Media Seasons



Why Media Seasons?

A Library MEDIA Specialist

No doubt after twenty years of being a professional librarian, I’ve been labeled “bookish” more than once.  😉   It’s really not about the books as much as stories—and readers’ connections to them – that  interest me.   That’s why I’ve had no qualms about taking on the more modern, official title of library media specialist.  Today my students have more options than ever to explore more than one version (in more than one format) of a story.  More importantly, not only can they read, view or “consume” those versions, they can create new connections that are uniquely their own and share them. 

Contemplating New Formats

No reference to seasons is complete without discussing changes.  Just as each season offers its unique qualities, so I view stories that resonate with readers when they are told and retold in multiple ways in various formats—what I call “media seasons.”  Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is perhaps the most-referenced of children’s stories.  Not only have most of us read and viewed various versions in books, film and stage, new forms of connections to the original story keep appearing as readers make meaning of some version of the original text.  I’ve even witnessed a drum and bugle corps competition entry based on the story!   

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline offers a more recent example.     My eleven-year old son, who has always been a more visual learner than I, was more interested in the graphic novel by Gaiman and P. Craig Russell.  I preferred to fill in with my own details the hauntingly dense illustrations by Dave McKean, who portrays Coraline’s eyes with a depth that the viewer cannot quite distinguish with clarity.  Henry Selick’s film, though, really enhanced our perception.  The seasons seem to blend in the film, as a harvest moon appears in the sky where Coraline’s  father has been exiled by the wife/mother, who morphs into her fairy tale witchiness.   Of course, the witch has the power to exile Coraline’s real parents to another season – the perils of winter in the snow globe.

We have loads of fun repeatedly visiting Gaiman’s webpage, as we look for the Mouse Circus.   Our mother /son exploration of these various media versions of Coraline has led us to new conversations about art and the seasons of life. 

Are Media Seasons Circular?

Seasonal paths are ultimately circular.  Whereas there is a sense of returning full circle with the natural seasons, an explorer of multiple texts related to a story is informed by each experience.   Thus, he or she is forever changed by that encounter. 

For example,  after reading Coraline my son commented that he was “a lot like Coraline.”  He made text –to- self connections about how his fears were similar to Coraline’s.  Though we don’t have a small door with a brick wall behind it, his bedroom does have a closet with doors he requests slid tightly shut every night.    

All of us family members have found humorous, creative moments to allude to my son’s “real parents” or “other parents,” particularly when there is a disagreement about tv time or homework effort.   

Are all Stories or Text fiction?

To connect reader to writer via text (whether it be in print form or another media format), fictional stories must have a kernel of truth to them.  I’ll blog another day about informational, non-fiction text.

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