Claire Datnow Teacher Resources

Author Presentations for School Visits, Conferences and In-Service Training

Claire is available for author presentations at libraries, bookstores, elementary, and middle schools free of charge. This applies to events within 30 miles of Birmingham, Alabama. I am available for events farther away if travel costs are reimbursed.
“Visits” with Claire via Skype are also offered for free.

Presentation Topics

* Bringing Books to Life! Claire leads her audiences on a fascinating journey that integrates technological innovation, ecology and writing. Claire demonstrate how innovative new technology transports readers from the printed page to video clips, to allow readers to see and hear what the characters in the story are seeing and hearing. Wow! How? To see how please view a two-minute video clip at:
Media Mint Publishing
How to Become and Eco Detective: A highly interactive, hands-on presentation, illustrated with photos and videos. Using examples from The Adventures of The Sizzling Six series, Claire guides students through the process of writing their own eco mysteries, illustrating how to weave scientific principles into the stories to help characters solve ecology mysteries, and then how to take action to resolve them.

  • Reading and Q&A Forum: Claire reads selections from The Adventures of The Sizzling Six series and take questions. She passes out ringer questions with humorous answers to the audience in advance. Particularly appropriate to bookstores, short library programs, or ecology clubs.
* Book Discussion: Claire meets with small groups of students who have already read her eco mysteries to talk about the book. Presentation will focus on topics of interest to students.

How to Schedule a Presentation

Email Claire at: If you'd like to discuss a presentation on the phone, let her know and she'll email back telephone numbers where she can be reached.

How to Prepare for a Presentation:

It is preferable for participants to have an opportunity to buy or check out a copy of The Adventures of The Sizzling Six before the author arrives. Make sure everyone on your team knows about and promotes the presentation. English teachers, Earth Sciences teachers, school librarians, administrators, public librarians and booksellers can all contribute to making it a successful visit. You can order books from your local bookseller, or through and other on-line booksellers. I can provide books at signings myself.
Links to the author’s curriculum guides and related activities will be provided.

Reviews and Testimonials:

A superb ending that kids will love. A well researched and balanced presentation, grounded in solid facts and real conservation issues that educates and engages the young adult reader.
Cleo Lackey, Media Specialist, Brookwood Forest Elementary School.
The way you wove lessons in ecology, economics, civics, group dynamics, and growing up into a good read accessible—no, engaging—to younger readers, is inspiring. You have developed the skill of making clarity from complexity.
George Terrian, environmental architect
Claire’s presentations are truly engaging and highly interactive. By the time she left we had a room full of students eager to try their hand at writing their own eco mysteries.
Karen Kapp, Director, Birmingham Better Basic

Role Playing Cards for Monarch Mysteries


Have students role play the characters in the eco mystery by reading the cards.
Students can also use these cards to have the characters debate the issues with one another.

Alex Kohn a student at Stone Middle School: (the main Protagonist)

I was very upset when I found out that the population of monarch butterflies has become so
small. Scientists say the migration of monarch butterflies—considered one of the world’s great
natural spectacle—is in danger of vanishing! Milkweed is the only plant on which monarch
butterflies will lay their eggs, and it is the major food source for monarch caterpillars. But
farmers are spraying their crops with herbicide that is killing the milkweed plants. To help save
the monarchs scientists and conservationists are encouraging people to grow milkweed in their
own yards and gardens. I can’t believe that our neighborhood association and our city council
are trying to stop people like Mrs. Mariposa from planting milkweed in their gardens! The
Sizzling Six have got to find a way to overcome these obstacles in order to save the monarchs
before it is too late.

Mr. Prickles, President of the City Council (Antagonist)
I’m tired of do-gooders like Mrs. Mariposa trying to get people to believe that they’re letting their
garden become overgrown with weeds to save monarch butterflies. The Weed Ordinance of
Mortaburg states that residents must maintain their yards free of weeds and shrubs higher than
twelve (12) inches. It’s clear that Mrs. Mariposa has violated Mortaburg’s weed ordinance
because she’s growing weeds higher than 12-inches tall. Worse yet, Mrs. Mariposa doesn’t cut
all the weeds back in the fall, so the seeds from her weeds start growing in our yards. Her yard
attracts mice, groundhogs, snakes and all sorts of bugs. Perhaps the pests appreciate her
neighborhood eyesore, but the neighbors do not. A child could be dragged in there and never be
found—or even bitten by a poisonous snake there.

Mrs. Mariposa, Homeowner and Wildflower Gardener (relationships/wise person)
I do not cultivate weeds in my garden. I grow plants native to this area. You see, a plant is called
a weed when it grows where it is not wanted. I am a horticulturalist. That means that I am an
expert on the science of growing wildflowers. Not to brag, but I am the most successful grower
of wildflowers in Mortaburg. There’s a big difference between letting invasive plants like poison
ivy, kudzu, privet, and bramble bushes get out of control, and growing wildflowers that attract
butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife. Ordering me to cut down my wildflower garden may
seem to be just a little thing that does not truly hurt any one or any thing. But, you see, my
garden attracts all kinds of pollinators, including bees. Without bees, most of the flowers we love
and the food we eat would disappear. Can you imagine living in a world without flowers or fruit?
Or a world without butterflies?” Did Mr. Prickles or the city officials think about this when they
fined me and wanted me to destroy my garden?

Mr. Freed, Director of the Mortaburg Botanical Gardens (Helper)
Any human activity—construction of new buildings or roads, clearing land for farms or houses,
cutting down forest for lumber, or spraying herbicides on plants—damages the wildlife's habitat.
Wildflowers gardens can replace some of the lost habitat. We humans are the real culprits,
because we destroy nature without thinking about the consequences. Mrs. Mariposa’s garden
with it’s tall wildflowers is not a weedy jungle. It’s an attractive haven for wildlife.!