When our oldest was starting preschool, I wanted to start some sort of tradition to document my kids’ progress and relationships with teachers through the years. I heard about a really fun end of the school year tradition with a kids school memory book that I decided to replicate. It’s been such a beautiful kids keepsake book tradition for us – here’s how it works!
How Our End of Year Kids Memory Books Work
I first heard about a tradition to take a copy of a picture book and have every one of your child’s teachers sign it at the end of each school year as an end-of-year memory book. Each child would have their own copy of the book and would have each teacher and coach through the years sign a quick note either in the endpapers or simply on some blank space in the middle of the book.
Then when your child graduates from high school, you could present it to them for a sweet graduation gift from a parent. I loved this idea of recording thoughts about my child from other meaningful adults throughout the years! An end-of-year memory book is a perfect meaningful graduation gift.
Over the years, it’s been so delightful to see the messages that my kids’ teachers have written to them. It’s fun to see both how they’ve evolved and grown through the years, as well as how much their strengths have remained the same and were apparent even at young ages.
One note – I always try to send in our books early – even a month or two before school ends! Teachers do so much and there is always SOOO much going on the last week of school, so I definitely recommend trying to request early if possible, and support teachers in any other way you’re able.
Which Picture Book for A Kids End of Year Keepsake Book
When I first heard about this tradition, it was using the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I immediately purchased 3 copies of the book for my then-three children so I’d be all set for their teachers to sign during their last days of school each year.
For several years, I had their teachers and other special adults sign their school memory books. We had baseball coaches, church leaders, and more sign each of my children’s keepsake book. It was so special and I loved reading those little notes at the end of each school year.
Problems with Dr. Seuss
Fast forward a few years and I started learning more about the racism prevalent in Dr. Seuss’s work. As a family, we decided that we didn’t want his books in our home anymore. I knew they could be teaching tools when I wanted them to be, but I didn’t want them out for consumption without further discussion with my children. So we decided to remove them from our bookshelves. (Here are 10 ideas for what to do with your Dr. Seuss books, as well as some Alternatives to Dr. Seuss Day).
But we still had these special copies filled with our end of the year memories, and I wasn’t sure what to do about them. I knew I didn’t want to lose those special teacher memory notes, but I also didn’t want present that specific book to my kids with all those special notes.
Choosing Alternative Books to Dr. Seuss Keepsake Book
I decided that I’d figure out some other special books to use instead as an end-of-year memory book going forward. I also had to figure out a way to remove the old keepsake teacher notes and transfer them over. I decided to give each child their own special book to use as their memory book instead of giving them all the same one. I loved that they each had a unique book for their own unique end of the school year memories!
When the new books came, I took a deep breath and went for removing the endpapers. To my surprise, they actually came off fairly easily. I was able to pull off the corners and gently peel back the whole endpaper for the most part. I also cut out the notes written on other pages.
Once I’d removed the old notes, I used clear packing tape to paste them into the new books. Sometimes, I needed to cut off the edges of the notes to fit them on a page in the new book, or I had to split up ones that were previously on the same page. I taped around the entire edges to ensure nothing would get pulled and torn.
In the end, it certainly didn’t blend in, but it was perfect for including the old memory book notes in the new keepsake picture books.
Books Like Oh, The Places You’ll Go! for Your Student Memory Book
I hunted for books that would convey a similar message of support, encouragement, and belief in my kiddos, while also being representative and inclusive of all backgrounds and skin colors. Here are the new end-of-year memory books we chose:
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart)
- I Believe I Can (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart)
- Remarkably You (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart)
- Be Brave Little One (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart)
- The Day You Begin (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart)
I love each of these books, their messages, and what they represent! I’m excited to choose special school keepsake books for my final two little ones when they start school, as well.
And here are a few other suggestions for inclusive keepsake picture books:
- You Are A Beautiful Beginning (Available on Amazon, Bookshop, Target, Walmart
- The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be (Amazon,
- God Gave Us You (Amazon,
- I’m So Glad You Were Born (Amazon,
- Dear Girl,: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You! (Amazon,
- When I Pray For You (Amazon,
- The Kissing Hand (Amazon,
- Big (Amazon,
- Whoever Heard of a Flying Bird? (Amazon,
- My Voice Is A Trumpet (Amazon,
- The Year We Learned to Fly (Amazon,
- Be You! (Amazon,
- Maybe (Amazon,
- A Letter From Your Teacher On The Last Day of School (Amazon,
Do you have any end-of-year school traditions for your kids, or a way of remembering the school year with their teachers? I’d love to hear!
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST ABOUT END-OF-YEAR MEMORY BOOK IDEAS, YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE POSTS TOO:
- Read Across America: Alternatives to Dr. Seuss Day
- Tips for Encouraging A Reluctant Reader
- Our Favorite STEM Toys