Village School

Kinders Travel the World

By Amilia F., Parent

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, let me fill you in… Stanley is a boy who accidentally gets flattened when a bulletin board falls on him during the night. But what initially appears a disaster quickly becomes the source of great adventure. Stanley can slip under locked doors, fly like a kite, and he even gets folded up and mailed to friends in California.

In 1994, this classic children’s book inspired Dale Hubert, a third grade schoolteacher in Ontario, Canada to create the Flat Stanley Project. He had children create their own Flat Stanley dolls and mail them to friends and family around the world. “In the book,” Hubert explained in 2005 CNN interview, “Stanley gets… put in an envelope and mailed him to his friend in California. And that just seemed like a way of communicating that grade-three students might enjoy.”1 Hubert enlisted teachers from other schools in his endeavor and the project quickly gained enormous popularity. Today the Flat Stanley Project is a “global literacy activity that engages hundreds of thousands of children on a daily basis. The project encompasses more than 6000 schools registered in 88 countries around the globe, and is included in the curriculum of more than 15% of elementary schools in the U.S.”2

The Flat Stanley Project is designed to get kids reading and writing in a real-world setting. Students are immediately engaged and excited because they have a personal connection to their flat doll’s adventures. But this project encompasses so much more than literacy education. Students learn geography, history, and culture. They gain an interest in diversity, learning about people and places around the world in a very direct and personal way.

Just before winter break, our Kindergarten students crafted flat dolls in their own likenesses and mailed them to family and friends around the world. They are now beginning to receive mail from their flat dolls, detailing their many exciting and varied adventures. Below are just a few of their special stories:

Adventures of a Flat Cupcake

Flat Lilah arrived in Minnesota, where she was terribly under-dressed for the cold winter. Luckily her hosts helped to craft a much needed winter hat and coat to help keep her warm. She was then set to visit the sites of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including a trip to the Science Museum, the University of Minnesota and – of course – to school, where students often sled or ice skate on the frozen pond after school! She’s now off to visit cousins in London, England and then to France, ooh-la-la!

After a long and tiring flight, Flat Yui arrived in Yokohama, Japan. Auntie Yuka took her to the Minato Mirai area of town, where the real Yui was born. From there, she went to visit her grandmother, who lives in Nara, Japan. Grandma took her to see the beautiful sights of Nara. They visited the famous Tōdai-Ji Temple, constructed 1300 years ago, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Japanese Buddha, Daibutsu. They also tried to feed the many deer that roam freely in Nara, but had to stop when the deer tried to eat Flat Yui! Yui’s grandma sent her off on her journey, wishing her good-bye and Happy Osho-Gato (New Year).

Flat Naol arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia just in time for the annual Timkat celebrations. He joined his host sister, Yoliana, and her family in a big procession. Everybody was dressed in special clothing! Children wore crowns and the robes of their local church youth groups. Adults also wore ‘shammas’. And the priests wore red and white robes and carried beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas. There was music too! Priests carried the makamiyu, a long T-shaped prayer stick that is used to keep the rhythm, while people played the sistrum, a percussion instrument with tinkling metal discs, a bit like a vertical tambourine. After Timkat, Flat Naol said farewell to his hosts and set off for his next adventure in Ancona, Italy.

Flat Artella flew a passenger plane to San Diego, where she frolicked on the beach in front of the famous Hotel Del Coronado and even visited California’s first mission, the Mission San Diego de Alcala. Flat Artella’s next adventure took her from the sunny beaches of San Diego to the snowy peaks of Park City, Utah where (after waiting out the snowstorms at a local bowling alley), she went tubing, skiing, made a snowman and even rode a sleigh.

Flat Athena explored sights closer to home in our beautiful city by the Bay, San Francisco.

Flat Cody went on a grand adventure with, well, his grand parents of course! His first stop was Bavaria, Germany where he visited Neuschwanstein Castle, the famous castle of King Ludwig made recognizable worldwide by Walt Disney. From Germany he was off to Africa, where Flat Cody went on an epic safari adventure. Driving through the Serengeti desert, Flat Cody got up close and personal with the wildlife – hippos, lions, elephants, monkeys, wildebeests, impalas, hyena, giraffes, zebras, cheetah, ostriches, buffalo and so much more! And he even met some locals – Masai warriors, who performed a traditional dance for him.

In Atlanta, Georgia, Flat Mackenzie was learning and exploring all there is to know about the home of the Atlanta Braves, sweet Georgia peaches and “Buzz the Yellowjacket.” She visited the World of Coke, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, President Jimmy Carter’s Library and the Centennial Olympic Park. She ate at Atlanta’s famous Waffle House, took a beautiful walk along the Chattahoochee River, gazed at the Blue Ridge Mountains before heading off on her next adventure.

Flat Madeline took a 22-hour road trip with her aunty and uncle, from their home in the Ozarks (in Arkansas) to Florida. On the way, they passed through Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia before finally arriving at a small beach town on the east coast of Florida, New Smyrna Beach. After numerous beach adventures, she set off by mail to her next destination – Plano, Texas.

Flat George flew by post all the way to Beijing, China where his hosts took him to see the famed Tiananmen Square and to visit the Forbidden City.

Adventures of a Flat Bird

Flat Lucy spent the Christmas holidays with her family in Mission Viejo. She went to see the Christmas lights downtown and helped Great Grandma Gigi wrap loads of Christmas gifts.

Flat Nolan began his adventures in a small town called Gig Harbor, just outside of Seattle, where his cousins Avery and Sebastian live. In Gig Harbor, he learned all about the Native American tribal chief for whom the city of Seattle was named, and about totem poles – a Native American art form in which stories are carved into large tree trunks for all to see. After travelling by ferry, and exploring Seattle, Flat Nolan accompanied his Nana Sandy to England to celebrate Christmas with family. They drove through Ashdown Forest where Winnie the Pooh lives, saw sheep grazing in the countryside, and did lots of shopping. Aside from a run-in with the house elf, who grabbed him one night and wouldn’t let go (Nana had to rescue him the next morning!) – it was a fun and exciting trip!

Flat Tayla’s adventures took her from San Jose across the pond to the old city of Haarlem in The Netherlands. A couple days after she arrived, an unusual wind system washed 1000’s of starfish from the North Sea onto the beach near where she was staying. What a sight! In true Dutch fashion, Flat Tayla took a bike ride into the town centre to shop. On her return, her host Mirjam made a beautiful, multi-layer Christmas cake decorated with gingerbread cookies made to look like Dutch canal houses. On New Year’s Eve, Flat Tayla stayed up late eating traditional Dutch doughnuts, called ‘oliebollen’ and when the clock struck midnight, their entire household went outside to wish neighbors a Happy New Year and to enjoy the fireworks. Over the course of the next week, Flat Tayla explored the beautiful sights of Haarlem, including the River Spaarne, The Jewish Memorial, and the old Concert Hall. She celebrated Three King’s Day, attending a party with a traditional cake. In the cake, a bean is hidden and whoever gets the bean gets to be King (or Queen) for the day! Mirjam even made Flat Tayla a traditional Dutch costume before she took off on her next adventure – a train ride all the way from Salem, Oregon back home to San Jose.

Flat Trinity visited her family in Maryland, where she met all of their many animals, including Moonpie the horse, Oliver the donkey, and many chickens (the friendliest of whom is named Checkers). From there, she went to Pennsylvania where (among other things) she got to go sledding, sing Christmas carols and visit an Amish market.

Flat Abby began her travels with a visit to Grandma and Grandpa in Colorado. They were out for a walk when a great gust of wind blew Flat Abby up, up into the air. Grandfather had time to snap a quick photo before she sailed away. Grandma and Grandpa feared they would never see Flat Abby again and were very sad until she miraculously appeared in a tree on their way home. Flat Abby was excited and thrilled by this unexpected adventure; and Grandma and Grandpa were glad to have her safely back in their home. For the rest of her stay, Flat Abby enjoyed the Colorado snow and even tried out Grandpa’s skis.

Flat Kai first visited Gilbert, Arizona, where he played video games, explored the local Natural History Museum and listened to his cousins play music on their many instruments. From Arizona, he took a long flight to Bangor, Ireland to spend Christmas with his Gran, Papa and the rest of his dad’s family. While in Bangor, Flat Kai toured the many historical landmarks. Most excitingly, he got to visit a real-life castle – Bangor Castle – built in 1832. From Ireland, Flat Kai made a quick hop across to Leicester, England to visit his other set of grandparents before heading home to San Jose.

Oh, The Places We’ll Will Go

Take a look at all of the places, both home and abroad, that our flat dolls are slated to travel.


Oh, The Places We’ve Been



  1. The Flat Stanley Project, Wikipedia
  2. Flat Stanley, Website