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Lura A. White celebrates world travels of emissary, Flat Stanley

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SHIRLEY — Lura A. White Elementary School students are learning about geography through the Flat Stanley project spearheaded by parent volunteers and Librarian Kathryn Lyon.

Linda Quinones and Donna Schaff, known as the travel coordinators, discussed the project with a group of enthusiastic fourth-graders at the school on Tuesday.

”Flat Stanley,” by Jeff Brown, has been the inspiration for a nationwide program that allows pupils to reach out to others across the globe.

Brown wrote the book after friends in the publishing business encouraged him to share the stories he and his children made up at bedtime.

As the story goes, young Stanley is sound asleep when a bulletin board mounted on the wall above his bed falls on him in the night. Stanley was not hurt, but awoke when his brother, Arthur, yells to his parents the next morning.

”What’s going on?” Stanley calls out from beneath the board. When the board is removed, Stanley finds himself only half an inch thick.

Flat Stanley goes on many adventures — mailed, rolled up and flown like a kite.

Paper renditions of Flat Stanley are being mailed all over the world from the school. When recipients host Flat Stanley, they dress him in the appropriate clothing and keep a log of his visit. Flat Stanley is then returned to the school so they can share where he has been with their classmates.

As Flat Stanley arrives, pupils will locate where he’s been on a map in the first grade hallway.

Pupil Morgan Smith was the first to get Flat Stanley back after his tour of England with her father, Mike.

Her brother, Ian Smith, brought Stanley in to read the letter Morgan received to the class. Flat Stanley had been photographed near Arborfield, England, at the gate of a thatched roof cottage as well as at St. Bartholomew’s Church.

Fourth-grader Jared Roberts mailed two Flat Stanleys, one to California and the other to Billerica, Mass.

Unfortunately, while Roberts was celebrating his birthday Flat Stanley was “kidnapped” by the UPS delivery man. However, he has since been safely returned.

While Stanley was being held for ransom by the man, dubbed by Roberts as “the brown terrorist,” he visited many places.

He was taken to the treasurer’s office in Shirley where, according his travel log, he said he met several other flat entities such as Hamilton, Jefferson and Benjamin.

Stanley also visited local Shirley businesses including Ampak, Da’Lan Hitch and Golden Eagle Tattoo.

In a letter to the kidnapper pleading for Stanley’s return, Roberts wrote, “Normally we don’t deal with terrorists, but we love Stanley, so here is your flat Franklin … P.S. — Free F.S. for the U.S.”

Pupils and adults have exhibited a great deal of excitement for the project, and over 130 Flat Stanleys have been mailed so far to 27 states, five countries, and three continents.

Other books by Brown, who passed away unexpectedly in 2003, are “Stanley and the Magic Lamp,” and “Stanley, Flat Again!”

Donations are being accepted at the school office to help fund the Flat Stanley project.

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