August Literati Box

This was the worst box yet! Tweaking Adrian’s interests didn’t help at all. His selected interests are engineers, adventure, science, funny, history, mystery, humor, mazes, and biography. We even took out fantasy and scifi to see if that helped. But nope. Every book this month was dark, gory stuff. Not at all what he is interested in and not at all like the month’s theme, Our Brilliant Earth. Another month or two like this and we’ll have to say goodbye to our Literati boxes. At least the first several months were good! (boxes onetwo, threefourfivesixseveneightnineten, eleven, and twelve).

Opening the box started out good. The colors were nice. The picture was attractive. There were fun activities included in the folder. But then we started going through the books.

We sent back four of the five books. Gallant by VE Schwab, Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda, These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, and Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Squad is a graphic novel and usually graphic novels are instant yeses for Adrian, but this was one he wasn’t interested in at all.

The one book we kept was Blood, Bullets, and Bones by Bridget Heos. It’s non-fictions about forensic science and sounds like it’ll be pretty good.

July Literati Box

Adrian has now gotten an entire year of Literati boxes (see boxes onetwo, threefourfivesixseveneightnine, ten, and eleven). Once again the books weren’t as great as they have been in the past. It’s interesting. They started doing more targeted boxes and since then we’ve had more misses than ever. I readjusted Adrian’s interests so hopefully August’s box will be better.

The theme this month was One A-Maze-ing Summer. The colors were nice and bright. There was a sort of game/puzzle included. It’s very confusing that they only provide three bookplates but five books in each box now. They used to give six.

This box included All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan. Adrian wasn’t interested in A Show for Two at all so that one went back.

Also in the box was The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Adrian was on the fence about this one. He went back and forth and ultimately decided to keep it.

The final two books in the box were The Darkest Park of the Forest by Holly Black and Blood Metal Bone by Lindsay Cummings. He decided to keep both of those.

June Literati Box

Adrian’s eleventh Literati box arrived a couple weeks ago (see boxes onetwo, threefourfivesixseveneight, nine, and ten). This month’s books weren’t as great as the last few months’.

The artwork was pretty neat in this box as were the stickers/bookplates. There’s even a cute little game included.

The books in the box were The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson, Gideon Green in Black and White by Katie Henry,

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado,

The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco, and My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham.

We kept the first three and sent The Girl From the Well and My Dearest Darkest back. Those are just too horror and we are not really horror people here. Also, the cover of The Girl From the Well really freaks me out (I have a low tolerance for creepiness).

May Literati Box

Adrian’s tenth Literati box arrived a few weeks ago (see boxes onetwo, threefourfivesixseven, eight, and nine). We kept all five again this month.

Literati is transitioning to sending books more tailored to each kid (saves on returns). Adrian’s level is “Legend” which means he’ll get middle grade and young adult fiction, activity books, and graphic novels at or above grade level for his age.

The theme for May was Live Your Own Story. The art had three panels, one with a castle and dragon, one flying over a city, and one in a jungle (it’s always fun to find what in the books relates to the artwork). The matching bookplates and stickers are really pretty. There’s a card with a quiz to determine what character you are (hero, trickster, or explorer). Also included was a reading journal with space for drawing or writing about each book and stickers and story badges to decorate the pages (and three coloring breaks, one for every five books).

Spell Hacker by MK England sounds like a fun adventure, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix sounds like quite the magical ride, and Feeder by Patrick Weekes sounds a bit crazy.

Another Kind by Trevor Beam and Cait May is a graphic novel (so sure to be Adrian’s favorite of the month) that sounds totally bizarre and Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds sounds wild and also crazy emotional.

April Literati Box

Adrian’s ninth Literati box arrived a few weeks ago (see boxes onetwo, threefourfivesix, seven, and eight). We kept all five again this month.

This month’s theme was Embrace the Wild. Look at all those gorgeous greens! In addition to the art and bookmark, it came with a Mad Libs and and an origami kit.

The origami kit has some really pretty colors. The directions seem to be pretty easy to follow. Quite a fun addition to the books.

The books this month were Very Bad People by Kit Frick, How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff, Gone Dark by Amanda Panitch, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, and Forgotten City by Michael Ford.

March Literati Box

Adrian’s eighth Literati box arrived a few weeks ago (see boxes one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven). This was another keep all five month.

As usual the art was gorgeous. The colors are so nice. It also came with a constellation activity to do. Not sure which of the books is about space. There’s always something in a book or an overall theme that inspire the art.

Killing Time and Nine were easy yeses. When We Were Magic was a bit of a debate, but ultimately he decided it sounded good and he wanted to keep it.

Redemption Prep sounds quite interesting and didn’t require any debate, but The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor was a yes before I even read the synopsis to him. It’s a graphic novels and graphic novels are always a yes for Adrian.

February Literati Box

Adrian’s seventh Literati box arrived a couple weeks ago (see boxes one, two, three, four, five, and six). We only kept three of books this month.

The poster, bookmark, and bookplates were fun as usual. I love the colors in the poster. The bookmark’s colors are pretty nice, too.

These are the three books we’re keeping. The Initial Insult and Rule sound pretty great. When I read the synopsis of One of Us is Lying to Adrian he responded “wow!” I was pretty excited about that one because it was on my Amazon wishlist. This month’s yeses require no debate at all.

These are the two books we sent back. We have both on Kindle already. I read Be More Chill in January and it was pretty much horrible. I offered to let Adrian keep The Fowl Twins in paper form if he wanted but he decided against it. Be More Chill was going back no matter what, that’s how bad it is.

January Literati Box

Adrian’s got his sixth Literati box a few weeks ago (see boxes one, two, three, four, and five). I can’t believe we’ve been getting these awesome books for half a year now! We kept all five books again this time.

The artwork packet came with some fun color-in postcards. The poster was fun to look at. So much going on. Of course the bookplates immediately went inside the books.

The cover of Leviathan made him want to keep that one. A Study in Charlotte sounds intriguing since it’s a take on a Sherlock book. Five Total Strangers sounds really good, too.

He wasn’t totally sure about Cut Off but ultimately decided to keep it. The blurb dared to use the word romance and, well, he’s a 13-year-old boy. Long Way Down is a graphic novel so of course that was an immediate yes. I read it. It is absolutely AMAZING.

December’s Literati Box

Last week we got Adrian’s fourth Literati box (see boxes one, two, three, and four). The artwork, as usual, is beautiful. Can’t wait to find out what book holds the reason why they used that particular art this month.

This month there was a folder labeled Kids Pack. That’s where the poster, bookmark, and bookplates were. I like that folder. It kept the things neater for shipping (the return label and price sheet and what not were in the bottom under the books).

Look at that fun picture and bookplate images! As always the bookmark is absolutely beautiful. The winter pictures make me want to just cuddle up under a blanket and read all day (even though temperatures here in south Texas have definitely not been cuddled up under a blanket weather).

This month there was a bonus gift. Even though snow is not likely (we’re gonna just pretend last February never happened), Adrian can build his very own (paper) snowman this year.

So the books. This month brought us five selections that all sound fabulous. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Park Rhodes explores the racism and challenges related to colorism when one brother is dark-skinned while the other is light-skinned. Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman looks at what happens to friends and neighbors when a drought causes the taps to run dry. Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson wonders if it’s possible to bring a friend back from the dead, at least through his music. Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham reveals what life is really like for those in the spotlight where not all is as it seems. 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change looks at one year in the life of our country (sure to be a hit with my Hamilton-loving son).

December’s selections sound fabulous don’t they? They made the decision to click keep all 5 super easy. I can’t wait to dive into them myself!

(If you want to subscribe to Literati Kids – any of their many age group boxes, not just Club Titan – use my link and you’ll get $25 in Book Bucks and so will I!)


This has been a busy year for us. I simultaneously can’t figure out how the time has gone by so fast and how we fit so much into just twelve months. Tomorrow will be 2022 and the start of twelve more months of adventures.

In January Fritz and Adrian got their first semester report cards for 7th and 9th grades and both did amazing for their first time in public school since kindergarten and second grade. We also continued trying to figure out just how much food to make to feed our small army (spoiler alert: it’s always too much or too little).

In February we put up a baby urinal in our bathroom and it’s been the best thing we could have done. There was more figuring out how to feed our small army (we’ve pretty much got it down now). We got a playground put up in our backyard. We ended up with COVID in the house and had to quarantine at the same time pretty much the entire state of Texas shut down due to a freak snowstorm and crazy cold (we got lucky and never lost power).

In March I started getting more creative with Mayci’s hair. All the adults in the house got vaccinated for COVID. Zeke turned six on Pi Day. The next day Noah had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids and have tubes put in his ears. We got brave and took all six kids to HEB for the first time.

In April I sprained my foot when I gracefully fell down the stairs of The Beast. We also discovered Zeke has hair like Fritz’s: It grows SO fast!

In May our six-year-old officially changed his name to Zeke. School got out and so Mayci finished pre-k, Zeke finished kindergarten, Adrian finished 7th grade, and Fritz finished 9th grade.

In June the kids were bored of their 11-week summer vacation within about 30 seconds so we started our summer schedule which continued the entire summer and worked great. We got Fritz’s end of course results (all three passed). We entered Birthday Season when Adrian turned 13 on Juneteenth. The end of the month the twins turned two.

In July we got Adrian’s STAAR test results (he did great especially because it was his first time taking that sort of test). On the 6th Nicholas turned 3. And then on the 11th Fritz turned 15. Adrian saved all year and enlisted the help of a few other people in order to give Fritz an Oculus Quest 2 for his birthday. On the 18th Anthony turned 4 ending our intense streak of five birthdays in less than three weeks. Fritz got all registered for the virtual school for 10th grade.

In August we finished birthday season on the 2nd when Mayci turned 5. Zeke and Mayci both took off in their reading (best decision ever to work on teaching them how to read over the summer). We found out who the three elementary schoolers’ teachers would be (they’ve all been the perfect teacher for each kid, especially Zeke’s). In the middle of the month it was time for four of the kids to be off to pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, and 8th grades (and Nicky moved to a new room at preschool). A week later Fritz started 10th grade. Just before the end of the month my beautiful mother turned three-quarters of a century old.

In September we started getting monthly boxes of Young Adult books from Literati for Adrian (love those books). Dance classes started up for Zeke and Mayci. I did the most complicated and beautiful hairstyle on Mayci that I’ve done so far (53 twists). The twins moved out of their cribs and into their big boy beds. We took four of the kids to the movies for the first time. Mayci went to dance camp at the high school and got to perform at halftime at a football game.

In October we pulled Nicholas out of preschool. We got the four littlest boys new church clothes. I did some fancy hair on both Mayci and Haley. We had some really cute costumed kids on Halloween.

In November Jamie and I went to see The Beach Boys again. Lola moved in with Cameron and Tami and it’s helped Nicky’s eczema so much (he’s allergic to dogs). We celebrated Jamie’s 46th birthday and one year since we adopted the kids by playing at a trampoline park. We got our family pictures taken. I started having more time to read again thanks to Haley playing with the twinplets six hours a week and the kids getting a little older and more independent.

In December Nicky suddenly started looking much older and bigger than his little brothers. Anthony’s dreams came true when we put a Christmas tree in our living room. My Daddy turned 77 on Christmas Eve.

And now here we are on New Year’s Eve looking forward to what 2022 will bring us. We know a few things like Trek for the big boys, Fritz being ordained to the office of Priest, Birthday Season ending with us having 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14 and 16-year-olds, Ani turning 22 in February, Zeke turning 7 in March, me turning 44 in April, Cameron turning 21 in October, and Jamie turning 47 in November the same day we hit two years since the kids were adopted, and having kids starting pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 11th grades in August. Whatever else 2022 has in store for us, I know it will be awesome!