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Letters from Ann
To: My Fans!
From: Ann
The Summer Before

April 2010

Hi, readers!

It's hard to believe that it's been almost twenty-five years since the publication of the first Baby-sitters Club book, Kristy's Great Idea. In that book, readers were introduced to the town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut, and to the original members of the BSC -- Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill. When the final book, Graduation Day, was published in 2000, I said goodbye to characters that had been an important part of my life for many years.

After the series ended, I continued to receive letters from fans who were faithfully following the adventures of the BSC in over 200 titles, but who were having difficulty finding the books. Many of the letters were from adults who had enjoyed the series when they were kids and wanted to introduce the stories to their own children and students. So Scholastic decided to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Baby-sitters Club by relaunching the series. I thought it would be fun if a new book about the BSC was published at the same time, and Scholastic agreed. I had lots of ideas for a sequel, including stories about the members of the BSC in high school, in college, or perhaps all grown-up with careers and families of their own.

After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that what appealed to me most was writing about the characters before they started the Baby-sitters Club, and in particular, the summer before they entered seventh grade. I wanted to write about the events in the girls' lives that drew them together and cemented their friendships. To prepare for writing this story, I spent several months rereading the early BSC books, taking lots of notes and getting a better sense of the challenges each character was facing. Kristy missed her father, Mary Anne desperately wanted more freedom and responsibility, Claudia felt out of place in her family and among her friends, and Stacey was the new girl in town with a secret. But by September of seventh grade, they came together to form a baby-sitting business – and a bond strong enough to carry them through the toughest of times.

For many readers, The Summer Before will be a chance to go back in time and visit old friends. And for first-time readers, I hope that Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey will become your new friends. From them and from me, welcome to the BSC and to Stoneybrook, Connecticut!

Happy Reading,
Ann

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