Any person who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s knows about The Baby-Sitters Club. It was a hugely popular Scholastic novel series written by Ann A. Martin which started out as a four-book series and spiraled into an entire franchise with 213 novels in total, a spin-off HBO show and movie. The books followed the lives of a group of friends who ran a local babysitting service. It covered all kinds of common teenage problems like sibling rivalry, peer pressure, jealousy, parents, divorce, etc. We’re taking a walk down memory lane with these 10 things you probably didn’t know about The Baby-Sitters Club series!
Scholastic editor Jean Feiwel was the one who came up with the idea to create The Baby-Sitters Club book series. The idea came to her when she joined Scholastic in 1983 and came across a book called Ginny’s Babsitting Job. She noticed how successful the book was despite having “a rotten cover” and being buried in the book club’s catalog. “I thought, it must be something about baby-sitting because it’s not something about Ginny or the cover,” said Feiwel. She approached her former colleague Ann M. Martin with the idea and the rest is history! “All I gave Ann was a glimmer of an idea — a series about a babysitters club. She came up with everything else.”
One of the reasons the book series became so popular was because readers really related to the characters, and that was because the creators drew from real life experiences. She based a lot of the characters off her own real life friendships; for example Mary Anne and Kristy were based on Martin and her childhood friend, Beth. “We started a number of clubs and they were all her idea. They lasted for about two days, but it was like the old Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movies: ‘Hey, let’s start a club.’ We’d meet in Beth’s room, eat cookies and then go home,” said Martin in an interview with The Washington Post. On the other hand, the character of Claudia is named after Martin’s friend Claudia Werner, and the Perkins girls were based off her goddaughters. “As adults, they tell me that it’s a lot of fun for them to look back and read about the characters that were inspired by them,” said Martin in an interview with Scholastic.
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