Cli-FI Eco Adventures Middle Grade

Book cover 2nd EditionGWL Cover 11:6

The gale force winds of climate change are calling. They’re calling to scientists, writers, and artists to weave stories that will inspire young people to dream up a brighter future. After decades of misinformation, denial, and inadequate attempts to reduce the dire impact of climate change, the youth around the world are troubled, angry, and frustrated.
They are searching for ways to understand, and then take action.
That is why writers, and artists need to dig deep to find ways to connect truthfully and authentically with the youth. Sadly middle graders and tweens have fewer age-appropriate books, relating to their lives and issues, to choose from. That is why I strive to write compelling stories interwoven with science that can educate, inspire, and empower them.

Read More…

The Living Prayer Shawl

The Holocaust Monument, The Musicians, and The Loaves of Bread

         Passersby strolling through the park regard me as a discarded shawl tossed carelessly onto the ground. They pause for a moment then turn away. The more curious stroll around the wrought iron fence enclosing me. I am grateful when the most thoughtful pause to read the bronze plaque explaining what I symbolize. Although they cannot hear me, I beseech them to remember me as they pass by. Why you ask? Because the lessons of history tell no lies.

Holocaust Monument

Read More…

Pitfalls of Writing Climate Change

Part 1

Presented by Claire Datnow at the Alabama Writers Cooperative Centennial Conference September 8-10, 2023
AWC presentation 2023
What Defines Climate Fiction or Cli-Fi?
Climate fiction or cli-fi weaves the theme of climate change into the story.
  • * Generally speculative in nature but inspired by climate science. It may take place in the world as we know it, in the near future, or in fictional worlds experiencing
  • climate change.
  • Why Write Stories About Climate Change?

    AWC presentation Whale

    • Climate Fiction or Cli-Fi has never been more relevant. The United Nations has called Climate Change ‘The defining Crisis of Our Time.
    • Climate fiction is a growing genre opening up new opportunities for writers.
    • People, especially young people, need to see adults are engaging in solutions. There is a massive amount of positive climate action taking place right now. And the opportunities to take part in the action. 
    • But the theme of climate change can be overwhelming.
    Climate Fiction Genre and Styles Often described as a sub-genre of science fiction, this specific brand of literature often involves dystopian or utopian themes. Climate fiction is often speculative: plays with the idea of how humanity will deal with a climate disaster in a world similar to our own, or in the near future. It includes technology that has been built in order to combat climate change, the disintegration of our technological advancements as a consequence to climate change or both.
    * Popular genres: *
    crime, fantasy, romance, horror, science fiction, Western, dystopian, utopian speculative, magical realism.
    Punk Genres: Solarpunk, hopepunk, cyberpunk, steampunk, realism, magical realism, speculative, fantasy, sometimes mixed with realism.
    • What ever genre or style you choose:
    • Do not Sugarcoat the truth, but make it positive, hopeful, to ignite the imaginations of young and old alike, and to spur unity and action in the face of great challenges
    • . Show solutions.
    • Explore how to approach the climate emergency with impactful innovative writing, intellectually and emotionally.
    • Show the results for our failures to act sooner. Some things will be lost; much already has been.Apocalypses let us off the hook: What’s the point of trying if the Earth is doomed?

    How to Unlock the Stories we Need to Tell ? Part 2

    • Tools for writing impactful innovative Cl-Fi?

    What If Whales Could Talk

    If Whales Could Talk

    Human: Oh, Whale, we love to watch you
    Spouting and spy hopping!
    Gray Whale: Watching without knowing is not enough.
    Human: Oh, Whale tell us what to know.
    Gray Whale: Monsters bash us, floating trash chokes us, melting ice kills our food,
    slithering snakes snare us.
    Human: Oh, whale can you ever forgive us for what we have done?
    Whale: Only if you stop the slaughter.

    Excerpt from The Gray Whale’s Lament: An Eco Adventure
     We are ancient. We are weathered. We appeared 50 million years ago, long before the first humans. We live in the world’s oceans from the Arctic and Antarctic to the tropical seas around the equator. We are many times larger than any human. They call us mammals, like them. To them we are also monsters of the deep. A few of us have lived for 200 hundred years. Our bodies are scared with messages for humans to decipher. We conserve life on this planet by capturing carbon from the atmosphere. We are beacons of hope for the future.  
        But something has gone wrong. Dead whales have begun washing ashore. I, Natsilane, one of the dead, will speak on their behalf. We mourn the deaths of each member of our family struck by ships, tangled in fishing nets, suffocated by oil and chemical spills, choked by plastic pollution, and starved because of climate change. Some humans enjoy whale watching. They take photos of whales, ignoring our scars, our thinning sides, the spine bones sticking out on our backs. When humans do pause to look at us—really look at us—it is with wonder or pity.

    There are so many novels about whales for young readers and for the young at heart. The stories I enjoy most the ones that entertain, intrigue, and educate me. To quote the author of Moby Dick. “Ignorance is the parent of fear.”—Herman Melvin

    Whale spouts

    My short list of books about whales I have read:

    Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
    The Whale Caller by Makes Mda (adult)
    People of the Whale: A Novel by Linda Hogan (adult)
    The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (adult)
    Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George
    A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry

    My short list of Non fiction:
    Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggss
    Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson

    Books I want to read:
    Whalefall a novel by Daniel Kraus
    No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save our Planet by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi et. Al.