Family Reading Crate Subscription Review – September 2018

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Family Reading Crate is a book box designed with the whole family in mind. Each month you will get about 4 books based on a common theme and one of these will be hand-picked just for the adult in the family. You will also receive a booklet with discussion questions and a few items that tie into the books including collectible bookmarks.

This is offered through Build Your Library a secular literature-based homeschool curriculum website.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About Family Reading Crate

The Subscription Box: Family Reading Crate

The Cost: $26.99 + $8.00 shipping

The Products: A selection of 4 books (one of which is for an adult), discussion booklet and a few other items related to the box theme

Ships to: US

Family Reading Crate September 2018 Review

Their packaging recently changed and they included this insert stating that they are using eco-friendly materials, which is great!

The included booklet introduces the theme, which is Journey to Other Worlds this month, and also gives a brief description of who each book is meant for in the family. They include a link to their website which provides activities and printables as well as suggestions for books and movies all related to the month’s theme. These are great extension ideas to use with the whole family.

Also included are discussion questions for each of the kids’ books. These range from direct questions about the content to making inferences to personal opinions about the story. These are perfect for family discussion or even as writing prompts as part of a homeschool curriculum.

Instead of discussion questions for the adult book, there is a book review by the curator of the box.

We received these 4 collectible bookmarks in our box. I love the colors on the back of the Journey one!

This month we received these three little kaleidoscopes, which I thought tied in nicely to the theme as they help you see the world in a new way!

Daydreamers: A Journey of Imagination by Emily Winfield Martin – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $16.84)

This book is very sweet and encourages children to daydream and think beyond their world. I love the illustrations of fantasy creatures and how old the style of the drawings felt. 

I love how this book turned ordinary places into magical worlds and provided such a great basis for letting a child’s imagination run wild.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $14.39)

This book is meant to be the family read aloud. I love the illustrations on the cover! It just feels like a magical book from the start. The book features a girl named Alice who doesn’t fit into the magical world around her which is filled with color. Alice was born with no pigment at all except for a very small fleck of brown in her eyes and she seems to have a sense of whimsy and moxie to her that elude those around her. She is saddened by the disappearance of her father and the story really begins when Oliver, a boy who previously teased her to the point where her reaction was so intense that it leads to her being kicked out of school, comes to ask her for help. In exchange, he promises to tell her where her father is. Mafi paints a world full of colorful (literally and figuratively!) imagery, imagination, and dynamic characters, the most spirited being Alice, of course. This was definitely a great choice for the theme, as this is one world that I would love to journey into! 

A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $11.89)

This book is meant for the older child or teen in the family. This story feels a bit heavier than Furthermore and begins with Kinchen, a girl who is very protective of her younger brother, Pip, who possesses the ability to speak to fish. The people of Raftworld have just arrived and the Raft King (All I could picture was Water World starring Kevin Costner!) decides that he needs Pip and his special skill and wants to take him with him when they leave. After what should have been an innocent tea time, Kinchen awakens realizing she has been poisoned and that the Raft King has taken Pip and left. In exchange, he has left a bag for her, which she opens up to find a girl inside who tells her that there is a mysterious and more than likely unsafe reason for why Pip was needed. The story really unfolds from this point.

From Amazon:

“This is but the first of three extraordinary stories that collide on the high seas of the Second World. The second story takes us back to the beginning: Venus and Swimmer are twins captured aboard a slave ship bound for Jamaica in 1781. They save themselves and others from a life of enslavement with a risky, magical plan—one that leads them from the shark-infested waters of the first world to the second. Pip and Kinchen will hear all about them before their own story is said and done. So will Thanh and his sister Sang, who we meet in 1978 on a small boat as they try to escape post-war Vietnam. But after a storm and a pirate attack, they’re not sure they’ll ever see shore again. What brings these three sets of siblings together on an adventure of a lifetime is a little magic, helpful sea monsters and that very special portal, A Crack in the Sea.”

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley – Retail Value $9.98

This book is for the adult in the family. Aza has a mysterious lung disease that often lands her in the hospital and this has left her with a bitter sense of humor and a sense of impatience for those around her.  Aza is full of sarcastic wit and the only person who seems to escape it (somewhat) is her long-time best friend, Jason, with whom she has a very close and intense friendship. She occasionally suffers from hallucinations, her latest being of a giant ship in the sky and soon some strange things begin happening, such as hearing her name being called and finding a feather in her lung and eventually an incredible scene where Aza passes away. I am only about a third of the way through this book, but I can’t put it down! I’m so excited to see how the rest of the story plays out now that I am heavily invested in these wonderful characters that Headley has created!

From Amazon:

“Aza is lost to our world—and found by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?”

Verdict: This was a really fun Family Reading Crate this month. These books were all filled with so much imagination and incredibly descriptive imagery. I thought there was a wonderful mix of fairy tale and sci-fi like fantasies. The characters were all really strong and interesting, too. These would be fantastic books to use for comparing and contrasting as part of a book discussion. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the selections and am glad to have been introduced to them.  The total retail value of the books came to $63.95, which is excellent for a $34.99 ($26.99 + $8.00 shipping) box! 

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes! As of publication, this box is still available to purchase!

Value Breakdown: At $34.99 (price + shipping) for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:

  • Daydreamers: A Journey of Imagination by Emily Winfield Martin: $9.84
  • Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi: $9.84
  • A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman: $9.84
  • Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley: $5.46

Check out all of our Family Reading Crates reviews and Book Subscription Box reviews for more kid’s book options!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Finding new products to test out and possibly fall in love with has always excited her. Now, as a mother of 3, she loves discovering new products that can help make parenting a little easier! Her favorites are FabFitFun and Target Baby boxes.

Posted in Family Reading Crate Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: family reading crate | 2 comments


  1. These books look awesome! I don’t have kids but I am tempted to get the box for myself!!

    • This is definitely a great collection that adults would enjoy as well! 🙂

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