Monday, November 9, 2015

Literary Names: The Baby-Sitters Club

In the fall, I'm always reminded of my elementary school days and book fairs. One of my favorite series was Ann M. Martin's The Baby-Sitters Club!

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it focuses on the shenanigans of four (then more) best friends who run a babysitting service in their town. As a kid, it inspired me to pursue babysitting as soon as I got old enough. It was also a great example of a bunch of very different girls forming friendships and coming of age. 

I'll be focusing on the five main characters, though a few more enter and exit throughout the series. 

Let's begin!

Kristin "Kristy" Amanda Thomas..... Zoe Ellen
Kristy always struck me as an all-American girl, outgoing and determined. When the books were published, Kristin was in the 30's on the US top 1000, so I picked another name found in the same place today - Zoe. Because of Zoe's zippy beginning and vowel-ending, I chose a more substantial name for the middle, as well as to match her bright personality: Ellen, meaning "shining light". 

Claudia Lynn Kishi..... Iris Kahlo
For the most creative member of the group, I chose an artistic name - Iris means "rainbow" and its uniqueness speaks to Claudia's personality, while Kahlo directly references a strong female artist of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo. I'd also be interested to know if any readers skilled in Japanese names have suggestions that reference Claudia's identity as a Japanese-American girl?

Mary Anne Spier..... Serena Sibley
I wanted a name that was quiet and calm like Mary Anne, and Serena fits the bill - three-syllables, with similar consonants, and a meaning to match. Sibley comes from Sybil, or "seer" - Mary Anne is the secretary who records everything, and her last name means "to watch". She is also inspired by author Ann M. Martin's own personality - I love the idea of the author as omniscient narrator. 

Anastasia "Stacey" Elizabeth McGill..... Sophia Chanel
This was the first name I thought of for the series. Stacey is fashionable and trendy, with the girls mentioning multiple times that she's "from New York" and therefore more sophisticated. I thought Sophia referenced that well, and Chanel is more of a nod to her interests. 

Dawn Read Schafer..... Eos Catalina
Probably the most unusual name in the group, I picked Eos to honor Dawn's original name - it means "dawn", and she's singled out in a few books as the newcomer or outsider. Catalina refers to her California heritage - for those unaware, Catalina Island is about 26 miles from Los Angeles. The short, consonant-ending first name goes well with the long, vowel-ending middle name, too.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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