Book Box Unboxing: Call Number (backlist box – January 2018)

Call Number Box

It’s time for another book box unboxing! I won this book box in a giveaway on Bookstagram (that’s what we call the book community on Instagram, in case you didn’t know). Call Number offer fiction and non-fiction subscriptions; I’ll let the team tell you more about the subscription in their own words, as I couldn’t say it any better myself.

“Call Number is a library-inspired book subscription box that celebrates contemporary Black literature and authors. Curated by a real librarian, this subscription service will help you build your own collection of quality Black literature. Each month, a box will be delivered to your door that contains a book along with a custom spine label and catalog card for your organizational purposes. You’ll also receive a few bookish and library-related items that pertain to that month’s book and theme.”

The lovely Jamillah, founder of Call Number, sent me the January box, and I absolutely love it! So let’s unbox it, and see if you do too…

The theme for this box was: Homeland (this box is a celebration of Haiti and its resilience)

So what was inside:

Open box

Presentation is key, and I love how neatly packaged all the items were – packaged securely too, as this box travelled from the US to the UK and not one item was damaged or came out of its wrapping. And I loved the personalised note from Jamillah that was included.

I’m a huge fan of promo items/extras, so I was instantly pleased to see they were included in this box. Also, I loved the detailed description explaining the items that were chosen for this box, and on the reserve it was designed for you to record your thoughts on the book. And, I thought I’d include in the photo, the card announcing the next months theme because I thought it was a very cool way to introduce it – I love when curators think about the little things as they add to the overall experience.


Besides the book, this stunning print is my favourite item in the box. This ‘Tent City’ collage print by Mirlande Jean-Gilles pays homage to the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. I will certainly be checking out more of this artist’s work, I really want to laminate this print to protect it from damage, that’s the extent of my love for it!

Print and authors

The author item in this box is the “Squad goals” sticker featuring four queens of African American literature. This item is a win! Next up, the ‘Espwa Fe Viv’ print which means “hope makes us live” in Haitian Creole –  another print to add to my ‘wall of print’ – granted it’s not as pretty as the one pictured above but I love the message.

Key chain, badge, paperclip

The last Haitian themed item in the box is a DIY bead keychain. I must admit, I though this item was broken when I first saw it, haha, the beads are handmade by Haitian artisans – I shall channel my inner creative artist and put it together very soon. The library item in this months box is the “libraries save lives” badge, I love the curators reason for including it “simply because who can argue with that?” And I found another extra in this book paperclip 🙂

The book:

Mouths Don’t Speak by Katia D. Ulysse

Mouths Don't Speak - Katie D. Ulysse

No one was prepared for the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, taking over a quarter-million lives, and leaving millions of others homeless. Three thousand miles away, Jacqueline Florestant mourns the presumed death of her parents, while her husband, a former US Marine and combat veteran, cares for their three-year-old daughter as he fights his own battles with acute PTSD.

Horrified and guilt-ridden, Jacqueline returns to Haiti in search of the proverbial “closure.” Unfortunately, the Haiti she left as a child twenty-five years earlier has disappeared. Her quest turns into a tornado of deception, desperation, and more death. So Jacqueline holds tightly to her daughter–the only one who must not die.


As you can see, the book is very much in keeping with the theme. I hadn’t heard of this novel before but I love the sound of it and think it will be a very powerful read. The author was born in Haiti so this is indeed, an “own voices” book, and will count as my #ReadTheWorld book for Haiti.


The complete box

Complete Box

Note: Although it doesn’t appear in any of the pictures, I did receive a catalogue card.

So would I subscribe:

If I lived in America, I 100% would subscribe. The monthly price for this subscription is $29.99, which according to google is £25.86 – arguably a bit on the pricey side considering two of the main items were prints but I want to read more back literature and this box would be the ideal way for me to discover new books, so for that reason alone, I would. I looked the book, Mouths Don’t Speak, up on Amazon and it cost £13.99 for the paperback, so if you take that away from the total, the remaining items cost £11.87, and that doesn’t seem to bad to me at all.

Call Number do ship internationally. But, sadly, I still have to pass it up, because while I’m incredibly grateful to have won this box, and I love all the items, I had to pay a £16 customs charge. As this was a giveaway win, I looked at it as the opportunity to try Call Number for cheaper than the sale price but if I had paid for the box, international shipping and then had to pay customs charges on top of that, I would have been incredibly annoyed. The competition hosts did offer to reimburse me the fee for the charge as it was a prize, which I though was incredibly kind so thank you Chandra – @wherethereadergrows and Emily @book.happy but no reimbursement needed 🙂

So, if you are interested in this box and live outside of the US, I would advise checking to see if you would have to pay any customs charges and, if so, how much.

Overall, I love the concept of this box, bringing together a love of libraries and black literature. Thank you to Jamillah for choosing a fantastic backlist box to send me.

Everything you need to know about Call Number can be found on their website.

7 thoughts on “Book Box Unboxing: Call Number (backlist box – January 2018)

  1. Goodness! A £16 custom charge on a box valued at £26 sounds incredibly steep! What a shame – that would really make it far too pricy for international customers. Otherwise it looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the customs charge was real bummer! It didn’t even enter my mind and I bought a different book box arriving in August, and it’s based in the US too, so I’m dreading being hit with another charge. I will definitely be sticking to UK/EU boxes from now on.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, they are all usually overpriced for what you get, and the majority are YA boxes and I don’t love YA enough to get surprise books 😂 damn international shipping!


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