It has been said that it is never a good idea to meet your heroes because, inevitably, your expectations most likely will not be met. I can agree with that to some extent, but luckily, that was not the case with me when I met one of my childhood literary heroes, Ann M. Martin. Earlier this month, Martin’s world-famous children’s book series, “The Baby-Sitters Club,” celebrated its 30th publication anniversary. When she posted about this milestone on Facebook, it made me reminisce about the time when I had the chance to meet her in person.
My moment came several years ago at an event called Book Fest, which was held at the New York Public Library. Several authors were on the schedule to speak that day, but I was most excited about Ann M. Martin’s presentation. Notoriously known for being painfully shy, I was shocked to see her listed as a part of the day’s events. I listened intently to her speech and enjoyed the slideshow of her favorite childhood moments. Ultimately, my anticipation was for what I considered the main event, an opportunity to meet her and have her sign my books. I waited patiently in line, going over in my mind what I was going to say when it was my turn. Even as an adult in her mid-20s at the time, this was a huge deal for me. I wanted to make sure I said something perfect, heartfelt, and honest. I held two of her novels, “A Corner Of The Universe” and “Belle Teal,” in my hands, nervous that I was going to stumble over my words. When it was finally my turn, I walked up to her, smiled brightly, and said “You were my absolute idol when I was a child. You made me fall in love with reading.” Again, known for her shyness, Ann blushed a vivid shade of red, but smiled warmly back at me and said “That means so much to me, thank you.” She signed my books and then the moment was over, but to this day, I look back with such fondness and reverence for what took place that day. Ann M. Martin’s “Baby-Sitters Club” books were a massive part of my childhood experience, and I had the honor of telling her just that. She transformed so many lives and she deserved to know that. In my case, meeting my childhood hero was a dream come true, a moment that will always be etched in my mind.
Since “The Baby-Sitters Club” ended, Ann M. Martin has written several stand-alone novels, including the aforementioned “A Corner Of The Universe,” which was awarded a Newbery Honor. Her writing continues to grow in depth, honesty, and poignancy. She has a talent for capturing characters and storylines in a way that makes you want to keep turning the page. Check out our catalog for more of Ann M. Martin’s deep catalog of great children’s literature. My personal favorites include “A Corner Of The Universe”, “A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography Of A Stray”, and “Rain Reign.” “The Baby-Sitters Club” may be what put her on the map thirty years ago, but Ann M. Martin has so much more to offer. I encourage you all to take a peek; I promise you will not regret it.