Monday, October 1, 2012

Remember Childhood?


I refuse to believe that summer is over.

Growing up in suburban Washington D.C. in the 19??ʼs, I recall summers that seemed to last twice as long as they do now. I also remember leaving the house at first light and not returning home until well after dark. The days, and sometimes the nights, were filled with unsupervised adventure, both real and imaginary. Parents? Babysitters? Who needed them?

Today, it seems that vacations are a much more organized, chaperoned activity: theater camps, recreation centers, play-dates. Donʼt you long for the days when summer was a more spontaneous, (read: fun), time of the year?

Arthur Ransomeʼs classic childrenʼs book, Swallows and Amazons, harkens back to just such a time. This first in a series was published in 1930. The story revolves around two households of children: the Walkers and the Blacketts, and their summer spent sailing and exploring the Lake District of England. Authority figures are confined to the background, mostly preparing take-along lunches or obligingly walking the plank, as in the case of one amenable uncle-turned-pirate-captain. The characters are selfsufficient,plucky and remarkably responsible for one another; i.e. just the sort of traits we should instill in our children.

So if you and the kids canʼt quite commit to autumn, reading Swallows and Amazons together may help to extend those glorious days of summer just a bit longer. And you can reserve it here.

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