Many of you, my blog readers, are aware that I am currently self-publishing my third children’s early reader through Amazon.com. However, there’s a little guy named Stan who witnessed one of my self-publishing endeavors first-hand and up close in my home office many years ago. Actually it was on Christmas Eve in 2008. This Stan is a fictional character himself. Let me explain.
American author Jeff Brown wrote the Flat Stanley children’s series beginning with his first book originally published in 1964 and illustrated by Tomi Ungerer. It has since become a classic. The premise is that Stanley belonged to a family of normal physique but was flattened by a bulletin board which fell on him. He was not harmed in the usual way but was changed into a flat person who was able to enjoy adventures that others couldn’t.
Some thirty years later a third-grade teacher in Ontario Canada, Dale Hubert, created a school children’s project whereby a paper Flat Stanley is used to stimulate creative writing and learning. The children carry their Stanleys wherever they go and record their daily activities together. Then they send him via mail to a relative, friend, or pen pal who does the same while also keeping a journal of their adventures.
I’ve been the recipient of three flat Stanleys. The 2008 Flat Stanley was the school project of my great nephew Ben who lives in Glenn Dale, Maryland. This Stanley happened to land in Louisville, Kentucky right in the middle of my Christmas activities that year. Coincidentally I was in the midst of preparing a collection of my written rhyming stories, drawings, and audio recordings to give to my three youngest grandchildren: six-year-old Jeffrey, four-year-old River, and two-year-old Sara.
Sit back and enjoy being a kid again as I share with you an edited version of what I wrote to help Ben out with his class assignment. It was called My Trip to Kentucky at Christmastime Written by Stan with Help from Connie Carlisle Polley. Or you may want to read it with a special child in your life.
Thursday, December 4
Hi! My name is Stan. I’m a little different than most kids . . . well, actually a whole lot different. I’m flat like a pancake! But you know what? Since I’m flat and not very big my friends put me in their pocket or in the mail and I go everywhere!
I just arrived this evening to Nonny’s house in Louisville, Kentucky from my new friend Ben’s house in Glenn Dale, Maryland, which is about 600 miles away. You won’t believe how fast I got here! Earlier in the day, Nonny asked Ben’s Mom to use her printer’s scanner to transport me. If she had taken me to the United States Post Office, I would not have gotten here in time to see the children’s Christmas musical on Sunday at Nonny’s church. With the scanner, I got here in a flash!
I passed on sleeping in the Barbie house in the basement. There are already two Barbie girls, two Kens, two dogs, and a monkey staying there. It is too crowded! I told Nonny that the piano in the living room would make a perfect place to stretch out at night and watch everything going on in the day. Plus, I’ll be close to the door so I can yell out if she starts to forget to take me with her when she goes out!
Since it’s winter, I should have brought along a jacket. “Burrr . . .” I told Nonny. “It must be cold outside. I didn’t bring a warm coat!” “Don’t worry, Stan,” she said. “I’ll make you one.” And she did!
Sunday, December 7
I wore the coat Nonny made for me when we went out this evening to a children’s Christmas musical at her church. Most of the children were dressed in white and gold angel costumes. They sang as a choir and some of them also had solo parts. They must have practiced a whole lot because the singing and drama were really good. I liked the upbeat music.
Monday, December 8
Nonny’s son Nolan arrived in Louisville from Chattanooga by car at 1:00 A.M. this morning! Even though she told me he would be letting himself in, I was a little startled when I heard the front door open as we had already settled in for the night. He’s going to be here until Friday, getting some kind of training at the General Electric Appliance Park plant.
Tonight we all watched old VHS tapes of Christmas musicals in which Nonny, Nolan and other family members were participants as singers, instrumentalists, drama characters, technical support and just about anything else you can think of. In one, Nonny wore a really fancy satin blue gown. She told me she was a narrator. She said that’s somebody who adds to the musical presentation by being a kind of storyteller. In another Christmas musical, Nolan played a young boy talking to his grandfather about Christmases when the old man was a youngster. Nonny told me tomorrow we’re going to get some exercise. I wonder what she’s got in mind?
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End of Part One of STAN VIEWS SELF-PUBLISHING UP CLOSE. Come back to Nonny’s Blog next week to read Part Two.