If you're a North American parent with a child in 3rd grade or beyond, it's a pretty sure bet you've heard of Flat Stanley. Just in case you haven't, here's a quick summary:
The Flat Stanley Project
In 1994, Dale Hubert began the Flat Stanley Project in Ontario, Canada. Hubert had the brilliant idea of having children create their own Flat Stanley paper cutouts and mailing them to friends and family around the globe, in order to foster authentic literacy activities for kids and get them excited to write about Stanley's adventures.
Today, the Flat Stanley Project encompasses more than 6,000 schools registered in 88 countries around the globe, and is included in the curriculum for more than 15% of elementary schools in the US.
I've been emissary to at least two Flat Stanleys, helping them to move on to ever-wider circles of adventure. The one you see above is my nephew's Flat Stanley that arrived in the mail from Kansas City, MO.
[Me being me, I immediately photocopied him and laminated him, just in case I lost him.]
Flat Stanley went all through Orange County, down to San Diego and up to ride the Metrolink in Los Angeles. Then one of my friends was kind enough to take him all over Washington D.C. Flat Stanley even met a girlfriend in D.C.
I've posted some pics below so you can see some of Stanley's amazing adventures.
I had tons of fun with Stanley and so did all my friends. My flat pal inspired this list:
10 Ways I'd Love My Books To Be Like Flat Stanley
1. Everyone passes them on to a friend.
2. At the end of their journey, I'll know exactly where they went and what they did.
3. Everyone welcomes them at the table (or in the bath, or the backyard, or their boat).
4. People want to be part of their story.
5. They unite strangers around the world.
6. They can travel in any vehicle and provide people with a good time.
7. People can color them with tons of imagination.
8. They'll be recognized with a single glance.
9. They will bring a smile to your face.
10. You'll remember them long after you pass them on.
Have you ever met a Flat Stanley? What sorts of adventures did you have together? What experience would you like YOUR books to give to others?
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About Jenny Hansen
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.
When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA and here at Writers In The Storm. She's also the author of the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.