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To: My Fans!
From: Ann

January 2007

Hi, readers! It’s been over six years since the members of the Baby-sitters Club graduated from middle school and I said goodbye to a series that had been a major part of my writing life for fifteen years. As much as I loved creating new adventures for the BSC members over such a long span of time, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing for new characters in new settings and in an entirely different time period.

So when my former BSC editor, David Levithan, approached me about the possibility of writing a new series, I initially said no. “But Ann,” he said, “we’ll come up with a writing schedule that works for you.” I hesitated. “How about if we set the novels in a small New England town? You know you love small towns,” said David. Well, yes, I do love small towns. But still I hesitated. “And how about centering the series around a sewing store in town? You know you love to sew.” Okay, now I was hooked. David’s right. I love sewing, smocking, knitting, embroidering, and cross-stitching. And I certainly have first-hand knowledge of small town life since I’ve lived in a small town in upstate New York for many years now. I’ve always been drawn to the character, pace, and history that small town life provides, and intrigued by the ways in which the lives of the townspeople are interconnected. The chance to create my own fictional New England town, complete with many residents, each with a story to tell, was too good to turn down.

Welcome to Camden Falls, the first book in the Main Street series, introduces the reader to eleven-year-old Flora Northrop and her sister, nine-year-old Ruby, who have come to Camden Falls to live with their maternal grandmother, Min, after the death of their parents. Min is the co-owner of Needle and Thread, a sewing store on Main Street. Needle and Thread sells fabrics and patterns and holds sewing classes, but it’s more than just a sewing store. It has comfortable couches for customers who drop in for a chat with anyone else in the shop, and there’s always a fresh pot of coffee going. Min still lives in the house she grew up in, and where she raised the girls’ mother. Her house is different from the usual colonials and old Victorians that line the streets in town because she lives in one of eight three-story attached homes known locally as the Row Houses. Built in 1882, they are the only houses of their kind in Camden Falls. Flora and Ruby pass the summer months in their new town making friends with the other residents in the Row Houses and helping their grandmother at Needle and Thread, all the while coping with the loss of their parents, each in her own way.

Welcome to Camden Falls will be published this May, followed by three more titles over the next few months. You might be interested to know that at year’s end, everyone will be a year older. Now that’s something that never happened in the BSC books. It’ll be fun for me to watch the characters change and grow, just like in real life. The possibilities are endless! I’m happy that David encouraged me to take on this project, and I’m very excited that my readers will get to know the characters and the town that I’ve come to love. Camden Falls turns out to be a welcoming place for two lost girls who are seeking new roots and old connections.

Happy reading!

Love, Ann

P.S. Scholastic is planning an online home for Main Street, including an interactive map of Camden Falls, a downloadable scrapbook and craft ideas section, a contest for readers, and some tips from each of the characters. Enjoy!