Gift cards for a graduate's favorite restaurants are an appreciated gift for those continuing on in their studies. Students usually don't have the time or skill to cook a lot. Going out can provide a much needed break and some essential nourishment. When they do stay in, a set of kitchen bowls, plates, and small kitchen appliances like a toaster are practical and thoughtful gifts.

  • You need to be well-rested to reach for big goals. To keep them cozy and comfortable, give no-iron, monogrammed sheets and towels, along with a good pillow.

  • The ordinary day-to-day challenges can sometimes make reaching dreams more difficult. Give a tool kit, with basic tools for everything from hanging a picture to doing a quick fix on an automobile.

  • At the expensive end, a new or used car will be an appreciated gift. Keep in mind the cost of upkeep and insurance though; if you're able, you may want to help out with these costs for a specified period of time.


   


Grad Gifts for College/University

   
  • As described above, give the Dream book with a set of wishing notes, a personal graduation diploma, a personal anecdote or life advice, a series of special cards leading up to the graduation ceremony, a hopes and dreams collage, a special chest or box for keepsakes, or a book about a historical figure the graduate admires. You can also add...

  • Give a computer or iPad fully loaded with appropriate software/apps.

  • Get an iPod/MP3 player and load it with dream-themed music the graduate can use for inspiration as they head into their new career.

  • A gift of a smartphone will help a graduate stay connected and organized. Consider paying for a one-year calling plan.

  • Give a good quality digital camera to capture special moments.

  • Again, giving money isn't cold and heartless – quite the opposite. Particularly as graduates work to pay off student loans, money will be tight – and appreciated. In fact, offering to pay off a portion of a student loan is a thoughtful gift. A meaningful, fun gift set might consist of a sum of money accompanied with a fake $1 million bill as a wish for future riches and a financial book with practical advice on saving and investing. The money you give can also be designated for a specific purpose, like travel.

  • In the same vein as money, buy some savings bonds or stocks. For a more symbolic gesture, give a single stock in a well-known company like Disney, DreamWorks, Nike, Coke, or McDonald's. Visit www.oneshare.com for framed stock certificates for popular companies.

  • Start a collection by giving a set of commemorative coins from the year of the graduation. These are a keepsake and could appreciate in value.

  • A package from a resume writing service is an excellent gift for the grad who will be looking for a job.

  • Furniture is a practical and lasting gift for the graduate who is moving out of mom and dad's house.

  • Framed art related to a graduate's dreams or interests can be a keepsake and inspiration, and may also appreciate in value.

  • A high-quality pen or leather briefcase are traditional gifts, but there's something about them that evokes success.

  • Staying healthy is important for attaining dreams. A one-year membership in a local fitness program may be appreciated.

  • You can create a dream kit of items related to a graduate's dream. The kit can include items that will help a graduate achieve their goal or pursue an interest. For example, if they want to learn to fly, include an aviator jacket, a book about flight, even flying lessons. If they want to travel, give a set of luggage, travel books, and perhaps airline tickets, a tour package, or a European train pass.

  • At the expensive end, a new or used car will be an appreciated gift. Keep in mind the cost of upkeep and insurance though; if you're able, you may want to help out with these costs for a specified period of time.


   


And Don't Forget...

For the graduate receiving gifts – don't forget the thank you notes! Parents, grandparents, and family friends have given thought and taken their time to give you something special and meaningful. All the gifts you receive should be promptly acknowledged with a handwritten note commenting on the gift and expressing your appreciation.

Once the milestone has passed, the graduate sets off on a new part of their journey through life. As the last page in Dream reminds us:

Look up, up, up
into those billion billion sparkling stars.
What dreams do you find?
Little dreams, big dreams,
each a hope looking for a life to make it real –
a life like yours.

   
   

© www.legacyproject.org

   

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Dream

Dream by Susan V. Bosak is featured in the children's section of bookstores across the country, including Barnes & Noble. A special discount is available for schools that purchase a gift for each student in their graduating class. Read a description of this gorgeous gift book, check out the reviews, take a peek at some of the amazing illustrations – find out more about Dream.

 
   
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