Reluctant No More: Getting Kids to Love Reading

Do you have a reluctant reader at home? A kid who would rather do just about anything than stick his or her nose in a book? Perhaps she’s overwhelmed by the thought of a chapter book. Maybe he’s completely disinterested in books other kids his age are reading. Have no fear. Blue Baboon Books is here to raise your kids from reluctant to robust readers!

Get them reading! It truly does not matter what they’re reading, so long as they’re reading. It’s okay to say yes to Minecraft handbooks, magazines, and comic books. Whatever they read, they are building vocabulary, learning sentence structure, expanding their imagination, and improving their capacity to comprehend. It’s better that they read Dan TDM’s “Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal” than to watch Dan TDM on YouTube. And it’s not just sufficient, but it’s valuable. The most important thing you can do to encourage your child to be a reader is to get them to read and support them in their reading endeavors. Dan TDM’s book might lead to books on computer programming, adventure novels, and a world of possibilities. Let them read what they want, and they will learn to enjoy reading.

Graphic and illustrated novels are amazing opportunities to bring reluctant readers to the table … or the library or bookstore, so to speak. Too many times I hear graphic novels dismissed as “not real books.” Au contraire! Graphic novels are an excellent bridge for kids moving from picture books into novels. And in recent years, graphic novels have upped their games with compelling story lines, witty humor, and gorgeous art. The graphic elements throughout these gems make chapter books less overwhelming, breaking up the words-words-words with clever and creative illustrations. A few popular graphic novels include …

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid“: There are 11 titles in this series, which centers around Greg and his general awkwardness.
  • Dork Diaries“: Another tale about the awkwardness of middle school, this time from a female protagonist. Choose from 11 titles, plus one do-it-yourself journal.
  • Again, Dan TDM’s “Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal“: This YouTube sensation comes to life in this full-color graphic novel.
  • Big Nate“: Tales of mischief and misadventure.
  • Raina Telgemeier explores the world of school, family, drama, crushes, and friendship in her beloved graphic novels:

It’s okay to read easy books. Parents might get frustrated that their child can read at a fifth-grade level, but he’s only interested in third-grade books. That’s okay. It could be a maturity thing, in that he relates more to third-grade materials. It could also be a matter of comfort. If she’s reading a book for enjoyment, she should actually enjoy it. If she’s struggling through it, not understanding the vocabulary or plot, or just not connecting … she’s going to feel discouraged and give up. Just because a child can read at a fifth-grade level doesn’t mean she wants to read at a fifth-grade level. Again, if we want kids to enjoy reading, we have to let them read books they enjoy.

Pass the book buck. My oldest son is a bit of a reading rebel. He doesn’t like to read what mom recommends. Never mind that mom owns a bookstore and reads about 100 books a year for fun. I’ve been told “Mom, you don’t know what’s modern.” Sigh … But I do know that there are people in his life who, if they said it was cool to jump off a bridge into the piranha-infested Amazon, he’d do it. So I’m not above nudging others to recommend a book that I think he’d like.

Rule out any learning challenges. If your child truly doesn’t seem to excel at reading, check with his or her teacher. She might, in fact, be struggling with an un-diagnosed learning disability. Getting a diagnosis and intervention will be key to overcoming this challenge.

A few of my personal favorites for reluctant readers:

  • Return to Augie Hobble“: New Mexico middle-schooler Augie Hobble grapples with adolescence, paranormal mysteries, an overdue Creative Arts project and heartbreaking loss while working at his father’s theme park, Fairy Tale Place.
  • Matchstick Castle“: Eleven-year-old Brian’s summer turns out a lot less boring than expected when he encounters a huge, wacky house in the forest and befriends the eccentric family that lives there.
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret“: Living in the walls of a busy Paris train station in 1931, clock keeper and orphan Hugo Cabret must constantly work to keep his secrets safe, but when an inquisitive girl and an old man who owns a toy store begin probing, he must do all he can to keep them at a safe distance.
  • Coraline“: Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.
  • Frazzled“: Struggling with a family that does not understand her and a cafeteria full of corrupt lunch ladies, drama-prone Abbie Wu throws freak-out tantrums in her struggle to figure out who she is, where she belongs and how she is supposed to survive the everyday disasters of growing up.
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon“: Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinarymagic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge onschedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

Blue Baboon Books for Wichita Public Schools!

Mobile bookstore to give 10% of all online sales to USD 259

March 15, 2017 – As part of its dedication to education and the community, Blue Baboon Books has committed 10 percent of its online sales from its retail website to Wichita Public Schools.

“As a business owner who works closely with the schools and as a mom of two children in Wichita schools, I am honored to be a part of this community,” said Sara Ornelas, owner of Blue Baboon Books. “I am awed by teachers’ devotion to their students and their jobs. They are an amazing group of resourceful and dedicated professionals. I am grateful for the opportunity to help.”

Customers, friends, and family can order from its retail website from anywhere in the continental United States, and get free shipping.

In addition to 10 percent of its online sales, individual schools also can also earn books or fundraising dollars from Blue Baboon Books through book fairs. Based on the sales from their fairs, schools can earn up to 43 percent of the sales in brand new books or 23 percent of the sales in cash. For complete details on book fair rewards, visit

Blue Baboon Books is a Wichita-based mobile children’s and young adult bookstore, which specializes in low-maintenance book fairs for public schools, private schools, and preschools. Additionally, Blue Baboon Books takes its mobile store to area food truck rallies, fairs, expos, and festivals.

Think Spring.

It’s important to keep kids’ minds stimulated during school breaks. Being out of school for a week doesn’t mean that their brains have to be on vacation, too!

If your organization or school will be doing spring break childcare, consider inviting Blue Baboon Books to do a book fair. You can earn up to 43% of the sales in brand-new books or 23% of the sales in cash!

Learn more about Blue Baboon Books book fairs and events.

If you’re interested in getting on our calendar, contact Sara Ornelas at or (316) 413-2400.

Sizzling Summer Book Fairs

Schedule a summer book fair with Blue Baboon Books!
Sports camps, day camps, academic camps, latchkey programs, or childcare centers can encourage summer reading for their kids with Blue Baboon Books! Our book fairs are fun for families and an easy way for your organization to earn fundraising dollars or free books.

   Total Amount of Sales       Blue Baboon Bucks*               Cash           
$1000 or less 20% 10%
$1001 to $1500 25% 12%
$1501-$2500 30% 15%
$2501 or more 40% 20%

Blue Baboon book fairs and events are super easy and low-maintenance for you. No setup. No volunteer coordination. No minimum sales. All you’ll need to do is clear a spot in your parking lot for the mobile store!

We’re putting together our summer calendar, and we’d love to include your organization. Schedule your summer book fair or event with Blue Baboon Books. Contact Sara Ornelas at or (316) 413-2400.

*Blue Baboon Bucks can be used toward any items in the Blue Baboon Books mobile store or at One Blue Baboon Buck = $1.

Rewards just got real!

Better book fairs, better rewards!

Blue Baboon Books has increased its rewards program to give schools the opportunity to earn even more books or cash! Schools can now earn up to 42% of their sales in brand-new books! The new rewards structure is as follows:

Total Amount of Sales Blue Baboon Bucks* Cash
$1000 or less 20% 10%
$1001 to $1500 25% 12%
$1501-$2500 30% 15%
$2501 or more 40% 20%

Additionally, schools can earn an extra 2% in Blue Baboon Bucks or cash when they book an additional Blue Baboon Books event or book fair within six months of the initial event!

What are the advantages of a Blue Baboon Books mobile book fair or family engagement event?

  • No volunteer coordination.
  • No setup.
  • No minimum sales.
  • Blue Baboon Books is a local Wichita-based small business. Not only will your school get great rewards, but all profits earned by Blue Baboon Books stay local, going to schools and other local businesses. Shopping local makes Wichita stronger!
To schedule a Blue Baboon Books book fair or event, contact Sara Ornelas at or (316) 413-2400.
*Blue Baboon Bucks can be used toward any items in the Blue Baboon Books mobile store or at One Blue Baboon Buck = $1.

Oh, baby! Books for new parents and babies …

Behind hugs and snuggles, books were probably my most useful parenting tools when my boys were little. When we had a busy or tantrum-filled day, a little “Green Eggs and Ham” always helped us to reboot and reconnect. When fevers or sniffles invaded our home, Little Critter and Franklin always gave us some relaxing snuggle time. At bedtime, “Goodnight, Moon” and “The Going to Bed Book” were helpful in winding down. We must have read thousands upon thousands of books.

Today my boys are a bit bigger, we still read chapter books out loud to each other, but I will always cherish our time our rocking chair reading and rhyming and singing and giggling.

You can create those moments for you and your baby, too. Or maybe you know someone who’s expecting. Create a registry at Blue Baboon Books, and you can build a lovely library for baby!

A few tips on early reading ….

  • It’s never too early to start reading. The earlier, the better. I started reading to my little ones the day they came home from the hospital. Early reading stimulates language development, but more importantly reading to baby helps baby associate affection with books. That association will create a lifelong warm fuzzy feeling with literature.
  • You don’t have to read boring books. Read books that you like. It’s okay if they’re above your child’s comprehension. Just hearing the cadence of the words is helpful. I mean, I don’t recommend “Fifty Shades of Gray” or anything, but there are some quality kids books that are fun for parents to read.
  • Keep books where baby can reach them as he or she becomes mobile. And to avoid damaging books, stick to board books. They’re sturdy!
  • Make reading part of your baby’s daily routine. Make it a point to read before bedtime, before or after nap time, or after meals.

Get all the books baby needs at Blue Baboon Books. Check out the lists of Best Baby Shower Books and Best Bedtime Books, and create a gift registry to let people know. If you’re buying books for an expectant couple, add the basket package to your order to make your gift extra special!

Blue Baboon Books in the Schools

One of the best things about Blue Baboon Books is working with schools on book fairs and events. I get to meet some amazing kiddos and their families, which gives me so much optimism about the future of our world. Whenever I hear someone rant about “Kids these days …,” followed by some generalized complaint about youth being lazy or unmotivated or spoiled or blah-blah-blah, I have to wonder what focus group was used; because the kids I meet are brilliant, boisterous, curious, enthusiastic, polite, empathetic, thoughtful, and inspirational.

Thumbs up to the village raising each child … mom, dad, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, mentors, and random strangers. You’re doing a good job with this generation.

I also love being able to give something back to the schools, teachers, and classrooms. For each event or book fair at the school, schools earn rewards: 10% of the sales in cash or 20% of the sales in brand-new books! It feels good to be able to give something to all the hardworking teachers and administrators who do so much for our kids! If your school, PTO, or PTA is interested in scheduling a book fair or event with Blue Baboon Books, contact Sara Ornelas (me) at or (316) 413-2400; or fill out the form below.


It’s the boss’ birthday. You get the gifts.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of my 23rd birthday, we’re offering 20 percent off all books in the Sara’s Favorite’s list through Jan. 31.

Use coupon code SARA20 at checkout to redeem this discount. 


I absolutely love to read. I mean, obviously … I started a bookstore to make my addiction tax deductible. I probably read about 100 books a year. Maybe more. Maybe a bit less.

Some are okay. Some are good. And some become part of my soul. They move me. They’ve changed my life and the way I look at the world. I often reread these because I miss the characters, who feel like old friends.

Those are the books that are on Sara’s Favorite’s list. They fit into several categories: little ones all the way through a few grown-up books. They’re books that I want to share with you, because I know you’ll love them as much as I do.

And this week only, I want to give you a bit of extra incentive to read them: 20 percent off! Read well, my friends!

Literary Love for Valentine’s Day

Turn a favorite book into a celebration of literary love! Add this package to any book on the Blue Baboon Books website, and we’ll wrap it up in a sweet Valentine basket and deliver it to your love. Baskets include a plush toy, candy, and variety of Valentine’s trinkets (an assortment of pens, pencils, or writing pads) — all wrapped up in loving decor.


  1. Add the VALENTINE’S PACKAGE to your shopping cart.
  2. Pick out a book that your loved one will enjoy, and add it to your shopping cart. It doesn’t have to be a lovey-dovey book. It can be any book you think the recipient will enjoy.
  3. Pay for your items through the online checkout process.
  4. Add the details on when and where you’d like the package delivered in the NOTES section when you check out. Additionally, include a few words for the card.  (Please note: Some schools do not allow packages delivered to students, so please check with your child’s school if that’s where you’d like the package delivered.)
All baskets and books must be ordered by 5 p.m. Feb. 7. 
Any questions? Call (316) 413-2400.


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