Princeton, New Jersey
The Baby-Sitters Club Series
Ann M. Martin, the daughter of an illustrator and a teacher, wrote more than a dozen books for young adults before beginning the popular Baby-Sitters Club series. She began writing her first young adult novel, Bummer Summer, in 1980. It was not finished for three years, because Martin could only find time to write early in the morning.
The story is about twelve-year-old Kammy Whitlock, whose widower father remarries. Suddenly, she has a new three-year-old stepsister, Muffin, and a baby stepbrother, Baby Boy. Kammy's paints are flushed down the toilet and her cat is tormented. She never has a private moment with her father. She is exasperated. Spending the summer away at Camp Arrowhead does not excite her—at first—but being at camp helps her sort out her family situation.
“As a child,” biographer Margot Becker “R.” (Rubin) said, “Ann read many classic children's books such as Frances Hodgson Burnett'sThe Secret Garden, L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz series, Lewis Carroll'sAlice in Wonderland and Hugh Lofting'sDoctor Dolittle.” She also delved into the works of Roald Dahl, Marguerite Henry's horse stories, Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books, and Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. In her teen years, Martin read a lot of fantasy and science fiction. As an adult she gravitates