This subscription box can help diversify your child's bookshelf
Little Feminist Book Club sends age-appropriate children’s books right to your front door.
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For many socially conscious parents out there, finding good books to read kids can be a challenge. Old classics tend to be full of traditional gender roles—mom’s holding down the fort in a crinoline skirt while dad’s off at work—and hardly ever feature people of color or stories relevant to the diverse spectrum of humanity. And while, like so much of society, the children’s publishing industry is moving toward more representation, it can be a challenge to know which books teach good lessons, honor diversity both on and off the page, and are actually fun to read.
Sure, you could cruise book stores, follow Instagram accounts, and subscribe to publishing trade magazines, but who has time for that? Wouldn’t it be great if, every month, a new book showed up at your family’s door just crying out to be read, enjoyed, and shared with others? That’s what Little Feminist Book Club aims to accomplish.
What is Little Feminist Book Club?
Founded about two years ago by a former Babylist employee who struggled to find books written by and featuring characters who were Black, Indigenous, and people of color, LGBTQI+ families, and people with disabilities, Little Feminist Book Club is a curated subscription service aimed at delivering the best diverse books available to your mailbox every month. Each month you’ll get one new book, aimed at your selected age group, plus a tangentially related activity for your child to complete.
How does Little Feminist Book Club choose its books?
Educators and staffers read hundreds of books each month before landing on their picks, and according to the LFBC site, “only the most exceptional stories make it through [their] 5-6 month analyzing and testing process.”
The books tend to be written by “own voices” meaning that if a book is about a member of an underrepresented group, the book’s author also identifies as a member of that group. The books also tend to feature characters or stories that transcend gender norms or live outside the binary. In addition, the stories often celebrate different types of bodies, brains, and family structures.
How much does Little Feminist Book Club cost?
Subscriptions range from $22.95 if you want to go on a month-to-month basis (plus $2.95 shipping every month) to $18.95 a month if you prepay for a full year.
What is Little Feminist Book Club like in real life?
We received three different boxes for review, each containing a different box and worksheet-type activity related to the story.
My Footprints, a book aimed at kids in both the 3-to-5 group and the 5-to-7 age range, tells the story of a girl named Thuy who tries to mimic animal footprints in the snow as she works through complex feelings over being bullied for her intersectional identity and multiracial queer family. Written by Bao Phi, the book both talks about real-world animals and inspires kids to create their own mythical monsters capable of taking on their biggest problems.
The corresponding materials expand on that, with the Little Feminist In Action worksheet leading kids through creating their own magical creatures, and a bookmark with discussion questions directing parents to ask their kids to identify both what makes them strong and times that they could have been kinder to someone else.
I Really Want To See You Grandma
I Really Want To See You Grandma is a book originally published in 1979 by legendary Japanese author and illustrator Taro Gomi. A work that could especially speak to kids separated from their grandparents by the pandemic, I Really Want To See You Grandma is aimed at kids ages zero to 3 and features a sprightly grandma who’s not afraid to hop on her motorcycle in order to see her granddaughter. It’s a big change from the way children’s books tend to depict the elderly as frail, mean, or out of touch, and practically radiates love and joy.
Accompanying materials ask kids to create their own towns on their floors using painter’s tape, and discussion questions ask kids to identify who they’re missing right now that they’d love to see and how they stay in touch with people who might live far away.
Rocket Says Look Up!
Rocket Says Look Up!, aimed at readers in both the 3-to-5 and 5-to-7 age range, tells the story of a young Black girl named Rocket who’s deeply inspired by space and who is full of passion, confidence, and astronomical facts. She’s battling a big brother who’s always got his head in his phone, and the book is so charming that it might just remind parents to look up once in a while as well. Rocket Says Look Up! aims to inspire kids to share their passions, no matter what they are, and to be proud of who they are and what they know.
An accompanying coloring sheet highlights astronaut Mae Jemison, who was the first Black woman to go into outer space.
What our kids thought of Little Feminist Book Club
Our little testers are voracious readers who sit right on the cusp of the zero to 3 and 3-to-5 age range, so these books were perfect for them, and should continue to entertain them as they grow up and learn to identify more of the intricacies of the stories. We’d also recommend Rocket and Grandma to anyone looking for fun reads, and admired Footprints for its graphic-novel inspired illustrations and deep dive into mythological creatures.
It’s worth noting here that, individually, each book has a list price less than what you’re paying monthly for Little Feminist Book Club, even at the yearly rate. If you shop around, you can probably find even better deals on the books. What you’re paying for here, though, is the curation—and for the idea that you won’t have to dig around or worry about shopping at websites that aren’t great to their employees or their communities. Yes, you’re paying a slight premium, but it’s arguably worth it.
As for the activities, in some cases they left a little to be desired. The play-based activities never require parents to purchase new materials, but that can create limiting parameters in terms of inspiration. The coloring sheet of Mae Jemison was well-intended, but is still just a coloring sheet. The activity asking kids to create a town using painter’s tape was cool, but we’d also seen it before numerous times on various toddler activity websites.
That doesn’t mean some people won’t be inspired, but we unfortunately weren’t. Creating monsters was a good activity, though, and is something that can be repeated both for family activities and independent play again and again. Overall, we admire LFBC’s drive to create accessible fun, but also acknowledge that they may, in some sense, be a bit hamstrung in terms of what types of play they can inspire.
We liked the discussion questions, but imagine you’ll probably get better mileage out of asking kids the questions a few times, or each time you read the books over time. Older kids might also have more thoughtful answers, or be able to express feelings that could create teachable moments for parents.
Should you sign-up for Little Feminist Book Club?
Little Feminist Book Club is a smart, consciously sourced, and incredibly admirable service that could help well-meaning parents everywhere. The books open doors into new worlds, and though there’s some room for growth in terms of the accompanying activities, the books themselves are well-worth the subscription fee, especially if you consider the hours your child will spend re-reading them in the years to come.
A book has the potential to make a real impact on a child’s life. With Little Feminist Book Club, parents can be sure their children are reading stories that set them up to be a better citizen, human, and friend to others.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.