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Leave your mark with these senior quotes from books. They offer sayings about life, from the past to the present, the future, funny sayings, and words about self-actualization. You’ll be inspired and inspire others with these words in your yearbook, graduation speeches, and beyond. Let’s prepare for the end of an era!

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!" - Dr. Seuss.

Short Senior Quotes from Books for Graduates’ Yearbooks

Below you’ll find literary quotes on a variety of graduation themes:

  • The Past: reflection and memory
  • The Present: success and friendships
  • The Future: dreams and aspirations
  • Funny: light-hearted thoughts on the moment
  • Self-Actualization: growth and change

These literary quotes are the appropriate length for your yearbook and short speeches. They are universal sentiments from renowned authors you’ll recognize, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Charles Dickens, and Dr. Seuss. They were first said in everything from classic books to popular graduation books, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Nostalgic Quotes About the Past

“A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden

ABOVE IS MY TOP CHOICE. I came really close to picking this one as my own senior quote, having read and been impacted by East of Eden that year. I highly recommend this though-provoking book about the quality of your life to grads. It’s an all-time favorite.)

“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” – Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Read More: Inspirational Alice in Wonderland Quotes)

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” – Patti Smith, Just Kids

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” –  Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” – Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Read More: The Great Gatsby Quotes on the American Dream)

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” – Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Beautiful Quotes About the Present

“Life is the moment we are living now.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Live in the present, make the most of it, it’s all you’ve got.” – Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Inspirational Quotes About the Future

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” – Dr. Seuss,  The Lorax

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (Read More: Inspirational Anne of Green Gables Quotes)

“One day I will find the right words, and they all will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“I dwell in Possibility.” – Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Stephen King, Different Seasons

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Funny Quotes To Be Hilarious in Your Yearbook

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

Thought-Provoking Quotes About Self-Actualization

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (Read More: Best Dr. Seuss Quotes for Graduates)

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day” in House of Light

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” – Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” – Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

“Choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.” – E.M. Forster, A Room With a View

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (Read More: Inspirational The Catcher in the Rye Quotes)

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all.” – Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserve and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale.” – Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

“It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – Kathryn Stockett, The Help

“The moment you feel, you’re nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – E.E. Cummings, E. E. Cummings: A Miscellany Revised

“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“We must live and learn.” – Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Read more: Inspirational Harry Potter Quotes)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the best books for senior quotes?

For memorable senior quotes, consider impactful classics like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, as well as inspirational reads such as Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Which authors provide the most inspirational quotes for graduates?

Authors like Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, J.K. Rowling, and Mark Twain are known for their inspirational literary quotes, which offer wisdom and encouragement that resonate with graduates starting new chapters.

What makes a good senior quote from literature?

A good senior quote from literature captures timeless wisdom, reflects personal growth, and inspires future aspirations, making it memorable and meaningful for graduates.

Are there any famous literary quotes suitable for yearbooks?

Yes, famous literary quotes like “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” by Eleanor Roosevelt, and “Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R. Tolkien, are popular inspirational choices for yearbooks.

What are some humorous book quotes for senior year?

Humorous book quotes for senior year include Mark Twain’s “I never let schooling interfere with my education” and Douglas Adams’ “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”


These senior quotes from books have inspired you to select a yearbook passage that resonates with your literary spirit and aspirations. May you be remembered in a very literary way.

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