Literature: The Baby-Sitters Club
aka: The Babysitters Club
Highly successful and popular series of books aimed at pre-teen girls, about a group of kids who run a club that offers their services as babysitters
. The series was written by Ann M. Martin and published between 1986 and 2000. It also inspired a 1995 film, a TV series and several spinoffs. Every story was told from the first-person perspective of the protagonist, and began with a description of the rest of the club members.
In most of the books, the title club consisted of:
- Kristy Thomas - Rags to Riches tomboy with an endless supply of "Great Ideas"
- Claudia Kishi - Japanese-American, artistic, defied the "Model Minority" stereotype by being hopeless at school
- Stacey McGill - stylish kid from New York, resident math whiz, but most importantly...diabetic. Dun dun dun.
- Mary Anne Spier - Author Avatar and Kristy's shy best friend
- Dawn Schafer - stereotypical "California girl," becomes Mary Anne's stepsister. Eventually leaves to be replaced by Abby, and gets her own spinoff series.
- Mallory Pike - wannabe writer who comes from a huge family
- Jessi Ramsey - the token black kid, aspiring ballerina
- Abby Stevenson - Final and latest Sixth Ranger; Jewish, twin, asthmatic, athlete, prone to cracking jokes that are So Bad, It's Good
Secondary characters included:
- Janine Kishi - Claudia's genius older sister, alternately a source of frustration and support, but she wants to be supportive. Narrates in a Super Special.
- Charlie Thomas - Kristy's responsible oldest brother, who often drives her and her friends around in exchange for gas money from the club dues.
- Sam Thomas - Kristy's second-oldest brother, who often prank calls the club meetings and has a semi-mutual crush on Stacey. Narrates in a Super Special.
- Karen Brewer - Kristy's little stepsister and a member of her softball team. Title character of the "Baby-Sitters Little Sister" series.
- Jeff Schafer - Dawn's younger brother, whose homesickness for California and acting out was a running subplot between #9-#15. Narrates in a couple Super Specials.
- Logan Bruno - Mary Anne's boyfriend from Kentucky and part-time club member. Narrates two "Special Edition Reader's Request" books and in several Super Specials.
- Shannon Kilbourne - Part-time club member and rich-kid friend of Kristy. Narrates a "Special Edition Reader's Request" book and in a couple Super Specials.
- Cokie Mason - Popular girl who was a rival to most of the club, who often attempted to win Logan away from Mary Anne
- Laine Cummings - Stacey's best friend from New York.
- Sunny Winslow - Dawn's best friend from California. A main character of the "California Diaries" series and source of much of the drama.
- Anna Stevenson - Abby's identical twin sister.
There were at least three spinoff series: Baby-Sitter's Little Sister
(about Kristy's seven-year-old stepsister, Karen); California Diaries
(about Dawn and her friends in California); and Friends Forever
(in which the club was reduced to its original four members). As well as these and the main series, there were additional Mysteries
, autobiographical, and Super Specials
books. Little Sister
also had its own spinoff, The Kids In Ms. Colman's Class.
As you might suspect, many of the books were ghostwritten, although Martin wrote the original 35 books herself.
A prequel, The Summer Before
, was released more recently, about the original four club members the summer before seventh grade and their lives right before they started the club, to coincide with the books being reissued.
The books provide examples of: