‘We must allow children some freedom to explore’ – so says the writer of the screenplay of the Swallows and Amazons film – Westmorland Gazette

“I don’t want them to be frightened of the world,” Mrs Walker says of her children, as she wonders whether she was right to let the four eldest sail off in a dinghy alone to discover an island in the middle of a huge Cumbrian lake.

When I wrote those words in the script for Kelly MacDonald to say, it was meant to express the central theme in Arthur Ransome’s classic book, Swallows and Amazons. That children should be allowed a certain independence and freedom where they are trusted and given responsibility to explore their environment.

This treasured book is, at heart, an evocation of an idealised childhood. The one we all dreamed of, or believed we had. Ransome knew that in all the best children’s stories, the young characters inhabit a world where they solve their own problems and are their own heroes. Stories like these allow children to dream and to learn…

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