I’ve done the whole ‘graduating thing’ (thank you high school and college) and after being in “The Real World” for a year, a few people have asked if there are any books I’d recommend as gifts for high school/college graduates.

These 16 books for graduates vary on topics: change, dreaming, being brave and vulnerable, finding community, fighting for grace, the list goes on and on. Some will make your graduate think real hard, some will have her laughing out loud, and some are a bit sassy.

No one gave me any of these books when I graduated high school or college.

But I wish they had.

These books have shaped and changed me in drastic ways and I highly recommend each one. Grab a book for a high school or college girl in your life, or order several to keep on hand for your small group or bible study. (Please note: This list is compiled with girls in mind.)

Saving this for later... so helpful next time I try to find a book for a graduate

Books for Graduates:

 

Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life’s TransitionsGirl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life's Transitions :: Change is not something to be feared… it’s something to be received as a blessing. But walking through life’s transitions – especially transitions we didn’t choose or weren’t prepared for – is difficult. This book will be a kind companion for the girl worried about leaving home, embracing the new, or starting over.

 

Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith :: Oh, why didn’t I have this book before I graduated college?! We’ve all got questions and we need a safe place to raise our doubts and admit our wonderings. Out of Sorts is a guide and a friend that encourages readers to run toward answers, not just away from questions, while being at peace with unknowns. This is for anyone who has questions and doubts and wonderings.

 

Restless: Because You Were Made for MoreRestless: Because You Were Made for More :: I read this book halfway through my third year of college and it was eye-opening… what if we’re restless inside because our gifts, passions, places, relationships, and dreams are anything but random? What if they all weave together into how we’re to give back to the world? What if there’s purpose in it all? Restless is for the girl who wants to see how the threads of her life and her story fits into the greater story of God.

 

Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have :: I’ve shoved this book into the hands of countless friends and I even walked through each chapter with my bible study. I can’t think of one single high school or college girl who *doesn’t* need this book! Brave can look like one thousand different things, but we’re always braver together. This is perfect for encouragement and honest writing about what bravery looks like in both the big and the small choices.

 

You're Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for YouYou’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You :: We all have dreams inside but it can be hard to voice them (or figure out just what they are!). Especially when you’re a soon-to-be-graduate, there are so many options and unknowns. It can be difficult to know what door to walk through. This is for the girl who is discovering the gifts God has given her so that she can dare to pursue them.

 

Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose.Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. :: The tagline says it all, and the book totally lives up to its tagline. If you know a graduate who will thrive on practical advice, kind encouragement, and words that push her to let go of fear and embrace life… grab this book! It’s for the girl who might be a little bit scared but wants to live on purpose instead of by accident.

 

Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in BetweenEven If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between :: We’re all in an in between, but high school and college soon-to-be-graduates are definitely in a middle place. In the midst of transition and unknowns, this is an invitation to let go of trying to figure out the ending to the story and instead lean into the faithfulness of God. Even If Not is for the girl who needs to know that God holds her secure and is with her on every page of the story, no matter what tomorrow may bring.

 

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday LifeCold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life :: This book is about living with eyes wide-open, aware and watching for the ways God is always at work in our ordinary lives. The stories from Shauna’s life are encouraging and challenging, funny and thought-provoking. Basically, it’s a great, easy read that will stick with her after she turns the final page. This book is for learning how to celebrate the extraordinary of everyday life and find God always at work around you.

 

Saving this for later... so helpful next time I try to find a book for a graduate

 

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard WayBittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way :: The perfect follow-up to Cold Tangerines, this book (also by Shuana) looks at the other side of the same coin. It’s about finding hope in the broken places, light in the darkness, and learning that even the most bitter things can be sweet, too. This book is for the girl who might be struggling but is determined to find the good in the hard, the girl who wants to believe that even change can be a gift.

 

A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made to LiveA Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made to Live :: Until reading this book, I was pretty certain that artists looked like people holding a paintbrush or maybe a camera. I read this book halfway through college and it helped me reimagine what art could look like and what ‘artist’ really means. It’s for the girl wondering if what she does matters, and for the artist in her, whether she paints, writes, or doodles in the margins.

 

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and LeadDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead :: Vulnerability can feel like weakness. And when you’re starting over and don’t know a soul, it can be difficult (or scary!) to be vulnerable in new relationships. Daring Greatly helps readers see that choosing to be vulnerable is actually an act of courage. This book is for the one girl has been wounded by relationships (haven’t we all?) yet is still hopeful and looking for community.

 

Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving WorldSimply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World :: College is a crazy (and also beautiful), hectic time. Life after college doesn’t really slow down, either. Our culture doesn’t want to be small — we want bigger and faster. But oh man, this book. It was a relief entering my senior year. This book is for the girl looking for a permission slip to slow down, enjoy her smallness, and see that Christ is with her in every moment.

 

Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for ApprovalLove Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval :: We all want to be known and loved… and when you begin a new chapter of your life, it’s totally normal to want the new people around you to appreciate and love you. But approval? It’s a tricky, slippery slope. Ultimately, we are to look to God for love. This one is for anyone who has found that love has become an idol, and for the ones who need to remember they don’t need man’s approval because they already have God’s love.

 

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible StandardsFor the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards :: This one is more than a bit sassy, but it is a fantastic read — one that graduates will surely relate to. With humor and grace, Jen writes about life’s biggest challenge — people — and how we should love them well. This book is for the girl who will enjoy a good laugh while being challenged to approach relationships and cultural issues with grace.

 

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are :: Two weeks ago I was asked what book has shaped my life the most — besides the Bible. Without hesitation, I answered “One Thousand Gifts.” These words taught me to find joy, contentment, and gratitude in the midst of the mundane. There’s a reason it has sold over 1 million copies! This book is truly for every girl every where, a book that provides a glimpse of grace that will take her breath away.

 

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian CommunityLife Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community :: A little bit different than the books listed above, Life Together was required reading in one of my college classes. And yet I keep coming back to it years later! It’s easy to read but full of deep and thoughtful ideas, a call to live life in community — even if you’re far from home. This book is for anyone wondering what community looks like and how to live in Christian community together.

P.s. if you’ve made it to the end of this post, I’m pretty confident these links will be super useful to you!

1. 25 College Dorm Room Must-Haves (A Gift-Giving Guide for College and High School) {this is my all-time favorite gift. ever.}

this list seriously has the best ideas.

2. 12 Can’t-Miss Books Coming in 2016

12 can't-miss books coming in 2016

3. Sarah Bessey has a wonderful list of books recommended for grads and I think you’ll find several (different) books over there that would be great idea/fit for the graduates in your life!

4. 8 Things To Remember During Finals Week (maybe share this with a soon-to-be grad?)

8 Things To Remember During Finals Week

affiliate links used in this post