For those not in the know: in Flat Stanley (1964), Jeff Brown tells the story of a boy accidentally flattened when his bulletin board falls on him one night and the adventures has has afterward. Flat Stanley is lowered down a city drain to retrieve his mother’s fallen ring, stops an art thief by pretending to be a picture on a museum wall and, most notably, slips into an envelope and has himself mailed off for visits with friends.
In the mid-1990s, Dale Hubert, a Canadian teacher, started a Flat Stanley project for his elementary school children. Students made their own Flat Stanley figures, modeled after the character as originally drawn by illustrator Tomi Ungerer, wrote letters of introduction, and mailed them out to friends and family. Recipients took photos of Flat Stanley around the world and returned them to the students with an account of Flat Stanley’s travels. An international phenomenon was born! Children in dozens of countries have sent out their own Flat Stanleys, and elementary school teachers have incorporated Flat Stanley projects to teach kids about letter writing, communication, and geography.