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Family Reading Crate Subscription Review – January 2019

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 January 2019 Review

The included booklet introduces the theme, which is “We Need a Shero” 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 3 collectible bookmarks in our box. I love the one featuring Rosie the Riveter and those fun silhouettes!

Each month you get a little toy or something to go along with the theme and this month we received these four pencils. They don’t necessarily go along with the Shero theme, but they are great for a box that encourages reading. 

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Dr.Tererai Trent – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $14.57)

This was the book for the younger readers in the family and it features a lot of beautiful watercolor illustrations. The story begins with a girl being born who is described as a “ball of fire as brilliant as the sunrise,” which creates such beautiful imagery right from the start. The story reads like a fairy tale as we learn that girls are not schooled and many women can not read or write, but this girl decides she is going to learn to do just that. Soon, she is even permitted to attend school and she spends her days learning and soaking up every bit of knowledge she can. She hears about a place where both boys and girls are educated and she longs to go there. Her mother encourages her to write down her dreams and so she writes down five dreams and buries them in a can underground and soon they become true. The pace of this book is quick and everything is very simplified making it such an easy way to teach younger children about other countries and even to value their own education. This is a semi-autobiographical book and contains a nice letter from the author at the end which is so encouraging. This was definitely an empowering start to our “shero” theme!

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks – Retail Value $16.99 (found on sale here for $15.29)

This book is meant to be the family read aloud and I really loved it! As a kid, I always loved to read and write and this book is basically my middle school fantasy come to life! Tuesday is the daughter of a famous writer who has penned an incredibly successful series about a girl named Vivienne Small who takes part in lots of wild adventures. Tuesday, herself is a fan of the series and when her mother seems to go missing while writing the final book in the series, she takes it upon herself to find her. She begins writing her own story and it takes her to the fantastical land where stories come alive. Here, she finds herself in the midst of Vivienne Small’s world and gets to meet her favorite literary character as she searches for her mother. This magical place and the idea of becoming a part of your favorite book are all so appealing to me and Tuesday definitely becomes a “shero” in her own right as she works her way through this mysterious land. This was such a fun book to read and it had me looking forward to when my daughter is old enough to enjoy this one with me. Plus it is part of a series, so that means there are more adventures to be had!

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly – Retail Value $6.48 

This book is meant for the older child or teen in the family and it was an easy read that I was able to finish in one day. This is a story about two sisters who live awful, dreary lives with their evil stepmother and are able to find solace and escape her cruelty through their vivid imaginations. The sisters are Sol and Ming whose mother died shortly after their sister drowned, and if that isn’t heart wrenching enough, their father marries this mean, awful woman and moves them to America only to abandon them with her a short time later. She is mean and spiteful and it was such an interesting dynamic between her and Sol who stands up to her and does anything she can to protect her sister. As the older sister, at 12, she takes on a nurturing role and comforts the much younger Ming through stories and imagination just as their mother had done for her. In the end, the girls are shown kindness and it beautifully demonstrates how you can’t judge someone until you get a chance to know them. This book was so good and it was one of those books where you can’t help but feel so empathetic to the characters and the sadness that they experience. I went through all of the feels with this one and it definitely left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling in the end, which is always a sign of a good read!

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $12.59)

This month we received an extra book, this one specifically for an older teen due to some language, a little drinking, and some references to sexual situations that might be a bit sensitive, all of which we are warned about in the booklet, which I really appreciate as a parent. These instances are not incredibly graphic and definitely serve a purpose in this book about an unlikely heroine at a very sexist and corrupt high school. Vivian is a good girl who doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, but as tensions begin to mount when certain members of the male population become increasingly more abrasive and demeaning to the female population, she decides she’s had enough and distributes a ‘zine anonymously which eventually ignites a whole movement within her school. I loved this book and this is definitely the sort of book I would have enjoyed as a teen! I thought it was really well written and I loved the way the story progressed as Vivian began to discover herself and learned to fight back in a meaningful way. This was a perfect selection for our theme and possibly my favorite of the bunch! Especially since there was a little bit of romance in there, too.

The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo – Retail Value $26.99 (found here for $18.20)

This book is for the adult in the family and it is filled with vivid, and often graphic descriptions of the scary world these Army nurses live in during World War II. 

From Amazon:

“In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.”

The book is well written and captivating from the start as you are drawn into this nightmare that was actually a reality for these incredible “sheroes.” It definitely put things in perspective and made me appreciate my life which is very different in comparison!

Verdict: I really loved this month’s selections for this “shero” themed Family Reading Crate. Maybe a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m female, but really these books were all so fun and well written that I think most readers could appreciate them. This might have been my favorite month so far and I am so appreciative that someone curated this great collection for me! I am also incredibly impressed with the value we received which came to $86.44 which is fantastic for a box that only costs $34.99 ($26.99 + $8.00 shipping). They definitely didn’t need to include an extra book, but I love that they thought to include two for the teens since Moxie contained a bit more sensitive material than the usual teen picks. This just shows you how much thought and effort goes into the curation and I definitely felt that this month!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, unfortunately, this box is currently sold out. 

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

  • The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Dr.Tererai Trent: $7.28
  • Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks: $6.87
  • The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly: $2.62
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: $7.28
  • The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo: $10.92

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. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in Family Reading Crate Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: family reading crate | 1 comment

Comment (1)

  1. Wow! What a great bundle of books. I had never heard of this crate before. I am tempted!

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