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Flat Stanley Starts His Trip Around the World in Tolland

Tolland Library hosted its first Flat Stanley Party in June.

It’s been a week now since Stanley Lambchop launched his worldwide travels from the Tolland Library.

Since that time, Stanley, the main character in the beloved Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown, has embarked on a bevy of adventures that will be reported back throughout the summer

On June 29, the Tolland Public Library hosted its very first Flat Stanley party where children were invited to come hear about and make their own Flat Stanley. Nearly 30 children, including those from the Preschool for the Arts, took part in the launch party and quickly became fans of the boy who survives after being flattened by a bulletin board and makes the best of his altered state.

Being flat, Stanley discovers how easy it is to slide under doors, be used as a kite and travel sent through the mail.

The key element is the idea that Flat Stanley can be mailed around the world, which is the foundation for the Flat Stanley Project.

In 1994, Dale Hubert, a third grade teacher began the Flat Stanley Project by hosting flat visitors and encouraging students to write Flat Stanley journals. Brown was excited by the project and came to create a sequel to his book 40 years after the original.

The goal of the Flat Stanley Project is similar to pen pal correspondence. According to the Flat Stanley Project Web site, “In a standard pen pal exchange, students rarely know how to begin or what to write about, but with a Flat Stanley, it’s as if the sender and the recipient have a mutual friend, and writing becomes easier and more creative.”

For Abigale Luetjen, because she thinks that Stanley is “a good guy,” she intends to send her Stanley to her uncle, a soldier on tour in Iraq.

During the library program the children discussed how US Postal Service works and the difference places Stanley might visit. A list of eight states and four countries was quickly developed.

Children’s Librarian, Virginia Brousseau said the point is to “send Stanley places a regular kid might not get to go.”

Madeline Mancini, an avid reader, suggested sending Stanley to President Barack Obama.

At the library, the young participants each colored their own Flat Stanley, created a passport to record his destinations in and learned how to say “Hello” in a few different languages to prepare Stanley for his travels.

Carol Thieling said her nieces exchange Stanley with their cousins in Miami.

“I know kids have fun with it,” she said.

Brousseau told the children to ask the recipients of their Stanley to send a picture of different places they took Stanley so that the library could create a bulletin board of Stanley’s travels “from Tolland Library and out into the world.”

The party ended with a group Mad Lib about Stanley, some refreshments and a raffle prize - a “Fun in the Sun pack” filled with a compass, snacks and water bottles. Madeline Mancini was the raffle winner.

Another fun way to track Stanley’s adventures is through the Web. In 2010, Darren Haas, an applications architect, created a Flat Stanley app. Since then, he has traveled across the digital universe into Facebook, Twitter, iPhone and beyond.

For a list of upcoming library programs, contact Virginia Brousseau at 860-871-3620.

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