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beTWEEN the Bookends is the first monthly book and lifestyle box created for kids by a teen herself! Boxes follow a monthly theme and contain age-appropriate books and lifestyle items that have been read and hand tested by Jillian, the 14-year-old creator. Full size boxes contain 2-3 books and 6-8 lifestyle items, while mini boxes include 1 book and 3-5 lifestyle items. The new gender-neutral boxes will contain the same 2-3 books in the full boxes but will have only 3-5 gender neutral lifestyle items.
The Cost: $37.50 per month for the Gender Neutral box (the Full Size box is $45 per month) + free US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Tween Gender Neutral Box.
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
As most of you may know, my full-time job is in K-12 education. This was a definite turn of events after spending seven years as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. Because my work schedule didn’t mesh well with family life, I became a stay-at-home mom for five glorious years. As fate would have it, once my youngest started pre-school, I was offered a job at our hometown school and just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Why am I telling you all of this? Because working in education has opened my eyes to developmental stages from K-12, and I am so incredibly passionate about reading. When you start looking at statistics, you will be shocked as to how many adults have a literacy level below 6th grade, and just how many of our kids don’t have books at home. I came across the subscription beTWEEN the Bookends through a comment left by Chelsea on The 19 Best Subscription Boxes for Kids 2022 Reader’s Choice Awards article, and knew I just had to check it out. Read below to follow my journey of discovering a super awesome subscription box created by an absolutely incredible teen!
Because this is a fairly new subscription (and because we love to support budding entrepreneurs), we decided to deviate from the norm a bit and host a little Question and Answer sesh with the 14-year-old creator of beTWEEN the Bookends, Jillian.
Becca: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your hobbies?
Jillian: My name is Jillian. I am 14 years old but will be 15 on May 2nd. I love to read (obviously), and also love singing, and music in general. My dad is a DJ, so I am around it all the time! I am in Chorus and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of American) at school.
Becca: What inspired you to create beTWEEN the bookends?
Jillian: I’ve always loved reading but know a lot of kids don’t read too much for fun. I created this box so that reading new books could be a fun experience and something to look forward to each month. I also love picking unique books so that even kids who read a lot hopefully have not yet read the books I select.
Becca: How old were you when you got started?
Jillian: I came up with the idea when I was 12, shortly before turning 13. Schools and libraries had closed down, and I thought this would be a great way to keep getting new books into kids’ hands.
Becca: How do you decide which items make it into the box?
Jillian: I choose a theme several months in advance, and then find the best books and items to fit the theme I work with publishes, and also have authors reach out to me directly hoping I will approve their books. I also love using small shops for items in the box. I look on Etsy and social media to find items, or sometimes makers will reach out to me!
Becca: Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
Jillian: My advice for young entrepreneurs is to always follow your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you or tell you you’re too young.
Packaged in turquoise tissue paper and sealed with a sticker featuring both a boy and a girl, Hank couldn't wait to tear into this gender-neutral box to see what was included.
Here's What's Inside
This month's welcome note shares with us all that is included in this "Hungry for a Good Book" themed box. Not only are three books included, but as are five lifestyle items - three specifically from small shops. Along with this month's contents, also listed is the theme for next month's box and all of beTWEEN the bookend's social media info.
The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz - Retail Value $7.99 (found here for $6.99)
A work of juvenile fiction, this 336 paged book is recommended for kids 8 and up. Because of the length of the book, it could definitely be intimidating for an 8-year-old, but Hank (who is 9) was ready to take on the challenge. The Doughnut Fix is about a young man named Tristan that has been uprooted to a new town by his parents. Very unhappy about the situation, he soon discovers that the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts - though the owner hasn't made them in years. This budding entrepreneur decides he needs to get the recipe, make the doughnuts, and bring them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand, finding some hurdles along the way. Perfect for adults and children with a growth mindset, an interest in food, or are thinking about starting a business themselves. Hank and I decided to read this book together, and while we are only a few chapters in, have found it engaging, easy to read, and funny. Also, in case you or your school participates in the Renaissance Accelerated Reader program, this books quiz is worth 8 AR points!
Cosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos - Retail Value $13.99 (found here for $12.42)
Another work of fiction, this graphic novel is recommended for middle-grade students and is hardcover! Cosmic Commandos is about a boy named Jeremy that complains a lot. He thinks his life is full of struggles, pouting when he gets a junky decoder ring in his cereal box. He soon finds out this ring actually grants wishes - turning him into the superhero of his favorite video game! Hank usually prefers regular books to graphic novels but found this (sort of) naughty character entertaining, even if he is kind of mean to his twin brother. Also found on the AR bookfinder website, complete the quiz at 100% for 1 point!
Brave the Page by Rebecca Stern and Grant Faulkner - Retail Value $13.99 (found here for $10.21)
Changing it up a bit, we received this nonfiction book about writing and telling stories geared towards kids 10 and up. Hank tends to gravitate towards nonfiction work, and actually has been asking a lot of questions recently about how one would go about writing a book. He has a lot of adventure stories he would like to get written down and wasn't sure where to start, so this book came exactly at the right time. Featuring motivational pep talks by renowned authors, this book is not only interesting, but inspiring as well. Written so kids don't get overwhelmed, we enjoyed the informative blurbs and tips to guide us in our writing from start to finish. A surprising inclusion, but one that we will definitely utilize!
Fruit Fun Facts Bookmark
Simple yet necessary, we received a basic bookmark to hold our spots in our new books. Hank has a tendency to want to fold over the corners, so we will take all the bookmarks I can get to avoid those nasty creases! Plus - did you know that a pineapple is actually a type of berry and that it can take up to two years for it to grow to its full size? Crazy!
Fruty Alchemy Labs Lemon Scented Soap Bar - Retail Value $3.00
Fitting in perfectly with our "hungry for a good book" theme, we received this fantastic smelling lemon soap. As a matter of fact, this soap smells so good, it has a "DO NOT EAT' disclaimer printed right on the packaging. Bright yellow in color and smelling almost as a sweet as a Lemon Head candy tastes, this soap creates a good lather, leaving hands feeling fresh and clean.
Kraftmir Bookish Coaster Set
Created by a husband-and-wife team from Louisiana, we received this set of small shop created bookish coasters. Featuring the world in a set of hands, and a Roald Dahl quote, they are simple, yet functional for protecting my table from water spots, all while being very inspiring. While super cute, I do wish they would have had a coat of poly to help aid in longevity and give them a more finished look.
Tumblin' with the Boyds - Gummy Bear Magnet
Handmade by www.tumblinwiththeboyds.com, we received another small shop item. Tiny and adorable, this little gummy bear magnet looks almost good enough to eat. With a brownish-orange translucent illusion, it's a little small to hold up a photo on our fridge but will be really cute on the inside of Hank's locker.
Humble Bath Co. Fruit Loop Scented Bath Truffles - Estimated Value $4.50
In our household, bath time is a favorite. Charlie actually asked Santa for bath bombs this year, so to receive a set of Fruit Loop smelling bath truffles was like a dream come true. Truly scented like the inside of a box of the cereal, the kids were so excited to crumble these truffles in the tub. Creating foaming, pastel water, it not only made for a relaxing bath, but a pretty one too!
Molly & You Celebration Cake Single - Retail Value $4.00
The last item in this month's "Hungry for a Good Book" box, was a celebration flavored cake single. For these nifty little cakes, all you need to do is pour the mix into a mug and add water, stirring well, heat in the microwave for 90 seconds and eat! Our mouths were drooling reading the description, as it depicts buttery vanilla cake bursting with celebration sprinkles, so when Hank mentioned wanting to save this to make for my husband's birthday, I was admittedly a little disappointed. Of course, I couldn't say no to doing this sweet gesture, so I will have to update on the taste after Sunday if my husband lets me sneak a bite!
This was my first time receiving the beTWEEN the bookends gender neutral box, and I was thoroughly impressed with the curation. Hank enjoyed all three books, and loved the extra inclusions, feeling the theme was well followed and fun. I love the fact that this box is created by a teen that chooses all of the items herself. I feel she was very thoughtful in putting this box together. Though my boys like to read, I can definitely see this as a way to entice a child that isn't a huge fan of reading into trying new books. The entire experience was very pleasant, and I look forward to seeing what kind of theme Jillian comes up with next!
The beTWEEN the bookends gender neutral box costs $37.50 per month, including shipping. After calculating what it would cost to order the included books separately along with the lifestyle items, it would have cost over $45 (using low estimates for the items I couldn't find online) which feels very reasonable to me.
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Other Things You Should Know
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? beTWEEN the bookends tends to ship the first week of each month. Order now to receive the April box.
What did you think of the beTWEEN the bookends gender neutral box?
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