The Secret Garden and Adaptations


*This course is intended for lower elementary students


Class Schedule

July 15th-July 19th

10:00-11:00 am PST

*Note: This is a weeklong course meeting each day, Monday-Friday


Note: Classes are listed in PST, click below to convert time to your time zone.

Course Overview

The Secret Garden is a classic that seems to be a favorite of every generation. Since it was first published more than a hundred years ago it has never been out of print, and it has been adapted many times as movies, tv shows, graphic novels, plays, Broadway musicals, a radio drama, and more. For this class, students will read the whole book before the first session so that we can spend our time discussing adaptations -- how would they adapt it themselves, and what do they think of the choices made in different versions: what was added or taken out and why, writing and directorial choices, music, cinematography, and anything else that enhances or detracts from the work.

Our discussions will be based on the premise that faithfulness to the original is not the only or even most important criteria for evaluation: adaptation means change. Of course, as the book was written during England's imperial period, there are also some parts that are considered problematic today, and we'll discuss those too. We'll look at some clips in class, but others will be posted online, and they will need to view them in between classes.

Student Experience

Pattern Seeker

Creative Writer


Literary Analyst

Your Teacher: Matt Berman

  • M.A.T. in Philosophy for Children, Montclair State University
  • B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education K-8 University of Connecticut
  • Gifted Certification, University of New Orleans
  • 46 years in education

Recipient of the NEH Teacher-Scholar Award, Matt Berman has been an elementary school teacher for more than 40 years, with certification in gifted education and degrees in education and philosophy for children. A nationally recognized expert in children's literature, Matt has written four books on the subject, and his reviews, articles, and columns have appeared in many journals, including Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He has also taught children's literature at Tulane University and the University of New Orleans, and his reviews have appeared on numerous websites, including Common Sense Media, Disney Family,, iVillage, and the Child Lit Wiki. Matt has also been a consultant with the Joseph Campbell Foundation, as well as a freelance writer and editor, website developer, teacher trainer and consultant, photographer, communications director, and founding director of the Nueva Center for the Humanities.