Why The Baby-Sitters Club Was the Perfect Y.A. Series

Image via Wikia

Does the sight of those block letters make your inner tween clap with glee, too? The first hundred (not even the entire collection) of these well-loved tomes are still stored in my parents’ attic. I distinctly remember going rogue in elementary school and sneak-reading one of the mystery off-shoots during class under my desk. Nowadays, kids usually have cell phones on their laps when they’re otherwise engaged.

If you spent your youth poring over the dozens of The Baby-Sitters Club books, you’ll know exactly why it was so wonderful to hang out with their main characters, middle-schoolers Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn.

Image via Sony Movie Channel

With writer Ann M. Martin’s texts as guidebooks, young girls were able to navigate the distance between childhood and adulthood in a positive way. Tweens could identify with the lead characters, proud to proclaim whether they were artsy Claudia, sporty Kristy, bookish Mary Anne, stylish Stacey, cool Dawn, or some combination thereof. Beyond these markers, they also found role model-worthy qualities like self-confidence, responsibility, and independence.

The Baby-Sitters Club adventures portray the ups and downs of adolescence at home and at school. We see the main girls build a business and work hard to maintain it, fall in and out of first loves, and forge strong female friendships to anchor them through it all. The Baby-Sitters Club and its offshoots — Mysteries, Super Specials, Little Sister, etc. — spawned whole generations of goal-oriented, problem-solving, business-minded ladies. They created lifelong readers.

Image via Scholastic

Since its inception in the ’80s, The Baby-Sitters Club series has circulated more than 176 million books, which were just relaunched in 2009. It also led to a movie in 1995 with Rachael Leigh Cook, Larisa Oleynik, and Schuyler Fisk, as well as a 1990 TV series.

So, which Baby Sitter were you? Do you have a most memorable book from the series?

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  1. Cory 08/14/2014 at 10:01 am #

    I was probably Mary Anne. I read these books constantly as a tween!

  2. ModAnna D. 08/14/2014 at 12:15 pm #

    I can’t remember what gal I was, but I certainly remember being obsessed with the books growing up!! <3

  3. Amber 08/14/2014 at 4:42 pm #

    I feel like I read all of these within a a month of knowing what they were. I actually just watched the movie on Netflix two days ago… Guilty pleasure!

  4. Peggy 08/15/2014 at 8:10 pm #

    I remember my mom getting my best friend and me the first “super special” book when I stayed with her family for a week one summer. I was so proud of being able to finish off a book in a day. I credit the series with growing a love of reading my parents started and giving me the power to enjoy books about girls (women) I could relate to.

  5. Randi 08/19/2014 at 12:18 pm #

    I always loved Claudia because there aren’t that many Asian characters out in the world but I never felt like I was cool and artsy enough to actually be her. Girl power! ????

  6. Julie M. 08/19/2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I was Mary Anne for sure. Shy, bookish, pretty good at my classes and preferred the company of teachers over students (I spent most of my time w/ adults as I was born quite a bit later after my brothers). I liked all of the girls quite a bit though and wished I could have been sophisticated like Stacey (and as good at math as her!), able to stand up for myself like Kristy when needed, able to be as good at art as Claudia and laid back like Dawn (and not be so worried about so many things).

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