In case you've forgotten, Ann M. Martin's classic young adult series of a feisty and innovative group of gals from Stoneybrook, Connecticut is on its way back to your local bookshops in modestly updated editions. (I obsessed over these books when I was young; see my heated and mixed feelings about the new editions here.)
As the momentum builds for the series to be introduced to a new generation of readers--sale day is April 1--some are wondering if the entrepreneurial gang of babysitters will inspire young people to experiment with their own business ideas -- especially interesting given that the job market these days isn't exactly teen-friendly, as Jezebel points out.
From Laura Vanderkam in The Wall Street Journal:
Hidden in the plots that show that friendship is good and that teasing, racism and bossy boyfriends are bad, Ms. Martin imparts two more important messages that modern readers need to hear: Teen girls are capable of handling far more responsibility than we give them credit for, and they, like the rest of us, can choose to make their own way in the world.
... these days, many parents don't think that 12-year-old girls are capable of walking to school by themselves, let alone caring for their siblings or other people's children. So the reissued Baby-sitters Club books may be coming along at a perfect time: when they can remind today's mothers that if they were capable of acting in a responsible manner when they were girls, maybe today's girls deserve to be tested with our trust, too.
They also deserve the opportunity to earn their own cold, hard cash, which brings us to the second lesson. ... with a teen unemployment rate of 25.8% in February, the options for older teens are bleak. ... But here "Kristy's Great Idea" (title No. 1 in the series) should inspire us all. What this very entrepreneurial girl discovers is that when you can't get a job through the usual channels, you can create your own. Kristy and her friends saw an inefficiency in the market: frustrated parents who had to make five phone calls just to leave the house, and potential sitters missing out on gigs because of limited contacts. So they solved it with their club, and kept themselves gainfully employed all through middle school.
Imagine how empowering it will be for many of today's girls to learn that, by emulating young people just like themselves, not only can they drum up enough business to buy the little things that make the teen years tolerable without lobbying for cash from Mom and Dad, but they can even help out with strained family budgets? ... There are more ways to make money than simply applying for jobs and waiting for employers to call you back. You always have the choice to be entrepreneurial and help yourself.