I don’t know about you, but my kid loves mail and packages. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t? There are so many documented benefits of reading to children, and although many of us want our kids to have a fun and diverse library, we may not always have the time to go shopping or know which books would be best. Sometimes we want to be surprised, especially if you’re not super familiar with children’s literature. That’s where toddler book subscriptions come in!
(As a side note, as a Book Riot bibliologist I want to mention our own book subscription box and recommendation service, TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations, where you can pick either recommendations or hardcovers. We take it very seriously, love being able to pick out just the right books, and would love to choose some for you!)
In general, book box subscriptions can be themed each month, specially curated for your child’s interests, a selection of a certain kind of book — the options are endless, and there has been an explosion of subscription boxes in the last few years, especially for kids. But this wide variety of boxes can also be overwhelming, leaving you unsure about which box is best for your child. There are a lot of things to consider: how often you want the boxes, how much it is per month (or altogether, if you’re pre-paying), what actually comes in the boxes (just books, books and gifts, etc), and the content and how it’s curated.
I’ve put together a list of what I think are some of the best book box subscriptions for toddlers. While an Insta-worthy rainbow bookshelf is pretty, I’m less inclined to go for that myself and value the content of the books rather than how they look on the shelf, and my choices reflect that. (Yes, there are some book boxes that take into account the color of the spines, and make sure the books are all the same height, etc. That is not the main goal of any of these boxes. If that’s your thing, go for it — but you won’t find that in this list). Let’s check it out!
Little Feminists Book Club
The Little Feminists book box subscription is for kids 0–9, and there are different age groups from which to choose, including 0–2 and 2–4. The books are consciously chosen and the company is all about intersectional feminism: being antiracist, body positive, trans and genderfluid inclusive, and cognizant of ableism and classism.
I know I really love their board books for the diversity shown, and true inclusivity in the people they show in the pictures. They’ve shown a commitment to making their books diverse, even seeking feedback from readers and followers on social media about how to make their books better.
In addition to two board books or one picture book, the monthly book box also includes discussion questions and activities you can do with your child. You can pay monthly, every three months, every six months, or yearly, and the subscriptions do renew automatically. The monthly box starts at $23 USD plus shipping, and the more you buy, the boxes are each slightly discounted.
This book box subscription consciously chooses books that feature characters and families that are underrepresented in children’s books. Every single person on the OurShelves team has had personal experience of being underrepresented in children’s books: they get it. And they bring that heightened awareness and sensitivity to the books that they choose. This means they choose books with racially and ethnically diverse characters, LGBTQ+ families, disabled characters, feminist themes, and much more.
They have three different levels of subscriptions, based on age: 0–2, 2–5, and 5–8, and the box comes every three months. You can also choose whether you want one book or three per box. For three books per box, if you pay all at once, an annual subscription for the 0–2 box runs $132 USD; for the 2–5 box it runs $180 USD. You can opt to pay quarterly, but if you pay all at once, it’s discounted.
Raven Reads Jr.
Raven Reads is a company that is Indigenous (Michif) and woman-owned, and they have subscription boxes for both adults and kids. The kids box is appropriate for children 4–9, so if you have an older toddler, this might be a better option. Each box has two or three books written and/or illustrated by Indigenous authors, and the boxes are shipped four times a year. If you only want to get one box over three months, the cost is $57 USD; for a six-month subscription of two boxes, it’s $101 USD, and for a year’s subscription which includes four boxes, the cost is $196. They even have subscription boxes for adults, if you’re feeling left out!
The Barefoot Book Box
I’m a big fan of Barefoot Books: they’re informative, colorful, and diverse. They have a book box subscription for kids ages 0–9, with three different levels: 0–2, 3–5, and 6–9.
Each box has a different theme, like Peaceful Bedtime (shown above), First Feelings, Children of the World, or True Friends, and includes both books and gifts. For the 0–2 box, the books can be board books or paperback/hardcover picture books, and gifts can be plush toys, puzzles, or games. In the 3–6 box, there are two to three paperbacks or hardcovers, and gifts like activity decks or games. In every box there’s also an 8×10-inch artist print, with information about the illustrator and their work.
You select the age range appropriate for your child, and a prepaid subscription of either three, six, or 12 months — and this renews automatically. A three-month subscription is $110 USD.
Reading Bug Box
The Reading Bug is an independent children’s bookstore in California, and they’ve put together book box subscriptions for children ages 0–13. For the curated baby box, which is geared toward kids 0–30 months old, the books are not personalized; for the personalized boxes ages 0–13, the books are actually chosen based on the child’s age, interests, and reading ability. The curated baby box contains three books and starts at $18 USD, and the personalized boxes contain several books (usually three to four), little gifts or extras, and a note with follow-up reading suggestions and activities.
If you pay monthly, the boxes are $30 USD each, and if you pre-pay for multi-month subscriptions, it can become slightly less expensive, depending on which option you choose. This does not include a $3 shipping fee. This would be a great option if you wanted to put a more personal twist on the boxes, since many subscriptions don’t really give you that option.
Just Like Me! Box
The Just Like Me! Book Box was created so children of color could have books with characters that are reflective of them, and to bring authors and illustrators of color onto their shelves. Before any book is chosen for a box, it’s read and discussed by the team to make sure it’s appropriate and worthy of inclusion. It’s a monthly box with two or three age-matched books that have been chosen based on the story, awards they’ve won, and educational value, and you can cancel anytime. They have boxes for kids ages 0–3, 4–8, and 9–12. The cost is $30 USD monthly if you pay month-to-month, but if you do one of their pre-paid subscriptions, the cost goes down.
Have you ever tried a toddler book box subscription?
If you’re looking for even more subscription boxes, check out this post for more book subscription boxes for everyone in your life, and this post for some fantasy book box subscriptions.