Thursday, January 28, 2010
Welcome Back, Baby-sitters Club!
My inner 10-year-old self did a little jump for joy when I saw this article about the plans for a prequel and a relaunch of the Baby-sitters Club series in the Dec. 31 New York Times!
It was hard to find a ”tween” (though we didn’t have that expression yet) in the ‘80’s who didn’t totally dig the Baby-sitters Club. We weren’t as sophisticated as girls are today—no Twilight or Jonas Brothers for us!—but somehow, I think these books were a little better. Ann M. Martin included characters that all girls could relate to. There was a leader (Kristy), a quiet, bookish type (Mary Ann), a sophisticated city girl (Stacey), the artsy gal (Claudia), the California girl/health food queen (Dawn), the wannabe children’s author (Mallory) and the dancer (Jessi). The girls taught us about friendship, responsibility, the importance of being yourself, and they tackled some pretty heavy-duty issues. I remember that Stacey was a diabetic. One of the kids they sat for was autistic, and that was the first time I’d ever heard of that condition. They also talked about death and dying, divorce, stepparents, first love, and a host of other things that were totally alien to us, but helped prepare us for when we had to deal with them in our own lives.
I know I spent my elementary school years zipping through each new book when it came out—I even moved on to the Little Sister series. Now that I think about it, I owe a lot to the Baby-sitters Club. I can trace my love of reading back to those books (and Sweet Valley High/Twins, of course), and I modeled many of my earliest stories after the plotlines in the books. I even developed an early entrepreneurial streak thanks to the girls in the BSC. I tried to start a baby-sitting service of my own, but only made a few dollars. Even with my handwritten fliers made from construction paper, I was only in the baby-sitting viz for a short time.
I’m so excited to see that they’re bringing these books back! I have some great memories of reading each new book and wondering what Ms. Martin was going to talk about next.
Were there any favorite books from childhood that have left a lasting impact on you?