Earlier this week, when I worked in the children’s room at the library, a girl dropped off a stack of Baby-sitter’s Club books. Then she checked out a new stack. “I love these books,” she said to me as I prepared to check them out for her. “I love them, too,” I replied. “I read them when I was your age.” I worried that this comment would sound weird, or would make her not want to read these books anymore, but she was excited. Through a gap of 16 years, we had a connection of taste.
Baby-sitter’s Club — along with Boxcar Children, Animorphs, and Goosebumps — was a distinct part of my middle-school-aged childhood. I read these books at home, on the bus, under my desk at school, got them from the library or made my mom let me get one or two or five on a trip to the bookstore. Probably there were others, once I read like eating potato chips and forgot about within months. When I see these series, I think of the 90s, and it’s funny, and great, to see them still gracing the library shelves.
Sometimes these books have fallen to pieces, or they simply haven’t been read to the point that they can’t earn their spot on the shelf. I had a depressing day when I marked up and stamped DISCARD on every Animorphs book, then stacked them up in the pile of recyclable trash. But I understand. Like I said, these were a product of my childhood, and there are plenty of new book series, both great and awful, to check out in piles and devour.
But sometimes, the things that I loved as a kid are still loved today. That girl isn’t the only one I’ve seen run through Anne Martin’s books. It’s a little strange, seeing kids pick up something that seemed tailor made for a couple decades ago, but it also gives me the idea that there’s a part of my childhood that I really liked that kids are still sharing in. And that’s nice.