It started with one book – and has turned into a series beloved my several generations of readers – The Baby-Sitters Club.
Starting with an idea from an editor at Scholastic Books, writer Ann M. Martin developed the first book, which was to be the first of a four book series.
The main characters are Kristin known as Kristy (president), Claudia (vice president), Mary Anne (secretary), and Anastasia known as Stacey (Treasurer) while Dawn, Mallory, Jessica, Abigail, Logan, and Shannon are also members of the club. (alternate officers).
The girls are all 13 years old and live in upper middle class Stoneybrook, a fictional town near Stamford, Conneticut, where many of the adults go to work.
Each book focuses on one of the main characters, the kids they take care of as baby-sitters as well as a typical teen girl side plot like dealing with parents or siblings, vacations, school issues, dating, boys, responsibility, independence and all the drama of being a teenage girls.
Little did Scholastic know that the series would strike like wildfire and that after book six, printings were increased to 100,000 and the series was to be expanded from the initial plans for four books to 12 books.
Starting in 1986 with Kristy’s Great Idea, Martin would write 35 more titles, with the additional books in the series ghostwritten by several writers, but over 40 written by Peter Lerangis. The series now includes over 200 titles.
The series proved so popular that is spawned many additional series – the Super Specials, Super Mysteries and Special Edition Readers Requests as well as companion series such as Baby-Sitters Little Sisters, California Diaries and graphic novels.
Still publishing in the 21st century, the series is for mainly written for tweens – those girls who aren’t children and not yet teenagers – and yet are beloved by so many for the fun and laughter, as well as the tips for growing up.