The Nana’s, Nannies, and Everyone in Between in Books

Posted by Sarah Fox

Every year we get to celebrate our parents with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But what about those awesome people who watch the kids when the parents are busy or at work? While we are happy to celebrate parents’ contributions, we would like to take a moment to appreciate those whose job is to take care of children when the parents are away. So, in honor of them, we have compiled a list of our favorite childcare providers in books.


Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane is a governess to Adele Varens, a French girl placed in the care of Mr. Rochester. There are some things we really admire about the work Jane does for this little girl.

She does try and give Adele an education and can even understand the child when she speaks in French (which is more than we can say for us—our edition does not provide translations of the French). She does cross a lot of professional lines though; it is generally not a good idea to get romantically entangled with the boss. Especially if he is already married.


Nana from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Nana is the only non-human childcare provider in this bunch; she is a sweet, Newfoundland dog (you do have to give it to the Darlings for not being helicopter parents). While she does take her duties seriously, she manages to let the children escape out their bedroom window with Peter Pan. Before we pass too much judgment on our canine friend, we must remember that it is really hard to fight against pixie dust. Plus, Peter Pan has the advantage of flight.


Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

We have to say that Mary Poppins certainly knows how to make an entrance. Most people apply to jobs by sending in a resume and going to an interview. Not Mary Poppins—she literally flies into town via umbrella. As a nanny, she is not the warmest and gentlest, but she is the coolest. Who else has tea parties on ceilings and birthday parties at zoos with the animals? To top it all off, she has a bag that we all envy: one that seems to hold everything.


Nurse Matilda from Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand

Nurse Matilda was the inspiration for the Nanny McPhee films. While it is tempting to call her a poor man’s Mary Poppins, she does have her own distinguishing characteristics. The magic she uses is much darker and meant to teach a lesson (she makes it so that the children cannot cease what bad thing they are doing), and she is described as ugly. While Mary Poppins definitely comes off as more appealing in nature and looks, she did have way less children to manage.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.


The Babysitters from The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin

Let’s hear it for these entrepreneurial adolescents. We always appreciate people who show leadership and responsibility at a young age! Plus, their business model is genius. A parent can find a babysitter that is right for his or her children. Want them to practice their pitch? Hire Kristy. Think they need to change their style? Pick Claudia or Stacey. Aspire to have them care about the environment? Dawn is your girl. There is basically a babysitter for everyone.

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at