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We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers

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“We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is the ultimate companion guide for a generation of devout superfans. This book revisits the beloved series through grown-up eyes—but never loses the magic we all felt the moment we cracked open a fresh new book. BSC forever!" —Lucia Aniello, director and executive producer of The Baby-Sitters Club Netflix series A nostalgia-packed, star-studde “We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is the ultimate companion guide for a generation of devout superfans. This book revisits the beloved series through grown-up eyes—but never loses the magic we all felt the moment we cracked open a fresh new book. BSC forever!" —Lucia Aniello, director and executive producer of The Baby-Sitters Club Netflix series A nostalgia-packed, star-studded anthology featuring contributors such as Kristen Arnett, Yumi Sakugawa, Myriam Gurba, and others exploring the lasting impact of Ann M. Martin’s beloved Baby-Sitters Club series In 1986, the first-ever meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club was called to order in a messy bedroom strewn with RingDings, scrunchies, and a landline phone. Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne launched the club that birthed an entire generation of loyal readers. Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club series featured a complex cast of characters and touched on an impressive range of issues that were underrepresented at the time: divorce, adoption, childhood illness, class division, and racism, to name a few. In We Are the Baby-Sitters Club, writers and a few visual artists from the original BSC generation will reflect on the enduring legacy of Ann M. Martin’s beloved series, thirty-five years later—celebrating the BSC’s profound cultural influence. Contributors include Paperback Crush author Gabrielle Moss, illustrator Siobhán Gallagher, and filmmaker Sue Ding, as well as New York Times bestselling author Kristen Arnett, Lambda Award–finalist Myriam Gurba, Black Girl Nerds founder Jamie Broadnax, and Paris Review contributor Frankie Thomas. One of LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021, We Are the Baby-Sitters Club looks closely at how Ann M. Martin’s series shaped our ideas about gender politics, friendship, fashion and beyond.


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“We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is the ultimate companion guide for a generation of devout superfans. This book revisits the beloved series through grown-up eyes—but never loses the magic we all felt the moment we cracked open a fresh new book. BSC forever!" —Lucia Aniello, director and executive producer of The Baby-Sitters Club Netflix series A nostalgia-packed, star-studde “We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is the ultimate companion guide for a generation of devout superfans. This book revisits the beloved series through grown-up eyes—but never loses the magic we all felt the moment we cracked open a fresh new book. BSC forever!" —Lucia Aniello, director and executive producer of The Baby-Sitters Club Netflix series A nostalgia-packed, star-studded anthology featuring contributors such as Kristen Arnett, Yumi Sakugawa, Myriam Gurba, and others exploring the lasting impact of Ann M. Martin’s beloved Baby-Sitters Club series In 1986, the first-ever meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club was called to order in a messy bedroom strewn with RingDings, scrunchies, and a landline phone. Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne launched the club that birthed an entire generation of loyal readers. Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club series featured a complex cast of characters and touched on an impressive range of issues that were underrepresented at the time: divorce, adoption, childhood illness, class division, and racism, to name a few. In We Are the Baby-Sitters Club, writers and a few visual artists from the original BSC generation will reflect on the enduring legacy of Ann M. Martin’s beloved series, thirty-five years later—celebrating the BSC’s profound cultural influence. Contributors include Paperback Crush author Gabrielle Moss, illustrator Siobhán Gallagher, and filmmaker Sue Ding, as well as New York Times bestselling author Kristen Arnett, Lambda Award–finalist Myriam Gurba, Black Girl Nerds founder Jamie Broadnax, and Paris Review contributor Frankie Thomas. One of LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021, We Are the Baby-Sitters Club looks closely at how Ann M. Martin’s series shaped our ideas about gender politics, friendship, fashion and beyond.

30 review for We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    For anyone who loved the BSC in their childhood (or adulthood, whatever), this is a collection of essays and other forms reflecting on the impact of this series. I was a 90s kid who had a babysitting kit and modified my handwriting after seeing some of theirs, which I hadn’t remembered until reading this! There are essays on sexuality, race, being a child of divorce, diabetes, fashion, social status, and more. I had a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss, and it came out July 6, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This was Marisa’s Great Idea... I jumped at the chance to team up with her on it and I’m so proud of the work we, and all our contributors, have done here. Baby-Sitters Club fans, we have so much tremendously good writing and art in store for you—from Kristen Arnett’s essay on role playing as BSC characters to Yumi Sakugawa’s homage to Claudia as an Asian American girl role model, from Kim Hutt Mayhew on BSC fashion to Kristen Felicetti on the series’s exploration of adoption—plus Logan Hughes o This was Marisa’s Great Idea... I jumped at the chance to team up with her on it and I’m so proud of the work we, and all our contributors, have done here. Baby-Sitters Club fans, we have so much tremendously good writing and art in store for you—from Kristen Arnett’s essay on role playing as BSC characters to Yumi Sakugawa’s homage to Claudia as an Asian American girl role model, from Kim Hutt Mayhew on BSC fashion to Kristen Felicetti on the series’s exploration of adoption—plus Logan Hughes on BSC fan fiction, Jamie Broadnax on the cover images’ colorism, Myriam Gurba on BSC economics and entrepreneurship, and SO MUCH MORE. Enjoy!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    If you love essays and art about The Baby-Sitters Club, this is your catnip. I loved it, and I found myself thinking about so many of the characters and stories in new ways. I was especially taken by "Let's Talk About Jessi" by Yodassa Williams and how Jessi experiences racism in not-subtle ways in Stoneybrook -- as well as how Mallory served as an ally in a way that wasn't seen in books for young readers, even though she's certainly imperfect and stumbles in that role. "Skin the Color of Cocoa" If you love essays and art about The Baby-Sitters Club, this is your catnip. I loved it, and I found myself thinking about so many of the characters and stories in new ways. I was especially taken by "Let's Talk About Jessi" by Yodassa Williams and how Jessi experiences racism in not-subtle ways in Stoneybrook -- as well as how Mallory served as an ally in a way that wasn't seen in books for young readers, even though she's certainly imperfect and stumbles in that role. "Skin the Color of Cocoa" by Jamie Broadeauz was a fascinating look at the inconsistent and incorrect skin tones of Jessi across the book covers of the series. Caolan Madden's "I Am My Own Mom" was a gutpunch to me in a number of unexpected ways: the exploration of deadbeat fatherhood with Kristy's dad and also the ways and means in which the books take caregiving as a series, important job and how that contrasts to today's world of caregiving seen as simply a thing someone else does to free up time for another person's "more important" work. The essays digging into queerness, both as it relates to the characters and to the writers themselves, were so powerful and thought-provoking. A couple of pieces didn't resonate for me, but this is what an anthology does. Those pieces WILL resonate with other readers and that's why they're there. It's nostalgic, sure, but it's also critical and thoughtful. The range of authors, queer and of color, is broad and introduced me to tons of new voices I'd not yet experienced. Again: a sign of a great anthology. My only criticism is in the design. The art is rendered in less-than-ideal ways to FEEL scrapbook-y, but the text itself takes up a lot of space on the page, taking away any intentionality in that design feel. I wish it'd been one or the other: clearer as a book that's meant to be taken like a traditional anthology OR one that let the art take the lead in developing a fun, scrapbook-style (think Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nev

    This was such a great collection of essays and art looking back at The Baby-Sitters Club and the impact that series had on different people’s lives. I think this struck the perfect balance between nostalgic celebration and critical analysis of aspects of the series that didn’t age so well. Contributors to the collection cover a wide range of topics from the girls’ handwriting and outfits, race, disability, family structures, fanfiction, and the perceived queerness of Kristy. As with any collecti This was such a great collection of essays and art looking back at The Baby-Sitters Club and the impact that series had on different people’s lives. I think this struck the perfect balance between nostalgic celebration and critical analysis of aspects of the series that didn’t age so well. Contributors to the collection cover a wide range of topics from the girls’ handwriting and outfits, race, disability, family structures, fanfiction, and the perceived queerness of Kristy. As with any collection there were a couple essays that I didn’t find quite as interesting as the others. But overall I think this was a strong book that provides a wide variety of viewpoints and different ways of looking back at the series as an adult. Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Logan Hughes

    I have an essay in this book! But that's not the only reason I narcissistically gave it 5 stars - I truly enjoyed so many of the essays here, which, with the benefit of adult hindsight, are both loving and critical of the beloved series. As an adult who has continued to read BSC books from age 7 to present (see: my exhaustive reviews of every single volume here on Goodreads), it's exciting to read from other adults who take the series equally seriously. Some of my favorites: Kristen Felicetti's c I have an essay in this book! But that's not the only reason I narcissistically gave it 5 stars - I truly enjoyed so many of the essays here, which, with the benefit of adult hindsight, are both loving and critical of the beloved series. As an adult who has continued to read BSC books from age 7 to present (see: my exhaustive reviews of every single volume here on Goodreads), it's exciting to read from other adults who take the series equally seriously. Some of my favorites: Kristen Felicetti's close look at Claudia and the Great Search, which is one of my favorite books, one that examines family alienation and the long half-life of grief, but which, as Felicetti points out, has some odd things to say about race and adoption. Haley Moss looks at Kristy and the Secret of Susan and the ways in which is succeeds or fails at portraying autism and speaking up for its autistic character, Susan. (As both Moss and Jami Sailor, who examines the realism of Stacey's diabetes, fascinatingly point out, disability is repeatedly described in the BSC in terms of 'secrets', e.g. ASL is Jessi's 'secret language', wtf is that about?) Jamie Broadnax talks about colorism and the difference between Jessi's skin tone as described in the books vs. how she is consistently portrayed (as lighter-skinned) in the book covers and TV/film. I loved the entire section on business in the series: Myriam Gurba's piece, "Kristy's Invisible Hand and Das Baby-sitters Kapital", which talks about economic concepts in the series and in 90s preteen life, might have been written exactly for me. All I ever want to do is talk about economics in terms of the BSC. The Data-Sitters Club explores the use of language in the books using machine learning techniques, which also is a project straight up my alley. Caolan Madden's piece "I Am My Own Mr. Mom" looks at the failed and inadequate dads in the series, gender, parenthood, and caregiving as labor. Some of the pieces are just fun, like Kelly Blewett's examination of the girls' handwriting and what it says about them, or Buzz Slutzky's visual "guess the hair" quiz. It's rare to read an anthology where literally every piece was something I wanted to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I wasn't fully sold on this book when I first heard of it. Yes, The Baby-sitters Club is my life, but I didn't think I cared to read about how it affected other people; I like to discuss BSC with other fans, but I want it to be a conversation, not somebody's essay. And I already have SO MUCH Baby-sitters Club junk, do I really need more? (FYI Future Ashley: the answer is always yes!!!) In short, despite the subject matter, I didn't really think that I cared about this book. As you can tell from t I wasn't fully sold on this book when I first heard of it. Yes, The Baby-sitters Club is my life, but I didn't think I cared to read about how it affected other people; I like to discuss BSC with other fans, but I want it to be a conversation, not somebody's essay. And I already have SO MUCH Baby-sitters Club junk, do I really need more? (FYI Future Ashley: the answer is always yes!!!) In short, despite the subject matter, I didn't really think that I cared about this book. As you can tell from the four-star rating, and that I'm writing about my apprehension in the past tense, I ended up really enjoying this book. Right off the bat, the foreword is by Mara Wilson, so it really revs up the nostalgia factor. But not in a gimmicky way; you can tell that Ms Wilson was (and still is) as passionate about the girls from Stoneybrook as the other contributors to this book and all of us fans, both old and new. I liked the way the book was sectioned off: about friendship, about fashion, about representation, about entrepreneurship. For the most part, I found the essays were very enjoyable; some were informative, some made me think. Truthfully, I skipped the Data-sitters Club entry, as it was a little too technical and jargon-y for my liking, but that was the only one that I didn't read in its entirety. And some of the artwork was hard to read on my phone, but I'll definitely go back and reread them when I buy the book. Yes, this is definitely a to-buy. (But then again, it's BSC. It was always going to be something I'd have to have in my collection.) But what really sold me was seeing my longtime BSC friend mentioned multiple times in the essay about fanfic. I literally gasped out loud and started geeking out: "I know her! I know her!!" ;) I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    As a child, The Baby-Sitters Club was everything for me! I read every single book Ann M. Martin wrote, owned just about every Baby-Sitters Club, little sister and California book that was written, I had the board game, the dolls...anything and everything we could find! I would read it anywhere and until I was embarrassingly too old to be reading it...and then I did a reread when I was 30. I’m so thrilled to read this book with essays that linked me to so many others that feel the same way about As a child, The Baby-Sitters Club was everything for me! I read every single book Ann M. Martin wrote, owned just about every Baby-Sitters Club, little sister and California book that was written, I had the board game, the dolls...anything and everything we could find! I would read it anywhere and until I was embarrassingly too old to be reading it...and then I did a reread when I was 30. I’m so thrilled to read this book with essays that linked me to so many others that feel the same way about the BSC as I did/do. The book was full of moments from the books that will transport you back in time to when you read them and at the same time, connect you and show how others felt about the BSC and those pivotal moments. This is a must read for any other obsessed fan!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved the BSC growing up, and Stacey was my favourite sitter. As I grew up and aged out, I never finished the series. As an adult, over the last few years, I reread the entire series in reading order and fell in love with it all over again, this time loving Claudia and Mary Anne. I enjoyed this book for what it was worth, the nostalgia and feels of years gone by. It is nice to see that BSC i I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved the BSC growing up, and Stacey was my favourite sitter. As I grew up and aged out, I never finished the series. As an adult, over the last few years, I reread the entire series in reading order and fell in love with it all over again, this time loving Claudia and Mary Anne. I enjoyed this book for what it was worth, the nostalgia and feels of years gone by. It is nice to see that BSC is still alive and well in 2021 and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie Walton

    My enduring affection for the Baby-Sitters Club is a little-kept secret, but sometimes I end up identifying too closely to the series; to see it thoughtlessly criticized or mischaracterized can feel personal (as the title says, I AM the Baby-Sitters Club, in that regard). So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the essays and comics in this book. Critiques were by and large thoughtful and necessary—I was particularly intrigued by chapters on series ableism, the treatment of adoption, My enduring affection for the Baby-Sitters Club is a little-kept secret, but sometimes I end up identifying too closely to the series; to see it thoughtlessly criticized or mischaracterized can feel personal (as the title says, I AM the Baby-Sitters Club, in that regard). So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the essays and comics in this book. Critiques were by and large thoughtful and necessary—I was particularly intrigued by chapters on series ableism, the treatment of adoption, sizeism, and of course, the depiction of Jessi from the point of view of several Black readers. Lighter fare include looks at BSC online fandom, the fashion of the series, and the creation of the sitters' handwriting, all of which were absolute highlights. You don't need encyclopedic knowledge of a topic to have feelings about it and an important perspective to share, but there are a handful of factual errors that potentially undercut the arguments of some essays in a small way, or might have enriched them had the author known. The BSC series is huge, though, so it'd be unfair to dock stars for that.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This collection of essays (and artwork!) about the BSC made my heart explode with delight. If your childhood was transformed and immeasurably enriched by a bunch of entrepreneurial weirdo girls in Stoneybrook, CT, your heart may also explode!

  11. 4 out of 5

    The Kawaii Slartibartfast

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Chicago Review Press. This book is chockful of essays and art about the Baby-sitters Club and I am over the moon about it. Its a funny,and sad, bold and intimate look at how this bestselling series affected so many. There's also a fair amount of criticism to be found, too. I'd definitely recommend this one to any Baby-sitters Club fan. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Chicago Review Press. This book is chockful of essays and art about the Baby-sitters Club and I am over the moon about it. Its a funny,and sad, bold and intimate look at how this bestselling series affected so many. There's also a fair amount of criticism to be found, too. I'd definitely recommend this one to any Baby-sitters Club fan.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    This collection of tributes to the Baby-sitters Club comes at the iconic 1980s series from all directions. There are essays about the characters' clothing, their sexual orientations, the books' feminist triumphs and failings, and the books' treatment of race, as well as reflections on lessons learned, expertise acquired, and ideas inspired by Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, Jessi, and Mallory. Much of the content read more into these books than I would typically want, but there were so This collection of tributes to the Baby-sitters Club comes at the iconic 1980s series from all directions. There are essays about the characters' clothing, their sexual orientations, the books' feminist triumphs and failings, and the books' treatment of race, as well as reflections on lessons learned, expertise acquired, and ideas inspired by Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, Jessi, and Mallory. Much of the content read more into these books than I would typically want, but there were some highlights for me, including an essay by Jack Shepherd from The Baby-sitters Club Club podcast and one about Stacey's diabetes. For readers who grew up with these books, these essays are a fun walk down memory lane even if some of them may read into the stories things that aren't really there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lacy

    For a whole generation of readers, the Baby-Sitters Club is something more than nostalgia. It’s a series that expanded our understanding of life and ourselves. The Baby-Sitters Club will always be special to me because it's why I'm such an avid reader now. It was one of the defining things from childhood. And with the world of fandom today, we are getting to experience that love all over again. We now are finding each other in the nostalgia of things that got us, the ones who were different, For a whole generation of readers, the Baby-Sitters Club is something more than nostalgia. It’s a series that expanded our understanding of life and ourselves. The Baby-Sitters Club will always be special to me because it's why I'm such an avid reader now. It was one of the defining things from childhood. And with the world of fandom today, we are getting to experience that love all over again. We now are finding each other in the nostalgia of things that got us, the ones who were different, the ones who sometimes 'just didn't fit in', through all of our different childhoods. And you get to see various accounts of that throughout the essays in this collection. I truly enjoyed reading it and will be adding it to my collection when it's officially published. You wish you were a Stacey, but you know you’re a Kristy. And there is something so embarrassing about that fact—something you won’t recognize until you’re much older and realize it’s because Kristy is a little queer and so are you. The BSC earned this lasting legacy, in part, by making inclusive values and progressive beliefs part of the series’ core— values like honoring diverse voices and experiences, promoting empathy, and suggesting that girls make great leaders. These values were far from standard in young adult lit in 1986, when Kristy’s Great Idea first popped up on the scene. But today, they form the backbone of modern YA. And now I'm off to Ao3 to look up Byron Pike (Mallory’s younger brother) and Jeff Schafer (Dawn's younger brother) fics because I. NEVER. KNEW. IT. WAS. A. THING. while I impatiently wait for BSB season 2 on Netflix. ***Thank you to Netgalley and Chicago Review Press for providing me with a review copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I was a reader of the Little Sister series and the Super Special books. I don't know why I never really got into the main series. I was surprised to learn that the whole series (over 100 books) took place with the characters staying in the same grade and at the same age (I never realized that!). I think some parts of this book were good and gave a different perspective to the books, but other essays seemed to read a little too into the books. It was nice to read what other fans thought of the se I was a reader of the Little Sister series and the Super Special books. I don't know why I never really got into the main series. I was surprised to learn that the whole series (over 100 books) took place with the characters staying in the same grade and at the same age (I never realized that!). I think some parts of this book were good and gave a different perspective to the books, but other essays seemed to read a little too into the books. It was nice to read what other fans thought of the series and it made me want to go back and read the whole series. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a nostalgic impulse read for me. While I have always loved reading, The Baby-sitter's Club was the first series I remember really falling in love with reading. I got really into the series apparently after its conclusion and peak, having discovered one of the books at my local Goodwill in what had to be around 2009. Anywhere that sold second hand books- goodwill, yard sales- then was somehow an ample source for finding BSC books then. I fell in love with the series through the remnants This was a nostalgic impulse read for me. While I have always loved reading, The Baby-sitter's Club was the first series I remember really falling in love with reading. I got really into the series apparently after its conclusion and peak, having discovered one of the books at my local Goodwill in what had to be around 2009. Anywhere that sold second hand books- goodwill, yard sales- then was somehow an ample source for finding BSC books then. I fell in love with the series through the remnants of it, with the last book being published a few months before I was born. Having not had any internet access or the care to look into these books beyond my reading of them as a kid (other than a biography of Ann M. Martin that fourth grade me decided to write for a school project), I had no concept up until a few years ago how prolific these books actually were for so many people, and how many other people too, had formative experiences with them. Most of the writers of this essay collection seemed to have the experience of getting into the series when it was the most popular, and in this case, it gave me such a disconnect from them considering the wildly different contexts we read these books in. Reading is such a personal and subjective experience anyways, so pop culture essays like this run the risk of only being enjoyable if you had a shared experience and that's kind of what happened here. Some of these essays were unnecessary and repetitive, and I think that the ones speaking to the gay lenses that these books could have been looked at with were the ones that resonated the most with me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. As a big fan of BSC growing up, I was so excited to get approved for this book! I loved that Mara Wilson (aka Matilda) wrote the intro- that hooked me right away. I enjoyed the mix of in-depth analysis of the series and characters and the essays that reminisced on different characters, as well as the original artwork. There were a couple essays that I ended up skimming through more than others because they just w I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. As a big fan of BSC growing up, I was so excited to get approved for this book! I loved that Mara Wilson (aka Matilda) wrote the intro- that hooked me right away. I enjoyed the mix of in-depth analysis of the series and characters and the essays that reminisced on different characters, as well as the original artwork. There were a couple essays that I ended up skimming through more than others because they just were not super interesting to me, but I still think they had a place in this collection. To me, this was a wonderful melange of nostalgia and literary study. If you were ever a BSC fan, this book is for you!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    3.5 stars. A fun and thought-provoking walk down memory lane, with many of the essays proving that there is a niche for everything anymore (two grown men reading BSC on a podcast, for example, or the women who make up "The Data Sitters Club" and use machine learning and data science to break down the books). I do wish there would've been more images included - the various writers describe some of the covers of the books and it would've been nice to see those images for more context. 3.5 stars. A fun and thought-provoking walk down memory lane, with many of the essays proving that there is a niche for everything anymore (two grown men reading BSC on a podcast, for example, or the women who make up "The Data Sitters Club" and use machine learning and data science to break down the books). I do wish there would've been more images included - the various writers describe some of the covers of the books and it would've been nice to see those images for more context.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aryssa

    3.7 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Amazing. jealous that they didn't get me to take part/so happy that there are more people like me. Amazing. jealous that they didn't get me to take part/so happy that there are more people like me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was a perfect walk down memory lane as well as a solid commentary and criticism about this beloved series. I especially appreciate the essays having to do with race, ableism, class, female friendship etc and it really made me think about how those stories and characters affected my world view as I was growing up. I highly recommend this if you ever read this series and I was so delighted to see that Kristy and the other gals impacted others many years ago just like me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Nostalgia! There’s this growing millennial realization that nothing we loved from our childhoods is beyond critique. We can--and should!--acknowledge problematic content that was simply accepted (or not given a second thought) way back when, and that’s exactly what the writers of these essays do: talk lovingly about what these characters and storylines meant to their lives, while admitting its shortfalls, especially in regards to representation. The chapter on analyzing the girls’ handwriting wa Nostalgia! There’s this growing millennial realization that nothing we loved from our childhoods is beyond critique. We can--and should!--acknowledge problematic content that was simply accepted (or not given a second thought) way back when, and that’s exactly what the writers of these essays do: talk lovingly about what these characters and storylines meant to their lives, while admitting its shortfalls, especially in regards to representation. The chapter on analyzing the girls’ handwriting was wonderfully nerdy and one that sticks out as being a bit different than the subject matter of most of the essays. There was also a fresh, different take on the series as described by a white Englishman who runs a BSC podcast. I also adored the fanfic essay. Like any collection such as this, not every essay hit the mark for me and I found myself skimming, but I won’t pick on them by name here. Add me to the chorus of those saying they wanted to be a Claudia, but were really a Mary Anne. Thanks, NetGalley!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    'There's a feeling of community amongst us, those who grew up with these girls. I was first introduced to the BSC books by my new best friend who had just started at my school. I was 10, it was the early 90s. I was already a pretty avid reader but these books changed me. I was suddenly a part of this world where I felt no matter what my personality, background, etc. was, I was accepted and belonged. I and my friend would swap books and discuss them in detail when we were both finished. We loved 'There's a feeling of community amongst us, those who grew up with these girls. I was first introduced to the BSC books by my new best friend who had just started at my school. I was 10, it was the early 90s. I was already a pretty avid reader but these books changed me. I was suddenly a part of this world where I felt no matter what my personality, background, etc. was, I was accepted and belonged. I and my friend would swap books and discuss them in detail when we were both finished. We loved this world so much that we even pretended like these kids were real and we knew them and were part of the club. We even made an attempt to start our own BSC (my newborn sister and her toddler brother being the only kids we actually 'sitted). Kristy was my fave and I was a Kristy/MaryAnn/Claudia combo. I find all these years later as a 35-year old that I still think about these characters and pick up one of the books to read every now and again. I devoured the Netflix series in 2020. This book made me realise I'm not alone in that clearly. I found the POV's of so many readers fascinating. We all come from so many different backgrounds and felt differently about each of the characters and storylines for various reasons. But one thing was the same; these books had helped us, made us belong and fill us with a childhood nostalgia like no other. It is funny, insightful, nostalgic and informative. It covers a wide array of topics from Claudia's fashion, to BSC fanfic. A wonderful collection of thoughts and essays on a book series so widely loved by many. Now, I'm gonna go and read 'Kristy's Great Idea' for the 100th time! (Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. All thoughts are my own.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erikka

    The Babysitters Club books were such a formative part of my childhood that I can’t separate it from my overall aging experience. It’s entangled. I wanted to dress like Claudia, lead like Kristy, care like Mary Anne, graceful like Jessi, bookish like Mallory, funny like Abby, and be an activist like Dawn. I never wanted to be Stacey. Fuck Stacey. She’s the worst. Being a New York diabetic isn’t a personality, Stacey. But here I sit as an adult Mallory/Dawn hybrid with a dash of Kristy and I reali The Babysitters Club books were such a formative part of my childhood that I can’t separate it from my overall aging experience. It’s entangled. I wanted to dress like Claudia, lead like Kristy, care like Mary Anne, graceful like Jessi, bookish like Mallory, funny like Abby, and be an activist like Dawn. I never wanted to be Stacey. Fuck Stacey. She’s the worst. Being a New York diabetic isn’t a personality, Stacey. But here I sit as an adult Mallory/Dawn hybrid with a dash of Kristy and I realize that, for all the ground BSC paved, it’s also a product of it’s time. This book calls out some of those issues and magnifies them beautifully. The colorism in the characterization of Jessi, the exotification of Claudia’s “almond-shaped eyes”, the fact that all the girls are skinny and pretty, and the complete lack of any queerness of any kind (bc there’s no way in hell Scholastic would have published a book with a gay character for middle grade kids during the AIDS crisis.), those are all dealt with here and addressed in touching and at times humorous ways. If you pick it up to read a single essay, make it the final one by Chante Griffin about the marginalization of Jessi. We are really pervasive, fellow white people, and thankfully YA lit has come a long way since Jessi. That being said, at least BSC had Jessi. Don’t get me started on the cishet white nausea of Sweet Valley. Also, listen to the Babysitters Club Club podcast; one of the hosts wrote an essay in this book and it’s just brilliant. Grown-ass white men making jokes and ripping apart some of the crap in this series while also developing a genuine appreciation for what these books achieved. It truly is a classic and long-lived series for a reason, despite the ravages of age.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Reading We are the Babysitters Club is a book that may be a bit of a memory lane for readers who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. There is a good deal of what-ifs or whatnots that can be inspired from reading this book of essays that are written by fans who ultimately write essays that hold up Ann M. Martin’s fictional series to the lens of this decade. Essays written in this book have topics that write of how the inclusion of characters highlights a variety of issues that are far-fetched for som Reading We are the Babysitters Club is a book that may be a bit of a memory lane for readers who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. There is a good deal of what-ifs or whatnots that can be inspired from reading this book of essays that are written by fans who ultimately write essays that hold up Ann M. Martin’s fictional series to the lens of this decade. Essays written in this book have topics that write of how the inclusion of characters highlights a variety of issues that are far-fetched for some readers. These topics include adolescent diabetes or the ableism of Kristy, the skin color of Jessi, and the not-so-typical model minority that is Claudia. Socially there is also the mention of how different male and female socialization can be. This book tries to use a bit of multimedia, specifically with illustrations that get included in this book. This book also makes mention of the existence of fanfiction that continues the fandom of this series, and for the many reboots or revivals of this series that can introduce the idea that starting a babysitters club can ultimately begin friendships and be a moneymaker from a small business viewpoint. Would I recommend reading this book? Maybe, since reading Babysitters Club is a childhood memory, but also for reading this book, a reader should have read a good deal of the original series before picking up this book. Because otherwise, reading only this book might be confusing. This review is based on reading a galley of this book through netgalley.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is a collection of essays and visual commentary on The Baby-Sitters Club books, as well as the multiple spinoff series that followed. Topics range from friendship, fashion, race and sexual orientation representation, and more. Reading We Are the Baby-Sitters Club was an immediate trip down memory lane. Before I made through the introduction, I found myself trying to figure out who I most identified with (likely a Mary Anne with some Dawn and Mallory mixed in) and loo We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is a collection of essays and visual commentary on The Baby-Sitters Club books, as well as the multiple spinoff series that followed. Topics range from friendship, fashion, race and sexual orientation representation, and more. Reading We Are the Baby-Sitters Club was an immediate trip down memory lane. Before I made through the introduction, I found myself trying to figure out who I most identified with (likely a Mary Anne with some Dawn and Mallory mixed in) and looking back at the synopsis of the California Diaries series. This book was sweet and thought-provoking at the same time; a great combination of an ultra-fan's dream book along with a critical review of relevant topics that are as important today as they were when the original books were published. I really enjoyed the graphic novel portions of the book and laughed/cried my way through the Jaded Quitters Club (yes, I just looked back at it again while writing this review for another laugh). I loved this book, and now I need to go search my parents house for my California Diaries copies. Thanks to Netgalley and Independent Publishers Group for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frances Wong

    This book, a collection of essays and art by BSC fans “all-growed-up,” should not be anticipated to be simply a campy nostalgia collection, or rose-colored testimonials of how the BSC shaped a generation of tweens who read them. I had this preconceived notion about the book, which almost made me hesitate to read it. Because I don’t really want a book like that. I like to think my connection to the series as personal, and don’t particularly want a book of collective homage. However, this book more This book, a collection of essays and art by BSC fans “all-growed-up,” should not be anticipated to be simply a campy nostalgia collection, or rose-colored testimonials of how the BSC shaped a generation of tweens who read them. I had this preconceived notion about the book, which almost made me hesitate to read it. Because I don’t really want a book like that. I like to think my connection to the series as personal, and don’t particularly want a book of collective homage. However, this book more than anything is critical BSC theory. Looking back on the series with a 2020 lens. While no doubt the BSC was a huge part of these essayists’/artists’ childhoods, which resonates through their adulthood, the unifying theme is how lacking the series was in providing more inclusivity. While the series made great strides (for the 80s/90s) of representing Asian and black characters, varied family structures, chronic illness, autism and feminism; we can look back with our adult eyes and point out colorism, exoticism, microagression, ableism, traditionally racist beauty standards, and avoidance of the queer spectrum. And having that critical eye on our beloved BSC books highlights how much we’ve grown as people beyond our tween fan-girling.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Review is based on final print copy due to formatting issues with ARC. I loved the Babysitters Club growing up, so I was excited to read stories from other adults who were fans like I was, either paying tribute to the series or unpacking a specific issue related to a character or topic. And as a whole, I really enjoyed this, although my enjoyment of each piece depended on my interest in the topic. I found myself totally lost trying to read the I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Review is based on final print copy due to formatting issues with ARC. I loved the Babysitters Club growing up, so I was excited to read stories from other adults who were fans like I was, either paying tribute to the series or unpacking a specific issue related to a character or topic. And as a whole, I really enjoyed this, although my enjoyment of each piece depended on my interest in the topic. I found myself totally lost trying to read the Data-Sitters one, as numbers and stuff is just not my thing. And while I have dabbled in fanfic, I never did so with the BSC world, so I found Logan Hughes’ piece a bit of a miss as well. But I loved the illustrations, particularly in the Jaded Quitters Club parodies. I nodded along with most everyone who spoke about Claudia and his she broke barriers and defied stereotypes for Asian characters. I respected the discussions of race and disability , and what each writer who touched on it felt Ann M. Martin did right and where she had good intent, but not-so-great execution. But mostly, I appreciate that this one book series could inspire so much thought about so many different topics, some of which weren’t even obvious to me at the time I read them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Wiegand

    Delightfully nostalgic, these essays from a variety of contributors shared felt experiences with BSC books past and present. I personally would never have examined so deeply how these books affected me as a child if I hadn't read this collection of essays. If you never made the connection between BSC books and your middle-school self who designed her own clothing (like Claudia) or tried to modify her handwriting (to look like Stacey's), you may want to take this introspective trip back to the st Delightfully nostalgic, these essays from a variety of contributors shared felt experiences with BSC books past and present. I personally would never have examined so deeply how these books affected me as a child if I hadn't read this collection of essays. If you never made the connection between BSC books and your middle-school self who designed her own clothing (like Claudia) or tried to modify her handwriting (to look like Stacey's), you may want to take this introspective trip back to the stories and characters that may have shaped you more than you realize. The original BSC book series exposed me to many people and ideas that I simply wasn't coming into contact with in my everyday life. It handled some topics better than others, and the contributors to "We Are the Baby-Sitters Club" acknowledge that in an honest and diverse way. Through these essays, I was able to see the old characters with more mature eyes and deepen my understanding of myself and others. Now...who wants to start a club? * I had the opportunity to preview this book through NetGalley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Despite my absolute love for this series, my love for the Babysitters Club Club podcast, and my willingness to declare to anyone who will listen that I want to be a Claudia but am deeply a Maryann (I’m crying right now!) (That’s a joke!) I don’t think realized how wildly influential the BSC books were (are!). These scintillating essays and comics really do illustrate how diverse, progressive, and important this series is. The last few essays- one about BSC knock-off series and one about BSC fan Despite my absolute love for this series, my love for the Babysitters Club Club podcast, and my willingness to declare to anyone who will listen that I want to be a Claudia but am deeply a Maryann (I’m crying right now!) (That’s a joke!) I don’t think realized how wildly influential the BSC books were (are!). These scintillating essays and comics really do illustrate how diverse, progressive, and important this series is. The last few essays- one about BSC knock-off series and one about BSC fan fiction- were both eye-opening for me. The series wasn’t just pre-YA girl stuff - it was about female friendship and non-traditional families and capitalism and independence and sometimes boys but not really that much (leave that to Francine Pascal, amirite???) and hiding junk food in your room and moving to boarding school in Massachusetts and phantom phone calls and custodial kidnappings and never graduation from 8th grade. (OK, actually, some of that was unsurprising but I do love the focus on childcare as legitimate work that requires skill and fair pay). PS: we loved this one!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Chicago Review Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Reading this book triggered so many wonderful memories that I could not help but keep a smile on my face. Like most girls in my life, I was a fan of the babysitter’s club that my friends and I started a secret club that talked about everything babysitter’s club everything from Kristy and Maryann’s friendship, Maryann and Logan’s relatio This book was received as an ARC from Chicago Review Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Reading this book triggered so many wonderful memories that I could not help but keep a smile on my face. Like most girls in my life, I was a fan of the babysitter’s club that my friends and I started a secret club that talked about everything babysitter’s club everything from Kristy and Maryann’s friendship, Maryann and Logan’s relationship, Stacey's diabetes, Claudia's family, Stacey's boy obsession and much more. I was super excited to find out that there are two women that were so passionate to do their research, write these essays and stories, and publish a book is a beautiful thing. I am so fortunate to read such fine material and I can't wait to share it with all of our patrons. We will consider adding this title to our Non-Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

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