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Why don't the Lowells want Claudia to sit for them? Claudia becomes the target of prejudice when the Baby-Sitters Club takes on a new client who doesn't like Claudia because she's Japanese. A serious look at discrimination and how it affects teens. Why don't the Lowells want Claudia to sit for them? Claudia becomes the target of prejudice when the Baby-Sitters Club takes on a new client who doesn't like Claudia because she's Japanese. A serious look at discrimination and how it affects teens.


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Why don't the Lowells want Claudia to sit for them? Claudia becomes the target of prejudice when the Baby-Sitters Club takes on a new client who doesn't like Claudia because she's Japanese. A serious look at discrimination and how it affects teens. Why don't the Lowells want Claudia to sit for them? Claudia becomes the target of prejudice when the Baby-Sitters Club takes on a new client who doesn't like Claudia because she's Japanese. A serious look at discrimination and how it affects teens.

30 review for Keep Out, Claudia!

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shira

    this is my first time reading this book! in this SERIOUS ISSUE book, the bsc starts sitting for a new family, the lowells. the lowells are the perfect picture of aryan goodness -- you know, like the goebbelses, before their parents murdered them. anyway, the lowells like mary anne and kristy fine but don't like claudia and jessi. claudia has apparently (according to her) never experienced racism (uhhhh...) so she has no idea why the kids are staring at her face and laughing. eventually it becomes this is my first time reading this book! in this SERIOUS ISSUE book, the bsc starts sitting for a new family, the lowells. the lowells are the perfect picture of aryan goodness -- you know, like the goebbelses, before their parents murdered them. anyway, the lowells like mary anne and kristy fine but don't like claudia and jessi. claudia has apparently (according to her) never experienced racism (uhhhh...) so she has no idea why the kids are staring at her face and laughing. eventually it becomes apparent that the lowells are awful blatant white supremacists, and the baby-sitters don't sit for them anymore. meanwhile, the bsc kids all start a huge band (playing keyboards, violins, kazoos, oatmeal containers as drums, and more real and fake whimsical instruments) and perform the music of fiddler on the roof. highlights: -the lowell kids are clearly uncomfortable with catholics, saying that they think the pikes might be catholic bc they have so many kids. it's pretty funny. like, who is uncomfortable with catholics in 1992? that is some serious protestant supremacy silliness. -jackie rodowsky suggests naming the band "all the children" because there are kids from different backgrounds in the band. with a name like that I'm picturing usa for africa or live aid or something -- oh, or the greatest love of all -claudia is bewildered by racism since she's apparently never experience it before (which I doubt, considering she lives in the same sketchy connecticut town that treated the ramseys terribly because they were black). there's a well-handled scene where janine informs claudia about the internment camps for americans of japanese descent during WWII, and claudia is shocked. really good subtlety of sneaking in a teaching moment for kids here. I definitely didn't learn about that until high school and was completely shocked when I finally did. -when kristy suspects that the lowells are racist, she tells her parents and nannie. when they back her, kristy says that she had hoped they would tell her she was wrong. well I guess this is growing up. -claudia says: "when we get hungry we eat and when we get tired we sleep and we laugh and cry and fall in love." nice shylock speech ripoff, ann! no but seriously I actually liked this part a lot, considering the journey claudia had to go through to get to this point in the book. lowlights/nitpicks: -claudia says early in the book that "anyone with half a brain" would spell psychiatrist "sikiatrist". why you gotta be so mean about people who know how to spell? it comes from the greek psykhe (mind) and iatreia (healing). there is a scene where claudia attempts to use stacey's reverse psychology methods to convince the lowells not to eat oreos by telling them to eat the whole package and it backfires (they WANT to eat the whole package). maybe it backfired because reverse psychology was mad at you for not knowing how to spell the root psych- and being a jerk about it! -mary anne is such an idiot. the lowells are watching a show that has asian people and the kids laugh and say "look at their eyes!" and mary anne doesn't realize they're racist. she's all, "hmm I don't get the joke!" when I see or hear kids say something that is harmful, I recognize it for what it is and use it as a teaching moment. has mary anne really never seen/heard a kid say something problematic before? -stacey says that skinheads are people who beat up people that aren't like them. no, that's neo nazi skinheads. not all skinheads are like that. -late in the book mrs. lowell actually asks for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed sitter she's heard about. I dunno, she seems a little more like an insidious racist to me -- I doubt she would actually be that up-front about it. -stacey indicates that if claud told the lowells the bsc doesn't sit for blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, that would be reverse racism. that's not a thing. not associating with blonde-haired blue-eyed people on principle may be prejudiced and messed up but it is NOT reverse racism. claudia outfit: -"I caught sight of my black leggings and high-topped sneakers, my fringed blue-jean vest and beaded Indian belt, my six silver rings..." jackie disasters: -knocks the fin off a lego rocketship -drops his kazoo in the piano -trips over his untied shoelaces, falls over mathew hobart, and loses his kazoo -drops his kazoo two more times (during the performance) jessi's kid kit (which goes unused bc mrs. lowell won't even let a black person in her house): -Blueberries for Sal, The Snowy Day, A Chair for My Mother, and Good Dog, Carl. -art materials -easy jigsaw puzzles -matchbox car and trucks -office set (a plastic box filled with colored pencils, magic markers, pens, erasers, paper clips [red, white, and blue], blunt scissors, tape, memo pads, rubber bands, stickers, animal stamps, writing paper, and envelopes) snacks in claudia's room: -ring-dings under a pile of papers and drawings on her desk -payday bars in one of her bureau drawers -unsalted stone-ground wheat crackers (n.s.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    claudia is babysitting for the rodowskys. shea is practicing for his piano recital, which makes archie & jackie feel a little envious. jackie is upset because he can't seem to take any lessons & pursue any hobbies without breaking something. archie just wants attention. he says he could be a star, if only someone gave him a chance. sorry, archie. stoneybrook has reached critical mass for red-headed talented children in one rosie wilder. archie's whining gives claudia an idea. what if the babysitt claudia is babysitting for the rodowskys. shea is practicing for his piano recital, which makes archie & jackie feel a little envious. jackie is upset because he can't seem to take any lessons & pursue any hobbies without breaking something. archie just wants attention. he says he could be a star, if only someone gave him a chance. sorry, archie. stoneybrook has reached critical mass for red-headed talented children in one rosie wilder. archie's whining gives claudia an idea. what if the babysitters club organized their regular charges into a makeshift band? some of the kids actually do play instruments--shea & marilyn arnold play piano. charlotte johanssen has started taking guitar lessons. matthew hobart plays violin. the other kids can play kid instruments like kazoos, & some kids could make their own instruments--like drums out of oatmeal containers. i can see like a thousand problems with this right off the bat. such as, won't the kids who actually know how to play instruments be resentful of playing with hacks beating on oatmeal boxes? how reasonable is the expectation that a seven-year-old blowing on a kazoo is actually going to be able to play a recognizable song? there's also the issue of kids being flaky & not necessarily wanting to commit to the tedium of practicing. but this is stoneybrook, where the children are unrealistically dedicated & obedient, & tons of them are excited about the band idea. meanwhile, the sitters have a new family to sit for, named lowell. the lowells have three picture-perfect blonde blue-eyed children. caitlin is eight, mackie is six, & celeste is four. mary anne is the first one to watch them, & they are very good with her, though they ask a lot of questions, including weird shit like, "what's your religion?" they also suggest that the pikes must be catholic after mary anne tells them that there are eight pike children. & she catches them giggling at a television program featuring two asian children riding bicycles. they say that the kids on bikes "look funny". mary anne doesn't see what's so funny about them, but she speculates that she had her back turned while they did something silly, so she forgets about it. claudia is the next one to watch the lowells, & things go pretty badly. mrs. lowell is brusque with her, & the kids are terrors who want to eat an entire bag of oreo cookies. she takes them to jamie newton's house to introduce them to the all-kids' band, & they like that. they want to join. but they also fling themselves at mary anne & don't want anything to do with claudia. claudia is concerned that her wild outfit may have scared or alienated the lowell family. she can't imagine what else she did wrong. mrs. lowell calls again, specifically requesting any sitter but claudia, & this time only jessi is free. claudia has filled the other sitters in on her poor babysitting experience, so jessi decides to come prepared. she wears a tasteful outfit & stocks her kid-kit with toys specially geared to the lowell kids. she also takes pains to show up early, but not TOO early. but when she arrives, mrs. lowell takes one look at her & says she doesn't need a sitter after all. jessi knows something isn't right here, but she can't quite figure out what the problem is. she wonders if mrs. lowell was able to tell by looking at her that she is younger than the other sitters...but for all her attempts at being open-minded & practical, her feelings are hurt & she cries. the other sitters are equally as flummoxed. mary anne is signed up to sit for the lowells again soon, so kristy convinces her to let kristy take the job, to try to get to the bottom of the problem. kristy also bends over backwards to prepare for her job. she even wears a skirt, lest mrs. lowell be of the opinion that girls need to dress in a feminine manner. the kids are pretty nice to her, but they make certain comments about their previous sitters that set kristy's mind to working. at home that night, she requests a family conference with her mom, watson, & nannie. she tells them that she suspects that the lowells are racist. that's why the kids wouldn't behave for claudia, who is japanese american, & why mrs. lowell wouldn't even allow jessi, who is black, in the door. the adults do not dissuade kristy of this theory. they basically just sigh & tell her that racism happens, & it sucks. kristy is sad & angry. she brings her theory up at the next babysitters club meeting & jessi says she has been wondering the same thing. but claudia freaks out. she has apparently never been victimized by racism before & she is really angry. all the other babysitters are disgusted as well, but in my personal opinion, they are a LONG fucking way from being helpful. there's a lot of bullshit commentary about racist skinheads & the ku klux klan, like only the most obvious & violent racists are actually racist. i mean, the lowells are obviously racist, but there are a lot of more nuanced degrees of racism that are just as hurtful & dehumanizing. stacey & dawn huff & puff over how they probably wouldn't meet the lowells' standards either because their parents are divorced...like that is in any way the same thing as someone being racist against you. i mean, i know this is a kids' book & the general theme is about embracing diversity & being accepting of people who are different from you, regardles sof their ehtnicities, family situations, religions, etc, but it still really smacks of stacey & dawn (& kristy & mary anne & mallory) failing to support their friends of color because they are too busy fussing over the possibility that they may be victimized as well. mary anne (who i continue to loathe with all my being) actually CRIES when she speculates that racist skinheads might attack her because some of her ancestors are russian. what? SHUT UP, mary anne. at dinner, claudia asks her parents if they have ever experienced racism. she says something to the effect of, "i never realized there was anything wrong with being japanese," & mr. kishi handles the situation pretty well when he replies, "i'm sorry you ever felt the need to say something like that." because obviously there IS nothing wrong with being japanese. janine is less helpful when she informs claudia that japanese americans were shipped off to interment camps in the united states during world war two because the government feared they would spy for the japanese enemy. claudia is horrified. she has been learning about german concentration camps in school, but she never realized there were camps in the united states. janine says the japanese internment camps were not death camps...but they still sucked & were a manifestation of racism. claudia employs a poor word choice in describing the german concentration camps, saying she's been learning about "all those camps with funny names." first of all, there's nothing "funny" about concentration camps. second of all, there is nothing "funny" (either ha-ha or weird) about names that are derived from a language other than english. get it together, claudia. mrs. lowell actually has the nerve to call for yet another sitter, & she even goes so far as to request a blonde-haired blue-eyed sitter. kristy handles the call & suggests logan for the job. mrs. lowell splutters because she apparently doesn't think sitting is an appropriate job for a boy. kristy says she'd take the job herself, but she might be busy that day sitting for emily michelle, her adopted vietnamese sister. mrs. lowell says she doesn't need a sitter after all. kristy hangs up & gets on the cross over how mrs. lowell was hating on her for having a vietnamese sister. yeah, kind of pales in comparison to what jessi & claudia are dealing with right now, but nice try. in some unbelievably heavy-handed contrast writing, jackie rodowsky decides the all-kinds' band needs a name. he suggest all the children, which is short for all the children of the world. which is the worst name i've ever heard. he says it's perfect because the kids in the band represent all different ages & ethnic backgrounds. he & his brothers are polish, the hsus are asian (country not specified), the papadakises are greek, & jackie makes a big production of announcing that jamie newton's great-great-great-grandfather was a real live INJUN! he doesn't use that word, but he may as well have. he even gives a little speech about how this makes jamie a real american, because the indians were here before anyone else. *sigh* i wonder if jamie's great-great-great-grandfather was a cherokee prince. jackie proposes the name to the other kids at the next rehearsal & everyone is into it. they decide to put on a show & play a whole program. after some arguing, they settle on "fiddler on the roof". because the score from "cats" just wouldn't pack the punch necessary to shove this tolerance & diversity message all the way down our throats. mrs. lowell comes by to drop the kids off for practice, but collects them in a big huff when she notices some non-aryan children in the band & realizes they are playing songs about russian jews. the babysitters scheme to figure out a way to teach the lowells a lesson, but ultimately, they concede that racism is an enormous societal problem that they can't fix single-handedly. they just agree not to sit for the lowells anymore, & to hope that as the lowell children get older, they stop parroting their parents' fucked up belief systems. the "fiddler on the roof" show happens, the kids raise money to buy matching band t-shirts, & claudia notices ciatlin & mackie lowell hovering in the rear of the crowd, looking wistful, like they wish they could have performed with the band. she is hopeful that this is their first step toward not being huge racists. &...scene. we never again hear anything about the lowells or all the children. i'm going to go ahead & assume that the lowell family & all the children's instruments were strapped on to a train car & shipped off the shelbyville, a la the real seymour skinner in the "simpsons" episode where we learn that principal skinner is living under an assumed identity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    lisa

    Claudia baby sits for white supremacists who are shocked that a baby sitting service in Stoneybrook would employ not only an Asian, but a black as well. And the baby sitters are shocked that racist people could exist in Stoneybrook and dare to call them. To soothe their shiny happy ideas of the world, they start a band with their charges, and decide to perform songs from Fiddler on the Roof. I've been reluctant to reread this book since even as a kid (I was probably nine or ten when I read this) Claudia baby sits for white supremacists who are shocked that a baby sitting service in Stoneybrook would employ not only an Asian, but a black as well. And the baby sitters are shocked that racist people could exist in Stoneybrook and dare to call them. To soothe their shiny happy ideas of the world, they start a band with their charges, and decide to perform songs from Fiddler on the Roof. I've been reluctant to reread this book since even as a kid (I was probably nine or ten when I read this) there was something about the way this story was presented that didn't sit well with me, although as a kid I didn't have the knowledge to put my misgivings into words. Things I remember from reading this as a kid: I remember this book pretty well since I thought about it a lot. I remember Claudia assuming that Mrs Lowell doesn't like her because she doesn't dress conservatively enough, and I remember Kristy deciding to wear a dress to her sitting job for the same reason. I remember Jessi working all night to put together an office kit for the Lowell children to play with only to have the door slammed in her face when she showed up for her sitting job. I also remember that Claudia mentions she likes Bach's music, which made me want to listen to Bach. (If Claudia liked it, I wanted to like it since she was my favorite baby sitter!) I also remember the know-it-all in my fifth grade class correcting me when I pronounced Bach like "batch" because I had only seen it written in BSC books. Mostly I remember feeling almost a sense of dread when I was reaching the end of the book. I couldn't quite explain why. I had borrowed the book from a sort-of friend of mine, who was blonde and blue-eyed. I couldn't stand this girl most of the time, and I was only friends with her because her parents bought every single BSC book that was ever published, and she let me borrow them. Now that I'm older I understand that her family would have been considered white trash, or rednecks, and that her father was a raging racist. I remember she said to me that her father told her that she was a minority in Northern New Mexico and she shouldn't have to take crap (her words; fifth grade me was shocked!) from any of the "town brown". "If anyone gives me any trouble in school I'm supposed to let my dad know so that he can take care of the problem for me -- I'm not even supposed to tell the teachers," she told me when we were in third grade (the first year we went to school together). When her father came to pick her up at school he would sit in his truck, blocking all the other cars and stare really hard at all the kids in the playground. He would only move if the first grade teacher (who was the only teacher in the elementary school who was very obviously white, I think she had freckles and red hair) asked him to. If any other teacher asked him he would either ignore them, or say something like, "I'm not ready to move." I think what I didn't like about this book was that even well-meaning, so called "good" white people did not want to take on obvious racism. I knew there were obviously racist people all around me, even though Northern New Mexico is pretty diverse. I went to school with all kinds of kids, and I did a lot of extracurriculars in Santa Fe, but there was still obviously racism everywhere. My frenemy's father was just one example. I saw with my own eyes how no one wanted to stand up to him, even though he clearly hated all people of color, and he hated that his daughter was mixing with them. But even as a kid I also knew (although I didn't have the words for it) that I faced systematic racism all the time. From the drama teacher who gave all the leads to the white kids, to the dance teacher who put me and all the Hispanic and black girls in the back row of our recital, to the teacher who consistently marked my math papers with a lower grade than my white friend, even though we got the same answers. (She later implemented a rule that we couldn't compare our grades, since it was no one's business but our own, but the only kids who got in trouble for breaking that rule were the students of color.) If white people were not willing to confront the obvious racists, how could I expect them to defend me from the systematic racists, or even realize that such a thing existed, and was very real to me, and affected my entire future? Things I've considered since reading this as an adult: In the first chapter of this book the Rodowsky boys are talking about how they love show business and wish they could entertain people for a living. This is exactly how I imagine the Warner brothers acted when they were growing up. Little Jack, Harry, Albert, and Sam probably talked their baby sitters into helping them start a band, and they definitely raised money for uniforms. This book was very clearly written by white people. White people only see racism when it smacks them in the face so hard that they are forced to acknowledge it, because they don't live with its consequences day after day. Therefore, the Lowells are so racist that it's obvious even to Kristy, who is usually oblivious to this sort of thing. They are clearly raising their children on a diet of literature by David Duke and Don Black. They are clearly sick, and twisted. They should clearly be driven away from suburban America by their neighbors. The BSC should clearly stay far away from them. They are very obviously scary. What bothered me as a kid (although I couldn't put it into words) and what REALLY bothers me as adult (because I can put it into words) is that this type of racism is so overt that it's easy to vilify. Why couldn't the Lowells have been more subtle, as many racists are? I would think in a town as white as Stoneybrook that at least one of the BSCs regular clients is racist without realizing it. They're the family that doesn't want Jessi to baby sit because the kids like Stacey and Dawn so much better. They're the family that never invites the Ramseys to join their book club, or are bitter when Claudia's father gets a raise. They're the ones at a cocktail party who sit in a little group and whisper about the immigrants getting all the jobs, and the Jews raising prices on everything. I really wish the story would have followed that kind of racism. I'm not saying that overtly frightening, Nazi-loving, white supremacy racism doesn't exist, I know that it does. I also know that these types of people tend to live in enclaves, making me wonder who else in Stoneybrook is "friends" with the Lowells. In the story the Lowells find a flier advertising the BSCs services, so therefore the baby sitters can't point fingers at the clients who might have recommended them. Apparently they heard from "somewhere" that the club was reliable. WHERE DID THEY HEAR IT? Who of the other BSC clients are bigots who are better at disguising their overt hatred than the Lowells? As a kid, I don't remember being bothered by the band the BSC charges begin (in this book only of course; we never, ever hear about this band again) but as an adult I wanted to run screaming from this book, and not just because the chapters dealing with the band are incredibly boring. The kids decide to call their band All the Children because they are oh-so-diverse, and they represent all the children of the world! Jaime Newton even has a Native American ancestor, meaning he must be a true American! And he can stand in for any old Native American, any old time! I mean, he has a Native ancestor, right? He totally knows exactly what being an Indian is all about! The kids are as pleased as a board of directors in a corporation that they have Chinese friends! And a Japanese baby sitter! And one black family in town! No way could anyone call them racists, no sir! When Kristy tells her parents that she thinks the Lowells are racists, even though there's no way to prove it, the first thing Watson says to her is, "That's a pretty strong word," like an admonishment. Like he's telling her, "Don't accuse someone of that if you don't know for sure." But why shouldn't Kristy say they Lowells are racist if they ARE RACIST? The ongoing problem with racism is that no one wants to admit their racism, and everyone is too scared to call someone out on it. Maybe if they did then children of racists would learn to pick up on unacceptable behaviors and work to better their racial and cultural understanding. I like Nannie's reaction to Kristy's statement a lot better because it's so sad, and so true. The only she says is, "With each generation I think it's going to be over. But it isn't even getting better. Maybe I'm just an old fool." I wonder if Nannie's age has made her see the racism that's all over Stoneybrook, including Kristy's dismissal of Becca's hurt feelings of racism in Jessi and the Secret Language. I notice that Kristy does not refer to the Lowells as racists for the rest of the book. Instead she says they are "prejudiced" which I guess is a nice way of saying racist. Thanks a lot, Watson. Yet another example of why no one wants to stand up to racists. And then Mary Anne cries because she thinks someone could beat her up because she has Russian ancestors. This book is probably what really kicked my hatred of Mary Anne into full gear. As a kid I was desperate for someone, anyone to confront the Lowells and shame them for their behavior. I was furious when all that happened was that the BSC decided not to baby sit for the Lowells, and everyone went on their happy way. As an adult I understand this a lot better, even though I still don't like it. As Stacey points out, the BSC is just a bunch of thirteen year olds and a few eleven year olds. There's no way they can take on the complexities of one family's mindset, especially since there is no way in the world they will change an adult's thinking, and the children are under the reasonable care of their parents. I still don't like that when Claudia wants to tell the Lowells that "we're not going to sit for her family anymore because we don't like bigots," Kristy immediately says, "You know darn well we cannot say that." Why can't they say that? Because it's rude? Because that would hurt the Lowells feelings? But it's the truth, and I don't think it's rude, it's just disagreeing with the Lowells point of view, and the Lowells point of view is wrong. It's OK to stand up for what's right. And why should Kristy, a white rich girl be allowed to make that call when Claudia and Jessi were most affected by the Lowells behavior? I'm so mad at Watson for chastising Kristy for saying "racist" because she has instantly learned that no one should ever be called out for racist behavior, ever. And then Stacey brings up reverse racism, and I want to scream "THERE'S NO SUCH THING, STUPID WHITE GIRL!" I love that Claudia's response to this is just to snap, "Oh, who cares?" but I'm sure that was unintentional on the part of the writer given the insensitivity of this book. Despite all that nonsense, at the end of the book I understand when Dawn who says, "Maybe teaching the Lowells a lesson isn't our job." (But if not them, then whose job is it? Society clearly isn't doing much. I mean, the job has to start somewhere. I do understand the passiveness of a privileged white girl who will never experience racism, and has nothing to lose by defending her friends of color, but I still don't like it.) I have a grudging respect for Jessi (because she's a bigger person than I will ever be) when she says, "We can be good examples for the kids we sit for. . . whether they have prejudiced ideas or not. . . We can just show them how to be good neighbors." The baby sitters agree that is their role in life for now. At the very end of the book Jessi and Claudia witness the Lowell children sneaking into the Newton's yard to watch the concert which they have banned from playing in. They wonder, without much hope, if the kids will grow up to have different ideas about humans than what their parents are forcing them to believe. As Jessi says, "Maybe."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Logan Hughes

    A new client, the Lowells, are perfectly nice when Mary Anne sits, but with Claudia, the kids are terrors. Then when Jessi comes to sit, Mrs. Lowell won’t let her in the house. Kristy figures out that Mrs. Lowell is a Racist. They don’t know how they should handle Mrs. Lowell if she calls again; when she actually has the audacity to call and request the blue-eyed blond-haired baby-sitter Mary Anne mentioned, Kristy tells her they’re all busy. She doesn’t call again. Meanwhile, Claudia helps neig A new client, the Lowells, are perfectly nice when Mary Anne sits, but with Claudia, the kids are terrors. Then when Jessi comes to sit, Mrs. Lowell won’t let her in the house. Kristy figures out that Mrs. Lowell is a Racist. They don’t know how they should handle Mrs. Lowell if she calls again; when she actually has the audacity to call and request the blue-eyed blond-haired baby-sitter Mary Anne mentioned, Kristy tells her they’re all busy. She doesn’t call again. Meanwhile, Claudia helps neighborhood kids form a weirdly enormous band consisting of kids with musical talent (Myriah Perkins, Marilyn Arnold), kids who take lessons (Shea Rodowsky), and about a gajillion skill-free kids with homemade drums and kazoos and stuff. They perform what must be a totally terrible recital of all the music from "Fiddler on the Roof." (The racist disapproves because she hates Jews, of course.) This is a sort of disappointing book as some BSC books have handled serious issues well (even the first Mallory book did an okay job with racism), but this was just a total VSE, and it felt very contrived and unnatural, with a clear division between "US" (Good People) and "THEM" (bizarre, unmotivated, universal racism). Claudia is a weak choice for narrator. The issue of racism has nothing to do with her personal character, which I suppose is the point, but she’s sort of the most boring, passive character in the story. All she does is get sort of alarmed and upset and let Kristy sort it out. More interesting emotional stories were hinted at for both Jessi (turning hard and cynical when the racist bullshit rears its ugly head yet again--wondering if she’ll ever get away from it) and Kristy (wondering how a president should deal with this situation; can and should she refuse to serve a particular client on moral grounds? will it be bad for business? is it disrepectful to her elders? how can see even prove Mrs. Lowell is a racist? is it okay for her to get as indignant, or more, as Claudia and Jessi, even if she herself is "approved" by Mrs. Lowell?) Oddly Great Moment: When Mary Anne is telling the Lowell kids about the other kids in the club, she mentions that Mal has seven brothers and sisters. "She must be Catholic," says the oldest girl without missing a beat. Heh. That’s exactly what my mom said. (Does that make her racist?) Lingering Questions: Are there really racists like that? Mrs. Lowell is this odd combination of silent (she won’t come out and actually say anything) and brazen (she’s coolly logical and shameless about actually keeping people of color out of her life, and cherry-picking white baby-sitters). How come Jessi didn’t figure it out, if she’s supposedly been the victim of all this prejudice because of her race in the not so distant past? How has Claudia never experienced racism? Is Mallory Catholic? Timing: No specific temporal markers. Some events occur outside. Revised Timeline: Fall of twelfth grade

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I am giving this one a five-star rating because it was the first BSC book I owned. To this day, I am not exactly sure how it ended up on my shelf as a child, but I am grateful that it did. :) I remember for a while there, I only read as far as Chapter 2 and would do so over and over because I loved the way that all of the characters were described. (of course, once I read more of them, that traditional Chapter 2 intro would become rather tiresome, but I always read it anyway.) Finally one day, I I am giving this one a five-star rating because it was the first BSC book I owned. To this day, I am not exactly sure how it ended up on my shelf as a child, but I am grateful that it did. :) I remember for a while there, I only read as far as Chapter 2 and would do so over and over because I loved the way that all of the characters were described. (of course, once I read more of them, that traditional Chapter 2 intro would become rather tiresome, but I always read it anyway.) Finally one day, I decided to read the entire book and a new passion was born. I still have every single BSC book I owned in a box in my attic and I hope that one day when I have a family of my own, I will pass them down to my daughter. She and I will have mini book clubs where we'll talk about the books and compare notes to when I read them at her age. Plus, it'll give me an excuse to read them again. ;) While some of the books definitely show their age (descriptions of outfits, movie references, etc.), the stories and the characters still hold up well for a new generation of readers. :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Ugh racism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Abella

    I grew out of the series and stopped reading BSC before this book came out so this is the first time for me. Growing up, I *knew* Claudia was Asian like me, but I never really I saw myself in her until I was an adult (mostly bc I heavily identified w Mary Anne -- still do; Claudia is too cool for me). But man if this book had come earlier in the series before I had aged out, I might have felt a stronger kinship to Claudia back then. BUT: Claud had *never* faced racism before 8th grade? And there I grew out of the series and stopped reading BSC before this book came out so this is the first time for me. Growing up, I *knew* Claudia was Asian like me, but I never really I saw myself in her until I was an adult (mostly bc I heavily identified w Mary Anne -- still do; Claudia is too cool for me). But man if this book had come earlier in the series before I had aged out, I might have felt a stronger kinship to Claudia back then. BUT: Claud had *never* faced racism before 8th grade? And there are maddening responses to racism from the white members of the BSC and even the white adults, along the lines of "Welp, there's not much we can do about it."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I love Kristy so much. (And relate to her.) Here's how she's described: -"Kristy's duties are to be in charge" (11). -"What sort of person is Kristy? Well, she's energetic and outgoing and she talks a lot. Even *she* admits she has a big mouth" (14). -Kristy is direct in dealing with uncomfortable situations -Asks a kid, "'How could you come too a band rehearsal without your instruments'" (71) as Mallory and Mary Anne are soothing the other children. There's a disappointing amount of gender conformit I love Kristy so much. (And relate to her.) Here's how she's described: -"Kristy's duties are to be in charge" (11). -"What sort of person is Kristy? Well, she's energetic and outgoing and she talks a lot. Even *she* admits she has a big mouth" (14). -Kristy is direct in dealing with uncomfortable situations -Asks a kid, "'How could you come too a band rehearsal without your instruments'" (71) as Mallory and Mary Anne are soothing the other children. There's a disappointing amount of gender conformity in this book...hm. But there are these revelatory gems Claudia passes on: "In our own we, we're all survivors" (20)--too true, Claud! and "Everyone is eleven at one time. We all live through it" (21). This one clipped along at a nice pace. Mary Anne's books, from what I remember, were the dullest because she cries all the time and is so sensitive. But this one had a plot, a villain, a moral, and resolution. And it was funny! I laughed out loud more than once.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Iris

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’m really glad this book focused on racism that Claudia faced because I feel like racism against Asian-Americans isn’t really talked about as much as other forms of racism. The Lowells are quite racist. They would probably vote for 45, lol. I kind of wish the ending was a tiny bit different, that it ended with Mrs. Lowell being more tolerant, but in actuality, it was probably very realistic because if you have someone that racist, you can’t really change their mind that fast, if at all. All in al I’m really glad this book focused on racism that Claudia faced because I feel like racism against Asian-Americans isn’t really talked about as much as other forms of racism. The Lowells are quite racist. They would probably vote for 45, lol. I kind of wish the ending was a tiny bit different, that it ended with Mrs. Lowell being more tolerant, but in actuality, it was probably very realistic because if you have someone that racist, you can’t really change their mind that fast, if at all. All in all, good book. Thank you Phil Yu (a.k.a. Angry Asian Man) for making me aware of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    You never except the BSC books to be this timely, but in this one the club deals with a racist family that doesn’t want Claudia (who’s Japanese) or Jessi (who’s Black) to babysit for them. Yikes. Can’t wait to listen to the podcast recap - The Baby-Sitters Club Club.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I always thought that the prejudice plot was handled very well in this book, and I still think that upon re-reading this. (Especially compared to how awkward it was always handled with Jessi!) However, I still don't buy that Mrs. Lowell would actually have the nerve to request the "blonde-haired blue-eyed babysitter." Before that comment she tried so hard to hide her racism, so I don't think she would ever have been that blunt. I always thought that the prejudice plot was handled very well in this book, and I still think that upon re-reading this. (Especially compared to how awkward it was always handled with Jessi!) However, I still don't buy that Mrs. Lowell would actually have the nerve to request the "blonde-haired blue-eyed babysitter." Before that comment she tried so hard to hide her racism, so I don't think she would ever have been that blunt.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Ah, yes - the Very Special Episode about Racism, as illustrated on the cover by the token Asian juxtaposed with the three Aryan children. Of course being Asian is the only reason these people would not want Claudia to baby-sit their children - it couldn't possibly have anything to do with her schizophrenic clothing choices. Ah, yes - the Very Special Episode about Racism, as illustrated on the cover by the token Asian juxtaposed with the three Aryan children. Of course being Asian is the only reason these people would not want Claudia to baby-sit their children - it couldn't possibly have anything to do with her schizophrenic clothing choices.

  13. 5 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    Some of the books in the BSC series were pretty light, dealing with zany situations, but there were those that dealt with stuff like child abuse or drug abuse, and this book is about Claudia dealing with prejudice because she is Asian. Overall a decent book, appropriate for its intended audience.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I would love to give a better review, but I am exhausted. Perhaps tomorrow.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joey Susan

    I feel like a lot happened in this book. Let’s start with the more simple storyline and the one that was relatively funny, all the kids getting together to form a musical band as Claudia got the idea from Jackie who he and his brothers desperately wanted to perform in front of an audience. So the BSC focus heavily on rehearsals and putting this show together for the kids. Cute idea and it was fun for the kids. The other storyline within the story is a more deeper and darker one in which a white I feel like a lot happened in this book. Let’s start with the more simple storyline and the one that was relatively funny, all the kids getting together to form a musical band as Claudia got the idea from Jackie who he and his brothers desperately wanted to perform in front of an audience. So the BSC focus heavily on rehearsals and putting this show together for the kids. Cute idea and it was fun for the kids. The other storyline within the story is a more deeper and darker one in which a white suprematist family higher the BSC, though they were unaware of the issues they would have until much later. Both Claudia and Jessi struggle with being prejudice against, but the rest of BSC start to worry too about the way that family were. But what’s harder is Kristy isn’t sure how to deal with the family as they haven’t had a family like that around them. It was an okay story I like that it dealt with an unfortunate issue that still exists today I guess I’m like Nannie, and just think in time it has to end but it never seems too. It wasn’t a favourite of mine to read but I’m happy to have read it, I do like when books aimed at a younger audience deal with difficult real life issues.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Summer Hurst

    Keep out Claudia As I said in my attatched comment, yes evil people with that much prejudice exist though it must be hard to if you ever encounter people ‘like you’ who are not prejudiced. It would be unusual for the kids to already be so prejudiced unless their parents specifically taken time to brainwash them in those ideas it would be great in any future series for the kids to have abandoned prejudice of this sort. It is totally itprrational like all sin but like all sin guilty parties think t Keep out Claudia As I said in my attatched comment, yes evil people with that much prejudice exist though it must be hard to if you ever encounter people ‘like you’ who are not prejudiced. It would be unusual for the kids to already be so prejudiced unless their parents specifically taken time to brainwash them in those ideas it would be great in any future series for the kids to have abandoned prejudice of this sort. It is totally itprrational like all sin but like all sin guilty parties think they are rational like small children demanding their limited way. Maybe having this much specific prejudice in one family feels like much, it can happen, but maybe spreading different sorts among a few clients would have felt more realistic to some, the family came off crazy which is what this prejudice is

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lianna Kendig

    (LL) This book does an excellent job tackling: racism and how to properly handle it. That is not an easy topic for a series based around babysitting and middle school drama to handle, but it was done so well. They weren’t mean to the children or parents, and accepted they can’t do anything about it. It’s always tough for kids to experience their first time being discriminated against, which is why Claudia took it so harshly and Jessi was used to it, as we have seen in the series already how peopl (LL) This book does an excellent job tackling: racism and how to properly handle it. That is not an easy topic for a series based around babysitting and middle school drama to handle, but it was done so well. They weren’t mean to the children or parents, and accepted they can’t do anything about it. It’s always tough for kids to experience their first time being discriminated against, which is why Claudia took it so harshly and Jessi was used to it, as we have seen in the series already how people treat Jessi and her family. It was also important that Kristy went to her parents for advice, since Stacey pointed out they are kids too and don’t know how to solve everything. It’s only the second time I’ve given a book in the series five stars, which is saying something because there are some really solid books in this series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sayo

    These books tackled some tough topics for teens. I am half Japanese so the Claudia books hold a special part of my heart. And this book that deals with racism and prejudice were enough to make me feel validated and heard at a young age. As a kid my best friends sister had the whole BSC series on a book shelf in her room. I thought she was so grown up. And I envied this bookshelf. And would often poke my head into that room just to look at it. And when I read BSC, I felt like such a grown up. And wh These books tackled some tough topics for teens. I am half Japanese so the Claudia books hold a special part of my heart. And this book that deals with racism and prejudice were enough to make me feel validated and heard at a young age. As a kid my best friends sister had the whole BSC series on a book shelf in her room. I thought she was so grown up. And I envied this bookshelf. And would often poke my head into that room just to look at it. And when I read BSC, I felt like such a grown up. And while I might have still been a little too young to understand some of the issues dealt with in these books, I do appreciated that Ann M. Martin tackled age appropriate issues, some being deeper than others, but still important.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I understand why this one was written. I liked the note from Ann in the back of the book. I just find the Lowells unbelievable. I can't imagine one family hating Jews, Catholics, blacks and Asians. Maybe I haven't seen enough racism in my life though. Anyway, I don't remember reading this one as a kid, so it was nice to finish it. I understand why this one was written. I liked the note from Ann in the back of the book. I just find the Lowells unbelievable. I can't imagine one family hating Jews, Catholics, blacks and Asians. Maybe I haven't seen enough racism in my life though. Anyway, I don't remember reading this one as a kid, so it was nice to finish it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    Deals with important topic of racism. I am not an expert on how it was handled, so i dont want to speak on whether the situation was handled correctly or not. They are middle school students so I want to cut them some slack. Maybe tell an adult about what was going on would have been better. But very important topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    In this book we finally see some of the racism in Stoneybrook that Jessi has apparently been experiencing all along. But it's not even Jessi (at first) who deals with it, it's Claudia. Why is that? Did they feel it would be too difficult to show an African American dealing with misguided bigots? I don't know. This book was okay. The little blonde kids are super creepy but hey, Claudia's cover outfit actually matches the description for once! The story starts out with Claudia baby-sitting the Rodo In this book we finally see some of the racism in Stoneybrook that Jessi has apparently been experiencing all along. But it's not even Jessi (at first) who deals with it, it's Claudia. Why is that? Did they feel it would be too difficult to show an African American dealing with misguided bigots? I don't know. This book was okay. The little blonde kids are super creepy but hey, Claudia's cover outfit actually matches the description for once! The story starts out with Claudia baby-sitting the Rodowsky boys. Shea is practicing the piano (his "a doggie-o's") and Jackie and Archie are down because they don't play an instrument or anything. Archie wants people to clap for him and to be a star. Jackie just wants to not knock anything over for once. Poor Jackie, he's gonna have some serious issues later on. This sets Claudia's little brain a-thinking, while she heads home to clean up her room for the BSC meeting. (Snacks hidden around her room at this moment: Snickers bar and M&M's and Neccos and Fritos and ranch-style potato chips and crackers and popcorn...) Oh! And genius Janine locked herself out of the house! At the meeting, Claud tells the girls her idea: help the kids plan a musical performance or something. Seriously, the amount of time these girls spend with these kids, they should get a raise! Are the parents giving them any extra money for these rehearsals and costumes and art supplies? I don't think so! A new client calls, the Lowells, and Mary Anne gets the job. When she gets there, the mom gives her a quick up-and-down look but apparently approves of what she sees. The 3 kids are little blonde clones who line up for Mary Anne to check out. The job goes well, although there a few weird moments with the kids asking her what religion she is and giggling at someones eyes on tv. Then it's Claudia's turn to baby-sit for the clones. Mrs Lowell looks less than thrilled to see Claudia, but Claud just assumes it's because of her wild clothes: ...black leggings and high-topped sneakers, my fringed blue-jean vest and beaded Indian belt, my six silver rings and... (Spoiler: it's not her outfit.) Claudia has a rough time with the kids; they don't listen to her and sneak snacks and such. And at the next BSC meeting, she calls and asks Kristy for any sitter but Claudia. So Jessi gets the job hah. Stupid racist cow. (Sorry, getting worked up over my BSC book here.) Jessi over-prepares for the job, arriving right on time and putting together a sweet office play set for the kids. But when Mrs Bigot opens the door, she looks shocked and just stares at Jessi for a second. Then she tells Jessi she doesn't need a sitter after all and shuts the door in her face. Jessi doesn't know what to think or do so she just leaves and cries as she walks home. She has a familiar feeling about what happened but doesn't really know. You'd think she would know exactly what happened since she apparently dealt with it all the time after moving to Stoneybrook. The girls are all upset at the meeting, trying to figure things out. Kristy takes the next job to see what's up and even wears a skirt to see if it was just Claud's wild clothes. (Again, it wasn't.) The kids are fine for her but she has a gross taste in her mouth when she gets home, so she talks to her mom, Watson, and Nannie. She tells them she thinks Mrs Lowell is a racist and Nanny says "With each generation I think it's going to be over. But it isn't even getting better. Maybe I'm just an old fool." I feel ya Nannie, I feel ya. Kristy tells the girls at the next meeting what she thinks and Claudia is understandably upset. But she gets mad at her friends because Mrs Lowell isn't there. "Will you guys at least look at me?" I shouted. "I am not dirt you know. Nothing is wrong with me." It'd be interesting to see this book get updated to current times. Claudia would have to prove she's not an illegal immigrant and Jessi would be protesting the police after her dad and Squirt get killed in a routine traffic stop. :( Wow, this review is getting really dark isn't it? Okay, here's a lighter moment and then moving on quickly. Dawn asks for wheat germ biscuits (gross) and Claud has a bit of humor: "Oh, yeah. Right. Wheat germ biscuits. I have them hidden here under the bed along with my endless supply of tofu." Mrs Lowell calls for the blonde-haired blue-eyed baby-sitter and the girls realize she's just a general racist against everyone and agree to never sit for her again. They continue on with the band rehearsals and the kids decide to perform songs from Fiddler on the Roof. The concert is a success, Claire Pike doesn't throw a tantrum, Jackie doesn't knock anyone over, and the Lowell kids watch the concert in secret. Claud & Jessi wonder if the kids will grow out of their bigotry eventually. "It's okay to hate some of the things people do, but it's not okay to hate the people who do them." Blogged at SeeJennRead!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I like that, for once, the Baby-sitters Club didn't save the day and change the Lowells' mind. That Stacey pointed out that, at 13, the girls are kids themselves, and there's not much they can do, except be good role models to the kids that look up to them. I like that, for once, the Baby-sitters Club didn't save the day and change the Lowells' mind. That Stacey pointed out that, at 13, the girls are kids themselves, and there's not much they can do, except be good role models to the kids that look up to them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    This book thinks its capable of intelligently discussing racism, and while I guess it's a valiant effort for a bunch of white people in the early 90s, it really doesn't hold up to even the lightest of scrutiny. This book thinks its capable of intelligently discussing racism, and while I guess it's a valiant effort for a bunch of white people in the early 90s, it really doesn't hold up to even the lightest of scrutiny.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Grace Castellucci

    I love thie book. I want to read them all.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Baratta

    Review on www.Audible.com You must listen to this book deals with Prejudice and discrimination. Review on www.Audible.com You must listen to this book deals with Prejudice and discrimination.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Loved it 😍 Loved it 😍 Loved it 😍 Loved it so much I loved o so so so so so so much 😍

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    It was okay. I hated the discrimination and prejudice the Lowell family had.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Read my recap at A Year with the BSC via Stoneybrook Forever: https://www.livethemovies.com/bsc-blo... Read my recap at A Year with the BSC via Stoneybrook Forever: https://www.livethemovies.com/bsc-blo...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Addresses a serious issue that is still a relevant problem. Forwarding-thinking for the win!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I really liked this as a kid and I liked the whole series but reading this one now that I'm older... it just doesn't make sense. Claudia, an Asian girl living in a mostly white town, experienced racism for the first time at age thirteen when a white family wouldn't let her babysit. Like the first time ever. In her life. She describes it as a "revelation" where she realizes that there are people in her neighborhood who don't like her because of her race. Meanwhile, the black girl, Jessi, who is f I really liked this as a kid and I liked the whole series but reading this one now that I'm older... it just doesn't make sense. Claudia, an Asian girl living in a mostly white town, experienced racism for the first time at age thirteen when a white family wouldn't let her babysit. Like the first time ever. In her life. She describes it as a "revelation" where she realizes that there are people in her neighborhood who don't like her because of her race. Meanwhile, the black girl, Jessi, who is friends with Claudia, experiences all sorts of Southern 1950s type racism when she moves to town. Parents won't let her play with their kids and stuff. Seriously, what kind of town has people be that racist to a black kid and not the Asian? Did no one make any "smart kid" jokes to Claudia when she was in school? Did she seriously never experience any kind of racism at all in this clearly racist town? It just doesn't make sense.

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