I took this picture on Monday afternoon. I arrived in Seattle earlier that morning (for some Pacific Northwest readings–Portland tonight!) and within two hours of landing I found myself rifling through the children’s section of a used bookstore at Pike’s Place Market. When I found these titles I pretty much had no choice but to buy them. An old-school Babysitters Club cover is not easy to come by.
I know. I’ve tried.
I loved all the Sweet Valley books when I was a kid, but The Babysitter’s Club were It. I collected the whole series—Super Specials included, obvs—and lined them up by number on their very own shelf. I still credit the BSC as some of my earliest exposure to just how great a friendship can be. Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey and Dawn (and later Mallory, Jesse and—ugh—Abby) were the truest of true BFFs. I wanted to be exactly like them. (My own best friend and I even tried to start our own club… not as easy as the Stonybrook Girls make it seem.)
Two years ago, when Scholastic rereleased the first two BSC books—and a new prequel—I wrote a blog post devoted to my favorite childhood series. “The BSC was a fearsome foursome long before anyone had ever heard of Carrie Bradshaw and her merry band of horny pals,” I wrote. “Over the course of the series…I developed an expectation of what friendship should be.”
So imagine my joy when I got an email later that afternoon from a publicist at Scholastic. Did I want to interview Ann M. Martin for my blog?
Um, did I? DID I?
And that’s how I found myself two weeks later, sitting at the lobby of The Sheraton Hotel with the woman who, in some small way, is responsible for my first book. The woman who taught me that best friends are forever, or at least should last through middle school. The woman who created characters who I—and so many girls like me—pretty much worshipped. Oh, to be as cool and creative as Claudia. Or as cosmopolitan as Stacey. Or to have an actual boyfriend, like Mary Anne. (Logan! Swoon.)
I asked Ann M. Martin about friendship (“I think maybe a best friend is somebody you feel comfortable enough to have a fight with, and then make up with”), the success of the 213-book series (“It was supposed to be a four-book miniseries—one book about each of the main characters”), and her recommended reading list for kids (The Invention of Hugo Cabret; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry).
And then I just about died.
I had just met Ann M. Martin.
Screw Kirk Cameron or Jordan Knight. If you were born in the early ’80s, this was the celebrity run-in of your dreams.
Were you a Babysitters Club fan? Is there a childhood series that you similarly hoarded? Would you have just died if you met the author?