Reading The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin is like a rite of passage for any growing reader, especially (and I hate to be gender specific, but...) girls. And now that there is a graphic novel version of The Baby-Sitters Club, voracious readers have even more to love. For those kids looking to expand their horizons with other books that feature friendship, school, growing up, life-lessons and a little humor, these 10 books for kids who love The Baby-Sitter's Club will be just the ticket.
I found differing age recommendations for The Baby-Sitters Club, and decided to aim for books that are particularly suitable for fourth and fifth grade readers. For those on the younger side, they may enjoy books from my list of early chapter book series about girls. Happy reading! (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
The Year of the Dog (series) by Grace Lin. I love all books by Grace Lin, and the Pacy series is a real treat. Pacy's mom tells her that the year of the dog will be a lucky one. A charming story of a girl who sets out to have a great year and learns a lot along the way. Wonderful.
A Precious Ramotswe Mysteries. Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book series for grown-ups solved her very first case in Botswana when she was just a girl. When her friends’ lunchtime treats go missing Precious is on the job and when she discovers the surprising thief a nice chuckle is had by all. This book is nice way of exposing young readers to other cultures and includes a reading guide, glossary, activity ideas and even a recipe!
Buckle and Squash: The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld. When I read this out loud to my son we could not stop laughing! I quite enjoyed creating silly voices for all of Sarah Courtauld's ridiculous and charming characters. Hard-working, practical Eliza and her dreamy, prince poster-collecting sister Gertrude are total opposites. When Gertrude goes off one day to find a prince and instead gets captured, her sister heads out to rescue her. All of the books in this British series are now available state-side!
The Doll People (series) by Ann M. Martin (author of The Baby-Sitters Club!). Even my 11 year old son loved listening to this on audiobook. Annabelle doll finds a diary belonging long lost Aunt Sarah and decides to investigate. Meanwhile, her 100 year old doll family learn to live with the new, modern FunCraft doll family.
President of the Whole Fifth Grade (series) by Sherri Winston. This fun story follows the tale of the clever and likable Brianna, who is determined to become fifth grade president. She is up against the new girl and must make ethical choices in order to win the election fairly. Along the way she learns about friendships and doing the right thing.
Girls Best Friend (series) by Leslie Margolis. This is a fun series set in Brooklyn. Maggie is an amateur dog walker and when dogs start disappearing in her neighborhood she also becomes a sleuth. Friendship and sibling relationships play a big part Maggie's detective work in this enjoyable series suitable for kids who enjoy realistic fiction.
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford. (series) We listened to this (and the sequel) on audiobook and my son spent much of the time laughing, especially during the periodic one word chapters. Moxy is supposed to read Stuart Little for her summer reading assignment, but she spends more time avoiding — and justifying that avoidance — than she does reading. Hilarious, and the text edition includes a very clever use of photographs to highlight Moxy’s creative procrastination skills.
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. 11 year old Turtle moves in with her extended family in this lovely gem of a book set in 1930s Florida Keys. Turtle’s time running around the neighborhood, meeting new people and having pirate adventures with her boy cousins make for a charming and funny story with old-fashioned overtones.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. This funny and touching story of Ravi, an Indian immigrant adjusting to middle school and Joe, a boy who recently lost his best friend due to a move, is told in alternating voices. The two boys become friends when they unite again a school bully and one seriously crazy week full of laugh out loud humor ensues.
The Magic Half by Annie Barrows. I thought I'd throw a little extra fantasy into this list. Miri is sandwiched in between 2 sets of twins. Her family has just moved to an old house and one day after being sent to her room for inadvertently injuring one of her older brothers, she finds part of a set of old glasses. When she looks through it she is transported back in time to 1935 where she meets Molly, an orphan living with her rather sinister relatives. Miri and Molly must work together to help Molly escape “back to the future” and when they do they discover the most surprising thing of all!
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