Scholastic’s Graphix imprint has signed a four-book deal with Gale Galligan that includes the fifth and sixth graphic novels based on Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books, as well as two original titles, Breakaway and Hazel. The new BSC books follow Graphix’s successful release of full-color versions of the first four black-and-white graphic novels in the series, by Raina Telgemeier.
“We wanted to keep the momentum going,” says editor Cassandra Pelham, who reports that Scholastic first connected with Galligan when Graphix founder David Saylor attended an Education Day at Savannah College of Art & Design, where Gale studied. “Gale’s portfolio was so accessible and the artwork was so delightful, we knew we wanted to work with her on new comics. At the same time, we were talking about doing more Baby-Sitters Club books, and we thought it would be great to launch her career with an already established series.”
Meanwhile, Galligan was already a fan of the franchise and had worked as Telgemeier’s production assistant on Drama. “So the stars aligned in all these different ways,” Pelham says.
“I loved the Baby-Sitters Club as a kid,” Galligan says. “Every single girl was so great and they had so many cool adventures. Working on the books is kind of a dream, and I’m excited and humbled to be doing it. I’m having a great time delving into these characters that I already know well.”
Pelham says the two new books, beginning with Book #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three in 2017, will build on the first four stories and will be recognizable to fans of Telgemeier’s work, while still showcasing Galligan’s voice and the flavor of her artwork.
Creating the books has been a close collaboration between Galligan and Pelham, with approvals by Martin along the way. “It’s been a fun and fascinating process,” Galligan says. “Raina laid the groundwork, so it’s well established, and there are already strong characters that are very well defined, which is both helpful and a little intimidating. It’s like there’s a big playground in front of me. The toys are already there but I can play with them.”
The original Baby-Sitters Club novels, which have more than 176 million copies in print worldwide, began as a four-book series in 1986. Telgemeier’s black-and-white graphic novels were published from 2006 to 2008. The full-color editions, released from May 2015 through January 2016, will be released as a boxed set in October of this year. All told, there are 1.6 million Baby-Sitters Club Graphix books in print.