End of School Year Tradition/Graduation Gift Idea (Oh, The Places You’ll Go!)

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graduation gift idea

If you have school-aged children, check out this fun end of the school year tradition that makes a wonderful keepsake! All you need is a hardcover copy of the popular Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” available at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and at all book stores.

At the end of each school year, ask your child’s teacher/principal/school counselor/bus driver to write a short note or sentiment about your child. I started this for my Dr. Seuss loving kids in Kindergarten and my kids now get so excited to read what their teachers write each year!
End of School Year Traditions Hip2Save.com
If you want a super unique graduation gift, you could even keep this project top secret throughout the years and then gift it to your child at high school or college graduation. How incredible would that be?!

 Lina (lina@hip2save.com) loves cooking new recipes, thrift store shopping, and DIY home decor projects. 
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Comments 71

  1. Gerta

    What a fun clever idea! Love this Lina!!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks Gerta!!

  2. Deeanna

    I do this with all three of my kids! It started with Preschool teachers!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea!! πŸ˜€

  3. Amy

    I used to read this book to my little sister every single day when she was a kid. I’ve always planned to give it to her when she graduates high school, which is this year. πŸ™‚

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Awesome! It is a fantastic book. – Thanks Amy

  4. Jackie

    We do this also. I was going to keep it a secret from them but with 3 kids it’s very hard to do so. My oldest is going to 7th grade and we have done this since kindergarten. We ❀️the books and all the fun, unique, special writing that they all now have.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      So fun! We love it too—My kids actually remind me to get their book signed! Lol πŸ˜€

  5. Danielle

    Well I started this for my girl. Was going fine for pre school, kindergarten and 1st grade. All teachers signed happily and write a wonderful note. But then 2nd grade hit, worst year of our lives, she had a jerk of a teacher, literally a “real winner” and he said that’s not in his job description to sign or do any extras like this. So sad.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope 3rd is better for her πŸ™

    • Melissa

      That’s awful! If you can ask her gym or music or media teacher to write something in it…those teachers have a great impact as well!!

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Great idea!

    • Heather


    • Laura

      Those are the teachers that are in it for the money ( our district pays very good) so we get a few bad apples too. It just irritates me to no end. They have no idea how they are effecting the children. My son is graduating high school this year and still remembers all of his horrible teachers and how they effected him.

    • Tracy

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. Maybe ask the school librarian or another teacher.

    • Joan T

      You should report this teacher to the school principal or write a letter to the superintendent!!!! That’s just terrible.

      • Danielle

        Unfortunately, we were in the principle’s office several times with him. They made excuses for him. That was the only year my girl brought home D’s and F’s on class work but somehow managed to pass by with C’s or above on report cards. She’s in 3rd grade this year with a wonderful teacher again. I didn’t know at the time I could have more force as a parent and get a different teacher (I was later advised).

        • Just Me

          Lesson learned. Go to the school board meeting and complain there next time

  6. Melissa

    As a teacher myself I started this with my 4 kids years ago…my oldest is in 6th grade 😊. All of the teachers from Early Childhood on have loved leaving great message!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That’s wonderful Melissa! πŸ˜€

  7. Amy M

    I am doing this for both my kids. I’ve decided to give to my son for his 8th grade graduation gift this month. He has no idea I’ve been secretly asking his teachers to write a note for him each year in this book. The teachers do a great job writing the best notes.πŸ˜€

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That is the sweetest!! Good job Mom πŸ˜€

  8. Jen

    I do this with my twins, the teachers love the idea. Im keeping it secret until they graduate from high school.

  9. Greta

    we started this for our boys 4 years ago! such a fun gift idea πŸ™‚

  10. Mike Greenberg

    Fabulous book!!!!!!!!

  11. Lizzie

    I bought the book 2 weeks ago at B&N thinking I’d do this same thing for my kindergartner.

  12. Sarah C

    I’ve been doing these for both my girls. Don’t forget other influential people in their lives–coaches, dance teachers ect…kinda neat to see the comments from the same person over the years ☺️

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      So true! Great idea- I’m going to do that as well πŸ˜€

  13. Carrie

    We’ve been doing this since my oldest started school (she’s now in sixth grade). My other girls are in kindergarten and third grade. We had originally planned to save it for high school graduation, but I think we may end up giving it to each girl as they finished middle school because we are running out of room for teachers to write in the books…lol. Their messages are so kind!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      How great Carrie! πŸ˜€

    • Joan T

      I’m doing this for my kids too BUT instead of writing in the book I’m actually having them write on a separate piece of paper to tape in the book.

  14. Rae

    Thank you for the wonderful idea.

  15. Carmen

    Opinions please — I started this last year with my daughter and her preschool teachers. My intentions were to wait until graduation to give it to her and let her read through everything. The more I think about this though I’m wondering if she will remember her teachers from earlier on. Would it mean more to her to read the comments at the moment instead of waiting until graduation?

    • Joan T

      You should wait until graduation. It will be such a fun and memorable surprise.

      • Carmen

        Thanks so much for your opinion!

    • Melissa

      After the books come back from the teachers my kids love to read through the new comments and the comments from previous years. They have a great time talking with the family about what they did and how fun it was in the grades past. I have never tried to keep the book a surprise, life is unpredictable we wanted our kids to enjoy the book as they journeyed through their school years πŸ™‚

      • Carmen

        “Life is unpredictable.” So true! Thank you for that reminder. So obvious yet we sometimes still take life for granted. I’ll be sharing with both my kiddos as their teachers sign them. My son will just be starting his as he’s graduating from preschool this year.

    • Rae

      I remember every teacher even my preschool teacher and I am in my mid 30s… A family member remembers all their teacher’s and they are in their 60s. I think they will remember their teachers at least the one’s who are so thoughtful to write something special about your children. Whatever you choose to do it will be a special gift to give them no matter what. πŸ™‚

    • Jessica

      I’ve been taking pictures of my daughter with her teachers every year so that I can tape them to the book.

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Oh genius idea! So cute – Thanks Jessica

  16. Heather C

    As a family, we always give this book- what a fantastic idea to have it signed by all, THANKS! PS- saw a great price on these at Sam’s Club

    • Josi Beck

      Do you know what the price was at Sam’s? I need to buy 15 for our preschool class. Last year at this time they went really low on Amazon..around $3 a book for hardcover! Haven’t had that luck this year!

  17. apple

    how do u do this? is this the book or journal?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      There’s a few blank pages in the front and back of book.

  18. Dana

    I have given this book as a graduation gift multiple times but never thought of it as a “memory’ piece. Will share your wonderful idea with friends who have younger children

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks so much Dana!

  19. Just Me

    I’m doing this for a teacher. Our immersion school teachers only get a 3 year rotation at least in our state. She taught my son and now my daughter

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)


  20. Luv 🌺

    I have a couple of relatives graduating this month; one from high school and the other college. Would this book still be appropriate for them. I’m thinking of having some relatives write something in it ahead of time before giving it to them. What do you all think? Suggestions?
    God bless you. 🌺

    • Anne

      Yes, it will still work with relatives or other loved ones writing their congrats. The sentiment is great for both high school and college graduation. Just make sure the book is not a duplicate gift πŸ™‚

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That is a wonderful idea!

    • Just Me

      Yes! I remember it was sold at my college bookstore. My sister got me spongebob graduates ( not the exact title) and I loved it! I should dig it out and read it

  21. Haseena

    Such a wonderful idea. Thank you! I have a question, how is everyone asking the teachers to write in the book for their child? Do you personally take it to the teacher? Do you email the teacher and send the book with your child in their book bag? TIA

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I usually just email and and send the book with my child. You could actually send them this link in the email to clarify your request –Make sure you write your kid’s name inside. πŸ˜€
      If you’re planning on keeping it a surprise it may require a little more advanced planning on your part. Thanks Haseena!

    • mandy

      I have been doing this for my children since preschool. I wrote a generic note “To my child’s teacher” and I keep it in the front of the book. Each year, I give the book to the teacher discreetly and tell them they will know what to do when they see it. (I am keeping my books secret right now.) Another thought…I try to give teachers two or three weeks to do this. The end of the year is crazy for most school staff, and I want to give them the time to write something thoughtful. I have always gotten a positive response.

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Great idea! Yes agree with giving them time. πŸ˜€ thanks Mandy!

  22. Vicki

    Our valedictorian read this book at our graduation ceremony, YEARS ago. I purchased it as a graduation gift for my daughter, who is graduating on June 10th.

  23. Kate

    Just FYI Barnes and Noble sells an exclusive copy with extra pages in the front and back for signatures and a few other things.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh cool!

  24. Anonymous

    I saw this idea on Pinterest a couple months ago and thought it was a great idea. We are in a small town, so even though my daughter graduates in less than 2 weeks, I emailed all of her past teachers, coaches, principals, etc and asked them to pass the book among themselves though out the school and not let her see it. I also facebooked the teachers that live out of our area now and called the ones who still live in town or local enough to meet up with them and took it by to them. She will end up with messages from all but three our of area teachers that didn’t get back with me. They all were delighted to be asked to come up with a memory for her or wish her well in the future.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      How sweet! What an awesome gift.

  25. Laura

    I did this when my son started school in preschool. The teachers all agreed that it was a very cool idea for a graduation gift for when he is older! Love this idea!!

  26. A Gibson

    I saw this on Pinterest a few years ago and have done this with all 3 of my children the past few years. When I started 2 of mine had already been in school but their previous teacher was still able to sign the book. We lost our home and everything 11 months ago and although the struggle is so hard and we are barely hanging on thankfully these books were in a very sturdy solid wood desk and I had just put them in there the night before the fire because it was 2 days after school let out the fire happened and the front of the desk did get sinched but the books are OK and I am so grateful for that because these things are truly the things that mean the most to me and my children’s memories mean more to me than anything money could ever buy. This will mean a lot to them when they are older and it already means so much to me.

    • Emily

      I lost everything last february in a fire, don’t worry it gets better! So lucky that the books survived!

      • A Gibson

        I have been positive through it from the beginning. It is hard to be so positive at the moment. It is complicated but it is just me and my husband and 3 children without family for support or anything like that. On top of it the seller breached contract and we were actually given a free home a few weeks after the fire to move and the seller we have a purchase agreement through basically took advantage of us and our situation and we intended on moving the home back to the property we were already purchasing from him with the home on it and he months after changed things up and with it only being us and I have always been able to help myself and educate myself etc. I found out at the end of the year the seller breached the contract and recently found an attorney to take the case on contingency but things seem to be getting worse. Men cannot deal with things the way us women and mothers can and my husband has basically avoided the situation and is now more than ever and has been gone for 5 days with no word. He does work and I know it is hard for him also but he will not express emotions and never has and it is truly hard not even having my husband there for me to be emotionally supportive on top of not having any one else. My family is all about themselves and my dad is an alcoholic and I have basically been a parent to him since I was child and have been married since I was 15 (20) years now and never needed or wanted help and have always been able to find a way through anything and always there to help anyone else. This situation is the hardest thing I have ever had to endure and a year going non stop and now beginning the grieving process is difficult the way things are. And I am so sorry I am going on and on. I really wanted to just say thank you for the kind words and people do not realize how much just hearing someone say the smallest things can help you and I know this and I do appreciate your kind words.

        • katttro

          I can not even imagine going throigh what you are going through. I will have you in my prayers tonight, hoping that things get better.

  27. Mbro

    Another idea I saw on Pinterest was you have a tshirt made with the wording graduate of 20xx in say an XL. take a pic of your child each year in the tshirt till they graduate. Love this idea.

  28. Marsha

    O did this for my daughter and she live it.

  29. Marvymia

    A Gibson–You are a warrior to have endured what you have endured, to have been an adult and managing successfully with little to no support from such a young age, and to still be up standing and loving your children and pushing forward is truly remarkable. Hoping and praying that things will get so much better for you and your family very soon!! Try to find other loving, helpful supports from friends or community if at all possible. This seems like too much to shoulder all on your own. Loving and peaceful thoughts being sent your way right now!

    Regarding the book: First of all, I applaud all of you that continue this tradition year after year. It sounds like something I would love to do but could never get it together to do, for each kid, from year to year! Secondly, I love it as a graduation gift but always worry that they may already have it or will receive duplicate copies, so I’m hesitant to give it. Anyone have any other book and/or other suggestions in general for graduations besides the obvious of money/gift cards (which does tend to work for most graduates)?

  30. Linette

    Only 10.00 on amazon right now. Best price I have seen.

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