Tag Archives: tweens

The BSC is back!

Baby-Sitters Club logo

© Scholastic Inc.

The Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin have been adored by generations of kids since the publication of the first book in the series, Kristy’s Big Day, over 30 years ago in 1986. Just writing that makes me feel very old. As a kid I loved going to the local library every week to stock up on new books, especially during the summers when, at least in my small town, there wasn’t much else to do but read (plus reading outside in the summer is the best).

Original book cover of Kristy's Great Idea

© Scholastic Inc.

Over 200 books were published in the series from 1986 to 2000, some written entirely by Martin and others with assistance from ghostwriters, though Martin still provided the outlines and edited the books. Over 176 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide. Much of the inspiration for the stories and characters came from the author’s own life, including years of babysitting in her youth and working as a teacher as an adult.

In the 1990s there was a Baby-Sitters Club TV show and a movie. The books were so popular, there even was a BSC board game (and yes, my sister and I used to play it, although I didn’t like it as much as the Sweet Valley High board game). You can find the game on Amazon and eBay.

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Watching Movies With Tweens

Cover of Queen of Katwe DVDIt’s great having kids ages 9 and 12! We’re past the carseat and stroller years, but not quite at the dating and driving stage yet. It’s truly a golden age. My two sons are capable of fixing themselves simple meals and helping around the house. They are smart and funny, and we can have really interesting conversations with them on a variety of topics (and best of all, they still want to talk to us!)

What has become more of a challenge these days is finding movies to watch together. We’ll go to the theatre for blockbusters that need to be seen on the big screen (like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). But at home, we don’t have cable, only Netflix, and we also check out lots of DVDs from the library! The trouble is, they are too old for some movies (we passed on Trolls for instance), and too young for others, at least in my opinion (they claim they are the “only” kids in school who haven’t been allowed to watch Deadpool).

We’ve already seen the most obvious movies for kids their age (think: Marvel, Star Wars franchises, etc.), probably more than once. So lately we’ve been checking out some older films their dad and I loved as kids; some newer ones we missed when they were first released; as well as some non-Disney/Pixar animated movies. Here are some hits and misses:

Beetlejuice—This Tim Burton classic was a definite hit with both my boys. They’ve been singing the Banana Boat Song ever since.

Spirited Away—My 9 year old declared it one of his favourite movies, while my 12 year old (who I thought would appreciate it the most) found there were some plot holes that didn’t sit well with him.

My Neighbor Totoro—This is a cute movie, and probably one my boys would have loved if they’d seen it first when they were a bit younger.

Edward Scissorhands—Another hit.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles—This is an R-rated movie, mainly for a few instances of the F-word. But honestly, I’m not naïve enough to think my kids have never heard the word, so bad language isn’t really a huge concern of mine as a parent when it comes to movies. Besides, if you were Steve Martin’s character, you’d probably drop a few F-bombs too. My boys thought the movie was hilarious.

A Monster Calls—This was a very good movie, though I wasn’t prepared for what a tearjerker it is. You have been warned.

Arrival—I thought this was an excellent movie, and while I’d been advised it was fine for kids (it is), mine found it a bit slow (when I mentioned “aliens” they were probably hoping for something a little more Guardians of the Galaxy).

Ghostbusters—We all enjoyed the rebooted version in theatre last year. Not a single childhood ruined. My boys hadn’t seen the original however, so we checked it out recently. Even with the cheesy special effects, they thought it was terrific (I admit I was never a huge fan, and there are a few scenes that made me cringe while watching with kids).

Queen of Katwe—They both enjoyed this inspiring film, and I noticed they got out the chessboard more in the days after we watched it.

Of course, different families have different definitions of what is appropriate viewing for children under 13, so our choices might not be yours. But rest assured you will find a wide selection of DVDs and Blurays for all tastes at Vaughan Public Libraries. Want even more choices? Check out streaming video available via Hoopla!

A few others that are on my list of possibilities for upcoming family movie nights:

A League of the Their Own


Billy Elliot

Napoleon Dynamite

Hidden Figures

*This is an R-Rated film.