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Literati: A Review for Readers

My family and I are book addicts, especially me. So I, of course, loved the idea of book boxes as soon as I heard of them! Someone handpicks awesome books and then mails them to you?? Take all my money! It was like the once-a-year Scholastic book sale when I was young. Did anyone else have that? Once a year Scholastic book company would send catalogs and we'd pour over these book catalogs for hours. It would be all the recess and after school talk for days, "which books are you getting? Oh, did you see..." So much fun, you placed your orders through the teacher and the books would arrive in like forever (probably just a few weeks normal shipping but it felt like forever and it was NOT amazon 2-day prime). By that time you've probably mostly forgotten your careful selection so it's like Christmas morning to discover what you did order! They also often had a bookstore set up where they took over the stage in the gym for a week but I can't remember if that was the same company or not. Anyhow, a super fun way of getting an influx of new books as a kid. And I was onboard for creating that feel again with online order book boxes. Until I realized most book boxes are created to build libraries for people less book-obsessed than us. Long story short(er), I already owned most of the books pictured when I began researching which book box to sign up for. I'd already done the research to discover the cool books and we already owned the ones of those that we wanted. Bummed out doesn't even begin to describe my state of mind!

Then I read about Literati, a new book club you could join which was billing itself as the place that found the awesome books you have missed. The basic idea is they send you a themed box of 4 picture books for your child's age range, one interactive book such as an activity book or joke book, a trinket of some sort, a beautiful print by the featured illustrator as well as a sheet of book labels also by that illustrator. I feel like they should also have a book illustrated by the featured illustrator but so far that hasn't happened. Although that does introduce me to more cool books as I look up what the illustrator has done. Another thing that hooked me with this company is that you aren't committed to buying any of the books! You pay $10 for the curated books to arrive but you're welcome to send all of them back if you don't want any of them keep the trinket and the illustrator piece and be charged nothing else. I was intrigued but skeptical. I signed us up figuring either they wouldn’t be books we hadn’t read before or they wouldn’t be very interesting books. But they amazed me!

We have been members for over a year now and are still delighted. I continue to research books in my free time for fun, read loads of library books and utilize our Audible membership heavily yet they still find books that excite our family that we haven’t discovered on our own. Sometimes they are books by new publishers like Epic!, and sometimes they are reprinted books from 40 years ago that still hold up. Our last box had a book written in 1976 about foster kids that my daughter read through twice and then loaned to Nana because she wanted to know what she thought! My mom was surprised at the age of the book!

We recently moved our daughter up an age group and have been enjoying their early chapter books as much as we loved their picture book selection. There have been, over the course of a year, maybe five or six books that we had read or heard of before. Often it wasn’t a disappointment though. Once they sent a book that we had borrowed repeatedly from the library and loved so we decided to keep it from our box. Another time they sent the brand new book in a series we love and hadn’t realized had a new book out so that was exciting!

Our family has loved our Literati box so much in fact that when they announced recently that they were branching out to do an adult book subscription my husband and I signed up right away. Though we only get one book and there’s no sending it back! Our first book arrived this week and I can’t wait to start reading it! If staying home all the time in the pandemic has an upside, it’s reading ALL the books! What are you and your family reading these days?

-Grace Haiman

Columnist, The Homeschooler Post

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