Children’s author Ralph Fletcher seemed to live an ideal life for a child. The oldest of a large clan in the small town of Marshfield, Massachusetts, Fletcher had nearby woods to roam in, numerous bothers and neighbors to recruit for games, and parents who loved him. Fletcher recounts stories from his young days in Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid.
Like Fletcher’s other books, this memoir is written for young readers aged 9 to 12. But moms and dads (and younger kids too) will be equally charmed and drawn in by accounts of mud puppies, raising chickens, new babies arriving almost every year, and bouts of chicken pox and mumps. As I read I found myself wanting to visit Fletcher’s home on Acorn St. myself and explore all the areas he talked about. Reading Marshfield Dreams with your child could bring up stories to share from your own childhood. Kids of today are likely to marvel at the relative freedom children had growing up in the ‘60s and the amount of time many of them spent outdoors.
The chapters are short and accessible. It’s also fun to look at the family photos that appear at the start of each chapter. Fletcher’s family moved away from Marshfield to Chicago when he was 13. This tribute to his boyhood home shows how much his life on Acorn St. continues to live on in his memory.