Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Former Favorites: The Baby-Sitters Club

I recently decided that I'd like to start my own weekly feature for the blog called Former Favorites in which I highlight series or standalone books that I loved as a child. First up:

The Baby-Sitters Club (Say hello to your friends!)

I read my first BSC book in second grade at the recommendation of my teacher, Mrs. Jones, who always encouraged me to read as much as possible. I was in an advanced reading group at school and she told me that even though the BSC books were meant for older kids, she thought I could handle them. As a second grader reading books with a reading level of fourth grade (or RL 4), I thought I was the shit.

Those books were like crack to me and soon an obsession was born. My elementary library had a ton of the BSC books and I read them all very quickly. My mom bought me a few but since I read them so fast, she started refusing the spend the money on them, so I got a lot from the library and used book sales, or would just read them in an hour at the bookstore. Side note: my elementary school that I attended from first to third grade did a book fair every year in which students and teachers brought in used books to sell. Paperbacks were 25 cents and hardcovers maybe 50 cents. My mom used to give me five dollars and it was essentially the greatest day of my life. I could get 20 paperbacks for five dollars! I loved it.

Anyway, I loved those books and those characters. I loved that the girls (and Logan) would write a journal entry for each job. I memorized everyone's handwriting and used to write down their names and club position all the time, in each person's specific handwriting. Honestly, I could probably still do it. Those girls were my bookish life for probably three to four years and I worshiped at the altar of Ann M. Martin. I wanted to be Dawn and Stacey, who were so effortlessly cool, while I was a nerdy kid who wore denim overalls and giant t-shirts.

Looking back, I'm grateful that I read all the BSC books, mysteries, Super Specials, and the autobiography books (not to mention the Little Sister series, but let's save that for another post). Not only did they begin my obsession with reading, but each book has its own little lesson about growing up. We learned that it's ok to just be yourself and that your friends will accept you for who you are. The BSC taught me that it was ok to be a little bossy and headstrong like Kristy, sensitive like Mary Ann, artsy like Claudia, fashionable like Stacey, healthy like Dawn, a graceful dancer like Jessi, a writer like Mallory, an opposite of your twin like Abby, and then whatever Logan and Shannon were supposed to be.

So thanks, Baby-sitters Club, for starting my journey to becoming the bookish person that I am...although I could have done without the chapter in every book about how the club started. Always skipped that one.

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