Eighth Grade Movie

A Movie You Want to See This Weekend

Eighth Grade Movie

There is a movie you want to see this weekend about an eighth grade girl. It is aptly titled, Eighth Grade.

I’m thrilled!

Eighth grade is probably one of the toughest times in a person’s life, don’t you agree?

I’m guessing most of you reading my blog have survived eighth grade, too.

That’s why I wrote my middle grade book Bumbling Bea.

If you’d like more information about Bumbling Bea, check it out here: Bumbling Bea

Here’s a trailer from the film:

In my book, Bumbling Bea the main character, Beatrice is a lot like Elsie.   Both are the epitome of an eighth grade girl and I’m glad someone has finally shone a light on this awkward age.

Why is this such a difficult time in a young person’s life?

Think about it–everything is changing.



Hormones (or as a friend of mine says, “their whores are a moanin'”)

Image result for teen bullying

They aren’t little kids protected by their elementary teachers anymore.  They are only a few months away from high school which for them feels like adulthood is looming right around the corner.

And it is looming around the corner…

Society thrusts them into young adult hood too fast or we hold them back too much trying to shield them from the world.

Man, what a balancing act for all of us.

I’m excited to see how someone else addresses what it is like for eighth grade girls.

I wrote Bumbling Bea because I think eighth grade girls are forgotten.  If you haven’t read my book, here is a quick synopsis just to whet your appetite.

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything! So begins Beatrice’s diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. Then there’s that “other” girl who is such a blabber mouth.  What’s a girl to do?  Plenty.

Bumbling Bea

This isn’t your ordinary middle school experience either.  My story is full of conflict from Beatrice and Michiko, to Beatrice’s parents impending divorce and Michiko’s problems with her demanding mother, to a first cruch, poison ivy, flag dinners, paper airplanes and crazy antics during the play performance.

I’m hoping to see “Eighth Grade” this weekend, but until then I’ll think about my experiences in eighth grade.

I know my life wasn’t as fraught with drama as Beatrice’s.

Times were different from now of course.

We didn’t have cell phones are sexting, but we did have note writing and lots of telephone talking. I remember cheerleading (the closest thing I could get to performing), piano practicing, pimples, my hair on sponge curlers, makeup and panty hose.  I had a boy friend for an entire year and I felt so special because of it. (There was LOTS of making out which I’m sure my mother was aghast by but never said anything.)

I was a Girl Scout, too so I was trying to walk the very slim line of being a good girl AND trying to be part of the crowd.  Even now I can feel the angst of that.

So remember, if you have time this weekend a movie to see is “Eighth Grade”.  Give yourself a little treat or take a childhood friend with you.  I’d love to hear from you after you see it.

Until then.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


Maya Angelou's Thoughts

Maya Angelou’s Thoughts on Creativity

I have to agree with Ms.  Angelou. You can’t use up your creativity.

It seems the more I imagine, the more I scoop from the creativity pool. It is never ending.

Are you a person who has to make yourself sit down to create?  Sometimes I am the way.  In fact, I can easily distract myself.  Of course, I can always blame it on the ease of using the internet and “researching” for my next book. Usually, I end up on social media sites reading about kittens being saved from flood waters or something like that….

Honestly, I think my procrastination has to do with fear or failure.

I can’t really measure the value of something I’ve created.  I’m too close to it, or from my standpoint my work isn’t as good as someone else’s.

Nothing will stifle your creativity faster than comparing yourself to someone else.

I’ve been reading “The Big Magic” and let me tell you, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book is helping me in ways I didn’t expect.  It is very comforting to read a popular author admitting they don’t think they have much talent and are in a quandary why someone would want to read her books.

These are things I know about myself if I want to create:

  1. I have to have brain space.  If there are too many variables in my day (being grandma to our darling granddaughter, teaching and lesson plans, creating Teacherpayteachers products, daily goings on like the laundry needs to be done or we need to run errands,) I simply can’t create.
  2. I have to be rested.  If I’m tired or stressed, forget it. I simply can’t imagine.
  3. I need classical music or sound tracks playing in the background.
  4. My ideas arrive most fluidly between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  5. I do my best creating on a rainy day.
  6. I have to have some plan before I begin whether it’s a synopsis or an outline.
  7. I like my life to be balanced.  If I spend too much time creating lesson plan products or grading papers, then I need to do something such as cook a new recipe, or color in a coloring book or maybe write.

I used to think I was an “emotional perfectionist”.  That’s a person who needs to feel emotionally balanced in order to function well in life.  In some respects, I am one.  It is difficult for me to create anything of quality if I am stressed or worried.  (I can write really good poetry then, though. Ha!)

I think I will always have problems with self confidence and I have to be on guard to the little voices in my brain which like to distract me.  Those little boogers never seem to go away.

What do you do when you want to create?  Do you have certain steps you take to nurture your creativity?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

If you’d like to read more about my journey as an author, read here:


author's signature

Three Times a Charm: An Author Interview 

Here is my author Interview from Three Times a Charm

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing.

 Today we welcome middle grade author, Deborah Baldwin. Deborah, we’d love for you to tell us a little about you.

I am an award winning drama teacher and director, professional actress and youth theatre administrator. I graduated from Stephens College with a BFA in theatre performance and a MED from Lesley College certified to teach drama, speech and English/language arts in Colorado and Missouri. I  created seven youth theatre programs and have served as a consultant to several theatre companies in the mid-west.

Many years ago I co-developed a national playwriting contest for youth theatre plays which is still in existence today. I have directed over 250 full length productions, plays and musicals alike and have inspired many of my students to become professional actors, dancers, directors, playwrights and teachers. My husband and I recently retired from our teaching positions and reside in Kansas to be nearer to our family. I have two daughters who are the best of friends, a wonderful step son and two quirky cats, Spats and Lala.

Let’s hear more about Bumbling Bea.  

Purple Dragonfly Award Winner for Excellence in Writing and Publishing:

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything. So begins Beatrice’s diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. And then there’s that “other” girl—what a blabbermouth. What’s a girl to do? Plenty.

“Hilarious! Entertaining! Extremely true! A great read for anyone who enjoys theater!” RM Amazon reviewer

“In addition to being a fun read, this book does what so much fine literature does— helps us to see we are not alone.” MM Amazon reviewer

“Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin cannot fail to become a favorite with pre-teen readers, and very likely teenagers too, because the mixture of pathos and humor is so realistic.” SS Readers Favorite reviewer

I recommend my book to readers who like:

5,6,7, Nate by Tim Federle

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

· Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.  

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I have beloved this book for many years as have many other readers. The plot is terrific and I enjoy that the story is told from a girl’s point of view.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman I picked up Backman’s book earlier this year and appreciated every part of it. If you haven’t read any of Backman’s books, I’d suggest you do so. I enjoy stories that are heavy on characterization, because my background is in theatre and when I direct plays, I help actors create characters all the time.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Hmmm. I’m seeing a trend here—I’ve chosen all books about girls told from their point of view. Ha! This book writing is poetic and it’s a wonderful story. It’s an interesting perspective to read a story about the average German citizen living through WWII.

· Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.  

I think indie publishing is a fabulous tool for any writer and it suits me perfectly. It isn’t necessary to have a publisher in order to be successful in this business. One can publish her book herself! I’ve always been a trail blazer—the kind of person that takes matters in her own hands when she sees a need or problem.

I noticed that we have a dearth of books on whatever subject is popular the time, but stories about the arts (especially theatre) are very few in number. When I share my story’s plot with readers of various ages, they were so appreciative. “Oh good. Not another book about Zombies or wizards. Bumbling Bea is something unique!” they say.

There are countless sources writers can utilize to attract readers. I particularly like Litpick.com which is a student book review website. They give student readers an opportunity to learn how to review under the tutelage of an adult. And the books are free to any student who would like to learn to review. What a deal!
Bookworks.com is an excellent, and very useful website for indie publishers. They have a monthly newsletter with many helpful articles concerning self publishing, lists of book reviewers who are seeking books to peruse, etc. If you complete your personal page and profile with Bookworks, you have the opportunity to be featured by them which is great exposure for you and your book.

·Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

My aunts, mother and sister were teachers so becoming a teacher was a natural choice for me as well. It’s one of my greatest gifts. Kids energize me and fulfill my need to share my knowledge of the dramatic arts. Even after thirty-eight years of teaching, my students continue to teach me something about myself that I didn’t know. It’s very humbling.
Early on in my life, I wanted to become a professional actress. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. When I graduated from college in the seventies, there weren’t as many opportunities for young actors to be employed as there are now. My choices were pretty much limited to moving to New York or Los Angeles. I wasn’t ready for that jump. Over time, I found that I wasn’t willing to struggle as much as the occupation required. I was just as happy acting or directing in community theatre, occasionally working as a voice over actress, etc.

I’m a doer—I like to “do” and not sit around waiting for life to happen to me. Because of this particular gift, I have had opportunities to create many projects I don’t think I would have been able to otherwise. I’ve formed youth theatre programs, co-developed a national playwriting contest, presided over the construction of a theater, written winning grants, introduced companies to radio theatre, directed just about any play or musical I wanted and guided two programs concerning diversity for Martin Luther King celebrations. And, I’m not even finished yet!

I was created to be a theatre artist, period. I knew it as a young girl when I’d play dress up on our east front porch of our home. It took about ten years for me to admit my interest to my parents. My father understood immediately. Although he chose to be a physician, he acted in plays in college and loved it. I think my mother and siblings thought I was crazy or at least “unusual”, but they tried their best to understand or merely tolerated me. However, my immediate family is heavily involved in the arts and appreciate my creativity.

 Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.   

“People of integrity expect to be believed. When they are not, time proves them right.” –Unknown

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” ― Winston Churchill

“Eighty percent of all choices are based on fear. Most people don’t choose what they want; they choose what they think is safe.” –Phil McGraw

Wow – that last one! Finally, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find out more about you and your book.    



https://twitter.com/dhcbaldwin  and/or Deborah@DeborahHBaldwin


Thanks for joining us today, Deborah. It was great to get to know more about you and Bumbling Bea.
Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmal.com  or DeborahBaldwin.net

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Bumblingbea.com

I’d love to help and hear from you!

Full Circle Moments

What No One Tells You About Full Circle Moments–Part One


I am excited!  This weekend I’m going to enjoy a full circle moment. I should call it a full circle moments, because I’ have experienced several in my life. 

Have you ever experienced one?  You know, a “pay it forward” kind  of thing? They’re deeply fulfilling.

As a teacher and director, I’ve had many.  It seems to go with the territory. I would imagine everyone experiences full circle moments several times in their lifetime. If they are happy ones, we are joyful. If they are sad, I’m not certain we recognize them as full circle moments, but some sort of lesson we still need to learn.

Has anyone advised you how to handle them? Me neither.

No one tells you the brevity of them– they are magical and surprising.

Full circle moments, in general, are random.

An example:  My Ukrainian pen pal ended up on a  train  in Romania with a professor from my small midwestern hometown who knew my family.  That’s one chance in at least a million chances of occurring.

Another:  My daughter grows up to perform in a show with one of her babysitters who grew up and became an actress at my encouraging. They perform together in a different city one hundred miles away. Ten years later.

You have to admit full circle moments make you take a pause. Sometimes they are baffling. You are afraid to share them with anyone for fear they’ll think you are crazy–you are fantasizing and dillusional.

We can’t prophesy when full circle moments will occur or even if we’ll have one. That’s what makes them special.


This particular full circle moment began very innocently.

Forty years ago next month, in 1977 I  student taught drama at West Junior High School in Columbia, MO. Some of the students were the best students I’ve taught, even if I was still in the learning phase of my career.  I am still friends with many of them today.

A young man, Randall Kenneth Jones, is a student of mine during that semester.  He is smart, witty and clever.

In 1978, we work together in an outdoor community theater.  Randy performs Dauntless in Once Upon a Mattress while I serve as the stage properties mistress.  We perform as brother and sister in 110 in the Shade.  He is in the chorus while I portray Mrs. Bumble in Oliver!

Two years later, my former husband and I create a community theater– Columbia Entertainment Company.  Randy performs in several of the shows–Two by Two and Damn Yankees.  I perform with him in Damn Yankees.

Get this: My cooperating teacher when I student taught, Jackie Petit White, performs in the production as well!

Randy attends the University of Missouri-Columbia in journalism.  Afgter graduating, he moves to Washington, DC. He works in marketing, advertising and public relations with a focus on creative development. He develops a terrific resume which includes PR and marketing for Walgreens, JCPenney, The Washingon Post and more.

I stay in Missouri, divorce, remarry, have children, preside over CEC for several years, run a theatre school, teach drama to middle schoolers and create several youth theater programs.  I direct several hundreds plays and musicals with adults and children alike. My resume is different from Randy’s, but equally successful.

In essence, we are equally busy.

Bumbling Bea

Time passes….

Thirty-nine years later in 2016, we meet again. I read on Facebook Randy has authored a really cool book, Show Me.  Show Me is filled with over one hundred interviews Randy collected with very successful people–Pat Benatar, Barbara Cochran, Jent Evanovich, Tyler Mathiesen, Suze Orman, just to name a few.

He’s about to release Show Me.  I write him, congratulating him.  We rekindle our friendship.  We promise to do a better job of keeping up with each other.

It’s fun to know again this great student, now a grown man. He’s just as witty, clever and smart.

Now the full circle moment–

Two months go by and Randy contacts me.  He’s traveling to  Columbia to do a fundraiser for CEC which was built twenty-nine years ago. (Isn’t that crazy?) For the fundraiser,  he’ll be performing a stand up routine, selling and autographing his book, too.

His routine includes memories of the teachers who inspired him, one of which was my cooperating teacher, Jackie Petit White.   He wants to speak about me as well, because I was very instrumental in keeping the community theatre afloat for years.

Would I be interested in participating as well?

Heck, yes!

I’m not taking center stage.  This event isn’t about me, but I will benefit from it.  I’ll be signing and selling Bumbling Bea (2.0) books before and after the show.

A portion of the proceeds go to Columbia Entertainment Company.  Tickets may be reserved in advance at cectheatre.org

In some respects, full circle moments are snippets of time in our lives. 

They prove, “I am here on earth.  I matter.  I helped someone to find themselves.”  My inner self and actual self meet in congruence. Wow!

We have amazing lives whether we notice them occurring or not. Could I have foreseen this upcoming moment? Never.

What full circle moments have you experienced?

Read part two of this full circle moment here: https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/28/what-no-one-tells-you-about-full-circle-moments-part-two/

Randy and I would love to see you and say hello.  You’ll find our books on Amazon.com

See you soon!

full circle moments

I’d love to hear about your full circle moments.  Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

author's signature




Three Things A Writer Needs According to Faulkner

Here are three things a writer needs according to Faulkner.

This is a terrific thought and so very true.  Thanks Mr. Faulkner.









When I was sixteen years old, I decided I wanted to put to pen my story of a girl who wants to be a Kabuki actor, but couldn’t because she was female.

For over twenty-five years I never got further than the first chapter of the book which was then titled, Two For the Kabuki for as many years.


Thank goodness I waited to write it.  I need experience both as a human being on this earth and teacher.  Without the experiences, my book would have been very superficial and not what it became.

I used to blame myself for waiting so long to write it.  As if I didn’t write it, someone else might do so first.  Maybe so.


I needed all those years to observe people.  A great place to do so was in my drama classroom. For twenty years, I taught middle school students.  Middle school is the most complex of all the years for a child.  They arrive to you as an eleven year old and leave as nearly a fourteen year old.  Wow.  Think about that!

The middle school years are the ones of the body changing, hormones a moaning, pimples, facial hair, squeaky voices and lack of poise.  Even the greatest athlete of the group can trip over himself on the way to the cafeteria.

I noticed the girl give up their long locks of hair and trying something more daring right around seventh grade.  As if the approaching high school years beckon them to mature in to the young adult they will become.

I listen to people’s conversations a lot, or rather I eaves drop on conversations.  Who needs to write original dialogue? People sometimes express themselves far better than I can.   I keep my ears peaked at all times.


I have quite an imagination.  I’m still afraid of the dark and think strange noises are some alien trying to get me. I won’t put my foot outside the sheets and when I do, it stays on top of the mattress.  No dangling my vulnerable foot over the edge of the bed.

Because of my experience as an actress and director, I rarely have trouble getting the juices to flow once I open the door to them.  Frankly, I have more trouble prioritizing which creative activity I should do first.  I always seem to have several irons in the fire–teacherspayteachers products, this blog, social sites to keep up, a play version of Bumbling Bea and a book or two rolling around in my mind.

I wish I could put one first over the rest, but I simply can’t.

But Mr. Faulkner obviously knows what he’s talking about.  If I could write what he did, maybe I’d be quoted instead of him.

Nah, I doubt it.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net or here.  I’d love to here from you.

author's signature



National Haiku Day Bumbling Bea Style

April 15 is National Haiku Day. I’m going to honor national haiku day Bumbling Bea style.

You gotta wonder who thinks up these national days….


When I think of Haiku, I think of gorgeous flowering trees in Japan.

I’m sure there are poets who write them without thinking like I do.

I did a little researching and found Creative.Writing.Now. com.  It’s a website founded by writing teachers about writing.  One of their pages is about haiku poetry.  

The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.

  • A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.

  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.

  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.

In honor of National Haiku Day, April 15 I created a few haiku about the characters of my award winning book, Bumbling Bea. There are several acknowledgements to the Japanese culture in the story so it only seemed fitting.

 My haiku aren’t about trees, flowers and clouds, but they are about the nature of human beings.  (Get it, get it?)

Bumbling Bea

Beatrice about Michiko:

Laughing and bowing

Her voice strong and dramatic

I wish I was her.

Bumbling Bea

Michiko thoughts about her mother:

You loudly scold me

Stretching, growing up I cry

This life’s mine not yours.

Bumbling Bea

Peter’s reflection about the  Michiko sabotage:

Devil leaves of three

Softly touch innocent skin

Oozing mounds erupt.

Bumbling Bea

Bumbling Bea would say:

I take over you

blurting outrageous things

Always regretting them.

Mr. Brace quips:

As father I’m bound

To family duties

Begrudging all.

Mrs. Brace to Mr. Brace:

Can’t you see I’m sad?

It’s hard to forget

Happy days, sweet nights.

BB chapter 16

The Cast’s thoughts:

Performance is super

Michiko adds spice and flare

But what’s with the freeze?

Lost?  You won’t be once you read my book.  Check it out here:


Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net


Student Survival: The Importance of Pleasure Reading for a Kid

So, let’s talk about pleasure reading for a kid.

Recently, I was looking for a  pleasure reading book to purchase for my upcoming trip over seas. I was having a difficult time finding one. I saw a child who was nearly eating a book while he read it–in the time I looked over one aisle of books, he read three (all right, they were short, but still…)



Some people are selective about the genres they read.  I usually gravitate toward books with quirky characters in ordinary appearing plots. I say “ordinary appearing” because it is always intriguing to find the characters going somewhere else than you expected.

However, I am known to cheat and read the last chapter of a book if a. the story is moving too slowly for me or b. I’m dying to know what happens. When I was a child, my mother would scold me for doing so–still haven’t kicked the habit.  Sorry, Mom.

I worry about kids’ reading preferences. It seems many writers write for whatever trend is popular the time. A few years ago, it was zombies and time travelers. Not every child wants to read fantasy or graphic novels.  That’s why I penned Bumbling Bea.  If you haven’t picked up my book, you might want to try it.  I promise you, it isn’t your run of the mill plot! Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

I ran on to an article concerning this concern and I thought you’d be interested, too.

Indie Book

Promoting the Pleasures of Reading: Why It Matters to Kids and to Country

June 10, 2017

Advocacy, Inquiry, Literacy, Reading, Teachingpleasure reading

by Lu Ann McNabb

This post is written by member Jeffrey Wilhelm.

Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them was this past year’s winner of the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education.

The research findings that we report in Reading Unbound have profound implications for us as teachers, for our students, and for democracy.

In our book, we argue that pleasure reading is a civil rights issue. Why? Because fine-grained longitudinal studies (e.g., the British Cohort study: Sullivan & Brown, 2013; and John Guthrie’s analysis of PISA data, 2004, among many others) demonstrate that pleasure reading in youth is the most explanatory factor in both cognitive progress and social mobility over time.

pleasure reading

Pleasure reading is more powerful than parents’ educational attainment or socioeconomic status.

This means that pleasure reading is THE way to address social inequalities in terms of actualizing our students’ full potential and overcoming barriers to satisfying and successful lives.

We think that our data explain why pleasure reading leads to cognitive growth and social mobility.

The major takeaway for teachers is to focus on pleasure in our teaching. Pleasure has many forms: play pleasure/immersive pleasure, when you get lost in a book—this is a prerequisite pleasure and we can foster it in various ways, such as teaching with an inquiry approach, using drama and visualization strategies, etc.; work pleasure, where you get a functional and immediately applicable tool for doing something in your life; inner work pleasure, where you imaginatively rehearse for your life and consider what kind of person you want to be; intellectual pleasure, where you figure out what things mean and how texts were constructed to convey meanings and effects; and social pleasure, in which you relate to authors, characters, other readers, and yourself by staking your own identity.

Kids (like all other human beings!) do what they find pleasurable. You get good at what you do and then outgrow yourself by developing new related interests and capacities.


Play pleasure develops the capacity to engage and immerse oneself, to visualize meanings and relate to characters. It is the desire to love and be loved. Work pleasure is the love of getting something functional done. Work pleasure is about the love of application and visible signs of accomplishment. Readers engaging in this pleasure cultivate transfer of strategies and insights to life.

Inner work pleasure involves imaginatively rehearsing what kind of person one wants to be. As our informant Helen asserted: “It’s not really learning about yourself, it’s learning about what you could be . . . .” and “Characters are ways of thinking really . . . They are ways of being you can try on.”

Inner work is the love of transformation—of connecting to something greater, of striving to become something more. When our informants engaged in this pleasure, they expressed and developed a growth mindset and a sense of personal and social possibility.

 pleasure reading

Intellectual pleasure is pursued for the joy of figuring things out; it develops the capacity to see connections and solve problems. Our informants developed resilience, grit, and proactivity through the exercise of this pleasure. Erik Erikson argued that staking one’s identity is the primary task of early to late adolescence and that this is achieved through evolving interests and competence.

Social pleasure involves this human developmental project because it involves relating to authors, characters, other readers, and the self in ways that stake identity. Social pleasure is the love of connection—to the self, others, community, and to doing significant work together.

This pleasure develops social imagination: the capacity to experience the world from other perspectives; to learn from and appreciate others distant from us in time, space, and experience; and the willingness to relate, reciprocate, attend to, and help others different from ourselves.

In other words, it promotes cognitive progress, wisdom, wholeness, and the democratic project. In fact, all of the pleasures were found to do this.

Our data clearly establish that students gravitate to the kinds of books they need to navigate their current life challenges, and that many ancillary benefits accrue in the realms of cognition, psychology, emotional development, and socialness. So much so that we developed the mantra: Kids read what they need!


This finding led us to be more trusting of kids’ choices and to ask them about why they chose to read what they did, and eventually to championing these choices. We likewise found that each of the marginalized genres we studied (romance, horror, vampire, fantasy, and dystopia) provided specific benefits and helped students navigate different individual developmental challenges.

Our data also establish that young people are doing sophisticated intellectual work in their pleasure reading, much of it just the kind of work that the Common Core and other next generation standards call for. So making pleasure more central to our practice is not in conflict with working to achieve standards.

girl reading

Standards and all the other significant goals described here can be achieved if teachers value interpretive complexity as much as they do textual complexity, if they create inquiry contexts that reward entering a story world and doing psychological and social work in addition to more traditional academic goals, and if they provide opportunities for choice and meaningful conversation.

Given the benefits of each pleasure, we are convinced that pleasure reading is not only a civil right, it is a social necessity of democracy.

That is why we urge you to promote pleasure reading in your classroom and school, and it is why our book is filled with practical ideas for how to do so while promoting each of the five pleasures. It is monumental work—and it is work we must undertake with the greatest urgency—particularly at this moment in history.


What are some of your favorite genres to read? Perhaps you have a child who might enjoy reading my book, Bumbling Bea simply for the fun of it.  I think they’ll enjoy it!

Check it out here:  https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516988757&sr=8-1&keywords=Bumbling+Bea

I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Book reviewers

In Praise of Book Reviewers

I’d like to praise book reviewers those who read books and review them. You are wonderful, did you know this?

But first–

(This is on behalf of all authors. If you take this personally, that’s on you. 😊)

Dear well meaning friends and family,

I have news that may be a bit disparaging of you and that is not my intent.

It is challenging for me to continue to support your endeavors, show interest in your life and interests when it is not reciprocal.  I bet you know of which I am speaking.

You know the copy of my book you begged me to give to you? Do you remember how you promised (practically on a stack of Bibles, as they say) you would post a book review for me?

Then you didn’t read my book OR write a review?

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

Everyone gets busy some times, or we forget what we have promised or whatever.

There are lot of whatevers…

Simply put, word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising bar non.

Have you ever attended a movie and shared your opinion of it with a friend? That’s worth of mouth advertising.

Writing a review is simple.

Here is an example of what a review can look like:

“I liked the story a lot.  It was funny with great characters and an unusual message.  I recommend you read this book.”

“Although I usually don’t care to read  romance novels, this one was pretty good and worth my time to read it.” (Notice this one is less positive, but still does the job.)


Then post your review on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.

YOU DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN THE PLOT.  That’s someone else’s job.

Your job is to show support for the book and author.

Writing a book review is no different than buying your friend’s cake at the church bazaar, some popcorn from the BoyScouts booth at the mall or magazines from your neighbor’s marching band student. It’s like attending your brother’s performance in a community theatre production or enjoying your neighbor’s booth at an arts festival in your community.

You are showing support in all of these circumstances.

Oh….you say. That’s it?

That’s it.

What if I only have negative things to say?

Surely you can speak generally about the book and give it some kind of support.

You have to understand writing a book and being an indie author ain’t an easy job.

We do everything for our books–marketing, publicity, book talks, book fairs, interviews, selects its cover, art work, write its description, etc.  EVERYTHING.

You could say writing a review is a symbolic pat on the back of the author  acknowledging their hard work.

Can I leave a review anonymously?

Yes, you can.

Can I give my friend’s book a rating lower than five stars? Will it hurt them?

No, it won’t hurt them exactly.  In fact, giving a book four stars instead of five seems a more authentic score–Amazon’s algorithms love that.

Become a book reviewer for some indie author.  I know they would appreciate it.

Remember, we are all in this together.

Still needing help? Go to: httpst://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015FQ85SW/ref=as_li_tlie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B015FQ85SW&linkCode=as2&tag=annbeg-20&linkId=FZPEP65RAKNMOKO2


Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.netIn Praise of Book Reviewers

It’s Cyber Monday Every Day at Dramamommaspeaks.com

Bumbling Bea copy

At Dramamommaspeaks, every Monday (or every day for that matter) is Cyber Monday.

I have a great gift for you here at Dramamommaspeaks.com

Are you beginning to think about purchasing gifts for the up coming holidays?

Do you have a reader in mind?

Maybe they’d enjoy mine.  Here is a short description for you:

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything! So begins Beatrice’s diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. Beatrice is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes very funny and always honest. What’s a girl to do?  Plenty.

I bet they’d love a book with the author’s autograph.

Do I have the deal for you!

We are now on Etsy.com where I am only selling autographed copies.

For the same price as I would sell the book at a festival or book talk, I will sign your book for FREE.

Go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/Dramamommaspeaks

Part of the challenge for indie authors is getting the word out about our books.  You can help me with this by purchasing a book for a young friend.  Or, you can purchase the book yourself.

I’m always seeking more reviews for Bumbling Bea, too.  You’d be surprised at how many people of different ages have read Bumbling Bea.  That’s one of the most fun parts of my journey as a writer.  I get to see how the story affects different people and what they take away from it.

I will try to impress you now…

I have been a drama teacher and director for thirty-nine years.

I have won awards for both.

I am an award winning author. I’ve been interviewed several times about Bumbling Bea, the most recent was a podcast with a world wide membership.  Check it out here:  http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/9/3/0/930c33253e57a3ca/Deborah_Baldwin.mp3c_id=18480362&expiration=1515362648&hwt=f6571e878f770624d2dd0babf9fa6108

Check out reviews at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.com  I think you’ll be pleased. Remember:  Cyber Monday is every day at Dramamommaspeaks.com.

And as always–

contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


I'm glad I'm an Indie Author

The 10 Reasons I’m Glad I am an Indie Author

The 10 Reasons I’m Glad I am an Indie Author is popular with my followers.

I’m listening to our grand daughter as she giggles with her grandpa. They are playing a rowdy game of  Peek-a-boo.   She’ll whimper a little like she’s unhappy and he’ll think of something else to do with her to make her happy.

That’s when I think of how glad I am to be an Indie author.


I think if I had an agent and publisher, I might be spending time communicating with them and not enjoying our little bundle of energy.

Working for myself  as an indie author gives me some  great advantages:

I answer to myself. I don’t have to make phone calls and negotiate with anyone.  Negotiating is tiring, although usually good comes out of those kind of meetings.  I like to compromise.

I have no time constraints or deadlines. If I don’t want to work on the adaptation of Bumbling Bea into a play, I don’t have to do so.  Trust me, there are so many facets of indie publishing.  I can use my time wisely just about anywhere my cursor lands.  I accept the reality of this, however.  I know if I don’t finish a scene then I might not make my self imposed deadline, but that’s something for me to deal with.

I have no budget limits except those in my own pocketbook. I have to be careful with my budget now that I am retired.  Currently, I’m not directing any project or doing any extra teaching.  I think I’m in a transition period. It’s easy to overspend on advertising and marketing which is of course the crux of the work.

I set the price of both the paperback and ebook version. Because it’s mine, I can change the price any time I choose with the trust help of Amazon.  Usually, I can change the price in a matter of hours.

boy reading .jpg

 I receive a higher royalty for each copy than through traditional publishing. If you think I’m getting rich here you are sorely mistaken.  That wasn’t my goal, although the extra money is always welcome, you know?

I have complete creative control. I decide on everything pertaining to my book–its color, font style, size, synopsis, description, retailers, giveaways, etc.  This aspect reminds me of directing plays.  It was very fun to work with my illustrator, H. Russ Brown.  If I had gone the traditional publishing route, I wouldn’t have the team creativity we enjoy.

I have editorial control. Generally, this is a great asset.  It can be challenging some times because if I see an error (and I do see errors), I decide whether the error should be fixed and the book reprinted.

 In turn, I can also do a second printing.  That’s why Bumbling Bea received a new exterior in February of 2016.  I thought she needed some updating on both the outside and the story as well.  You ask what did I do?  You’ll have to read Bumbling Bea to find out!

I retain all the rights in a global market. If Bumbling Bea ever goes big and I mean IF, I reap the fruits of my labor, not someone elsewhere.

girl reading .jpg

Bumbling Bea is a book of a particular niche market. For readers who are interested in theatre and are young teens, Bumbling Bea is for you.   However,  we discovered readers of many ages and students of various grade levels enjoy the story, because it is relatable.

I’ve received reviews from grandmothers, teenagers, college students, actors, singers, dancers and even athletes.  That’s quite a broad appeal.

I will admit, I have good days and not so good days.  I like working by myself but at times I crave conversation with a friend or two to help me work out whatever my writing challenge I’m having.

Whenever that occurs, I chat with my  Indie Writers Cooperative Facebook group to gain perspective again.  They are a wonderful resource to me as unbiased listeners and peers.  The group was created in the fall of 2016 and to date we have more than 500 members. I think that speaks volumes about the importance of having a place to sound off with a group that understands you.

“But Deborah, what if an agent contacts you and wants to represent your book.  What will you do?”  I’ve spoken with two agents in the past. One wanted me to completely revamp the story turning it into a YA one and the other was overworked. So, if someone calls, I’ll call them back that’s for sure!From there, we’ll see…

So, there’s the ten reasons I’m glad I am an indie author.

Independent publishing is here to stay. Please enjoy a read on my behalf.


Write me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net