Jambo Books: A New Source for Gifts For Grandchildren
I love getting asked to review children’s books. Recently, I was asked if I would be interested in taking a look at a sample box from a subscription service called Jambo Books, and naturally I said yes!
Jambo Books started when the founders were searching for high-quality books starring children of color in situations where children’s literature rarely places them — making friends, raising pets, loving grandparents and fighting dragons. The stories show that people of color can star in stories that aren’t historical or cultural in focus. They focus on finding books that give our children a vision of the world we all want to live in — diverse, vibrant and kind.
Of special interest to grandparents looking for books for your grandchildren, they offer the opportunity to create a customized bundle around the specific interests of your grandchild. Do you have a history buff? A lover of pets, trucks, unicorns or fairies? You can email them with information about your readers and they’ll respond with selections just for you.
They offer book bundles and individual books, sorted by age, ethnicity and other themes. It’s a great place to look for diverse books, because each one is carefully chosen by people who understand that the stories we tell our children matter.
And then there's the Jambo Book Club. For $34.99 your grandchild will receive two gorgeous, high-quality books each month that star a child of color in a key role. I received a selection of three books aimed at the youngest children. They came in a beautiful box, and would have delighted any child who received a special package in the mail.
What I liked
I was immediately impressed with the quality of the books. These were not the cheaply produced subscription book club editions I got when my children were young. There were two very sturdy board books, Love is a Truck and Nerdy Babies: Ocean, and one simple picture book, Let’s Dance.
The books were thoughtfully chosen for babies and toddlers. The pictures were bright and engaging, and the non-fiction subjects were appropriate for babies, who can’t yet grasp abstract concepts or follow story lines.
The diversity went beyond the characters. For example, Let’s Dance included pictures of more than just the standards: hula, hip hop, and square dancing were among the styles of dance shown.
What I didn’t like
My only quibble is with the “Nerdy Babies” label on the book about the ocean. I wish it had been called “curious babies”, instead of trying to equate curiosity with being a nerd. I imagine the author of the series is trying to celebrate nerdiness, but for me it feels wrong to apply any label to a child, especially one that is often used as a slur by schoolchildren.
Jambo books is an excellent resource for grandparents who want to ensure their grandchild is exposed to books that celebrate the diversity of children. For more information, visit their website.
I received a selection of books in exchange for my honest, unbiased review of Jambo Books.