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Once upon a time, one of my mother’s friends gave my sister and I an amazing gift: at least 200 books. Her daughter had outgrown them, so she passed them onto us. Among them were the first 50 books from The Baby-Sitters Club series. I started reading them that summer and I was hooked. I loved reading about the very different group of girls that were somehow friends. I definitely related to Claudia the most, the artistic one with all the snacks.
I didn’t fully process it at the time, but they were a group of savvy entrepreneurs. I imagine Kristy is a CEO, based on the way she ran the club. She wasn’t bossy, she was the boss.
The books weren’t just about the business. Stacey was the first character I remember reading about who had juvenile diabetes. She hid it from the other girls at first because she was shamed by her old friends after an incident at a slumber party. After everyone was let in on her secret, the books showed her having healthy snacks and managing her diabetes better than some adults. The books tackled so many issues in a way that younger readers could understand, such as divorce, death of a family member, death of a pet, moving away from your friends, etc.
The books were also fun. I remember creating my first paper mache project based on something Claudia made. I also had a puppy named Chewbacca, after the dog in the books.
I read all 50 of these books (plus, a handful of special edition books) by the time I finished seventh grade. I don’t know if I ever enjoyed another series of books as much. How can you top something that is inspirational, fun and taught life lessons at the same time?