When I was a kid, I was a pretty big reader. My dad was constantly reading newspapers and my mom was always taking me to the library to pick out books, as well as taking out piles of her own. One Christmas, when I was in second grade, Santa brought me a boxed set of the first four Baby-Sitters Club books and started an obsession.
I read them back to front pretty quickly, and couldn’t believe how much I related to those girls. Like Kristy, I liked baseball. Like Claudia, I loved art. Like Stacey, I loved New York. And like Mary Anne, I was sort of shy but organized and a good listener. Because the books were released in 1986, I had about 9 years of books of stories and characters to catch up on.
And my reading was changed forever. I brought the books with me on vacation and to my grandma’s house. I searched for them in the library and used book stores, I made checklists of what books I had so I could maintain a full collection,and I read them on Christmas morning when I was waiting for everyone to wake up. I even wrote Ann M. Martin a fan letter one day, and I got a very lovely response with a signed picture. I wanted to change my name to Dawn because, well, at the time, I liked it better than Estelle. I saw the movie with my best friends when it first came out and my dad even took me to the bookstore to meet some of the actresses who were starring in the movie!
As I got older and finally reached that desired age of 13, I still felt like all the BSC members were older and more mature than I was. They felt like big sisters and older cousins or something. Even though they were perpetually frozen in time in eighth grade (so cruel!) I looked up to them no matter how old I got. In high school, I was gobbling up the California Diaries series with one of my best friends. I loved how the girls were finally acting a bit older, dealing with darker situations (abuse, cancer, eating disorders, growing out of friendships) and then those ended abruptly. Around the same time, the BSC finally graduated middle school and I ran to the bookstore to pick up that book. The ever-illustrious series display was dwindling and barely looked like the place where I spent so much time.
I know I would never have become such an obsessive reader, a budding writer, or the kind of friend I’ve tried to be without the influence of Ann M. Martin and the Baby-Sitters. Every time I read through blogs and see another person influenced by these series, my heart feels a bit fuller because I know exactly how they feel and it’s amazing to see just how many people were touched by these characters. I’m even more thrilled that Scholastic has decided to re-release the series through eBooks with the original covers. (I was not a fan of the recent redesign, although I did love The Summer Before.) Now, brand new generations of guys and gals are going to get a chance to follow Kristy and the gang on their adventures and to me, that feels like a wonderful thing.
So today Rather Be Reading is celebrating the return of the Baby-Sitter’s Club and the kick off our themed holiday shopping lists!
1. The Summer Before: The really well-done prequel to The Baby-sitters Club series. It was nice to hear what the girls were up to the summer before they started the club.
2. Kristy’s Great Idea: The Graphic Novel: When I read Drama by Raina Telgemeier I was totally convinced that this reincarnation of the BSC was in the very best hands. Her drawings are amazing, and I love how this kind of book breaths new life into a 26 year-old book.
3. The Baby-Sitters Club Movie: Even though they took some liberties, I thought this was a pretty well-written and well casted movie. I loved the music, and could probably watch it over and over again. (Who doesn’t love that greenhouse office the girls work on?)
4. You Are So Loved Print from TheWheatfield Shop: It all comes down to love in his series: friends, parents, siblings, pets, romance, and more. Magan and I both have prints from this shop and love love them.
5. BSC notepads: How adorable are these little writing pads? You pick the character you want, and have a nostalgic notebook to throw in your purse. Love this as a stocking stuffer!
6. Kristy’s Great Idea (eBook): The brand sparkley new eBook, just released on December 1. The covers throwback to the original cover (although true fans will know it’s not really the original one) and the price is so right! ($4.99!)
7. Fossil Glitz Bracelet: I have been searching like crazy for an awesome friendship bracelet, and didn’t find much to be honest. I did just buy this bracelet for one of my best friends (she used to like the BSC too!) a few months ago, and I can’t help but think how sweet it would be to have a matching one.
Now, because I am desperate to know, who was your favorite Baby-sitter??