There For You Then, There For You Now
The Baby-sitters Club welcomes a new generation of readers
After an exciting, exhilarating, and unexpected fifteen years of writing the Baby-sitters Club books, it was with mixed feelings that I ended the series in 2000 with the members of the BSC moving onto high school in Graduation Day.
After the series ended, I noticed that in addition to getting letters from children about how much they enjoyed the books, I was getting quite a bit of fan mail from people in their 20s and 30s who had read the books when they were younger. They were nostalgic for the books of their childhood, and in many cases, they wrote about the influence the series had on their lives. It was heartwarming to learn that many of my original readers had grown up and become English majors, writers, teachers, librarians, bloggers, and editors as a result of their early love of the BSC books.
Some of these readers wrote to say that they had become parents, and that they were excited to share their love of the series with their children. Since the BSC books were no longer being published, many of them were trying to find original copies through online sites, used bookstores, or yard sales. I was touched by the strong desire of the original readers to pass on to the next generation the stories that had meant so much to them when they were children.
I've also had the opportunity to hear from my readers through social media. And in large numbers, they let me know how much they love the original covers from their childhood. Scholastic listened to what these loyal fans wanted, and I'm happy to share the news that the BSC books are back - in eBook format! This month, December, marked the eBook release of the first twenty books, with the original and classic covers fans requested. (Note: because the technology used at the time did not allow for reprinting of the original 1985-1987 covers, books 1-7 will have the classic covers by BSC artist Hodges Soileau from the 1990s re-printings. Books 8-20, however, will have the original covers from their first printings.)
As for me, I'm pleased that through eBooks, we have a fabulous, 21st century way to bring the books back for parents and children alike to share. I'm thrilled to reconnect with original readers, and get to know a new generation of BSC fans.
When I look back at the Baby-sitters Club series, I think that the popularity of the books stemmed from the strength of the main characters - young, very independent girls who ran a successful baby-sitting business. The girls had adults they could count on if necessary, but by and large, they solved problems by themselves, they stuck up for themselves, and they demonstrated over and over again what friendship meant to them. These themes resonate as well today as they did when the series first started. It's an honor to know that the books that started out on my readers' bookshelves have now found another home on their eReaders.