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Wednesday, April 26, 2000
Teachers.Net Author Chat
with
Children's Book Author
Jeff Brown
Author of
Flat Stanley

buy this book
Invisible Stanley

buy this book
Stanley and the Magic Lamp

buy this book

Kathleen - Teachers.Net welcomes Jeff Brown, internationally known for his VERY popular book, Flat Stanley. I think Flat Stanley has traveled more than the Pope, and for just the cost of a first class stamp. I understand Flat Stanley has even visited Elvis at Graceland. :-)

Jeff Brown has served on the editorial staffs of The New Yorker, The Saturday Evening Post, Life, and Esquire magazines. His stories have appeared in these and other magazines. For several years, in Hollywood, he was associated with producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., later with Pennebaker Productions (Marlon Brando) at Paramount Studios.

In "Stanley And The Magic Lamp," a young genie, granting wishes for Stanley and his brother, creates a new sort of pet, half lion, half elephant -a Liophant! In "Stanley In Space," the entire Lambchop family blasts off in a top-secret government spaceship to meet with people from another planet! In "Stanley's Christmas Adventure," they all travel to the North Pole to persuade a grumpy Santa not to cancel Christmas! And then there's "Invisible Stanley.

Kathleen - Read the March edition of the Teachers.Net Gazette, cover story, Why is Stanley Flat by Addie Gaines http://www.teachers.net/gazette/MAR00/

Bob R/CA - Hi Jeff, welcome and thanks for coming tonight :o)
Jeff - Bob. How do you do. nice to meet you
Bob R/CA - the pleasure is mine. I've been eager to meet the man who started all the Flat Stanley excitement :o)

Kathleen - Our sponsor is here! Hi, Gisele of Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies! http://www.mathgoodies.com
Gisele - Hello everyone.

Kathleen - Bob, isn't it incredible, the Flat Stanley phenom?? truly international, NO ONE hasn't heard of Flat Stanley :-) Flat Stanley orbited the Earth with the DISCOVERY astronauts: 217 orbits, 4.6 million miles!

Bob R/CA - Jeff, were you aware of the chatboard we've dedicated to Flat Stanley type projects on this site?
Kathleen - The Teachers.Net Traveling Buddies Center: http://www.teachers.net/projects/traveling_buddies where you can connect with others for Flat Stanley swaps and other projects.

Mare2 - Our very rural school is sooo excited to have a Flat Stanley who has just returned from visiting Pres. Clinton at the White House!!! 2nd grade!

Kathleen - Jeff, is there a real life incident or person who inspired the Flat Stanley story?
Jeff - Kathleen, the is indeed a real-life story. More than thirty years ago, I was saying goodnight to my now grown-up sons, J.C. and Tony (Flat Stanley is dedicated to them), and JC stalling for my chat time, asked me not to leave the bedroom. He was scared, he claimed, and when I asked him what he ws afraid of he couldn't think of anything. As I started out again, he had an inspiration. I'm afraid my big bulletin board will fall on me, he said. I told him that that was ridiculous; the big board on the wall above his bed had been securely mounted by me, and even if it got loose it would do so so slowly that he wouldn't even notice it, just go off to sleep, and by the time it rested fully upon him he'd be sound asleep and wouldn't wake, so the board would just lie there all night. Then I thought of small joke and said: "Of course, when you wake up in the morning, you'll probably be be flat." Both boys thought that was a hoot and many evenings after that one, we'd make up tories about adventures you could have if you were flat. Best idea I ever had, and I didn't even know I'd had it. Not for many months, until a friend in the kid-book business, who knew about the flat stories, suggested I make them into a book.

Mary/PA - Mr. Brown, did you ever think that Flat Stanley would become so popular when you first created him?
Jeff - Mary/PA--Most certainly not. And it was not immediately well received. The NY Times, if I remember correctly, said that I had done "a great disservice to children everywhere. And though there a number of nice reviews, it took years and years for Stanley's audience to grow..

JPM - i remember reading flat stanley when i was younger the cover was white with block lettering on it
Kathleen - I believe the hardcover version of Flat Stanley still carries that cover illustration JPM

grace - I would like to start this project in the Fall. How do I get started?
Kathleen - grace, take a look at Teachers.Net Traveling Buddies Center: http://www.teachers.net/projects/traveling_buddies/ for help as well as the Gazette article I referred to above
grace - thanks
Jeff - Grace: Best way might be to check in with the flat Stanley Project site at http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca This is a very ambitious effort run by a teacher named Dale Hubert in Ontario Canada. He's got all sorts of lists and teachers groups and suggestion, etc.
Kathleen - Dale Hubert's site about Jeff and Flat Stanley http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca/jeff_brown.html

Kathleen - Speaking of the man. here is Dale Hubert! Welcome, Dale!
Dale Hubert - I have a Flat Stanley Project that Jeff referred to earlier that has over 10,000 students involved.

Bob R/CA - Link showing Flat Stanley in space - http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca/stanley_in_space.htm

Kathleen - For information about conducting Internet Projects, see the Archives http://teachers.net/archive

Kathleen - Mr. Brown continues to make school visits. For availability and fee information, contact Kristy Lynch (kristen.lynch@harpercollins.com) telephone 212 261-6789 or her assistant, Liz Ann Howard (lizann.howard@harpercollins.com) telephone 212 261-6667.
Jeff - Kathleen. Thanks for the plug. Is Dale Hubert really with us? What a kick! Hello, Dale!

Kathleen - Jeff, do you have a web site?
Jeff - Kathleen: No web site of my own. Even if I wanted one of my own, I couldn't possibly compete with what Dale Hubert has done.

Rosa - Mr. Brown.....Thanks for coming in to speak to us.....I have enjoyed your books. What age group do you recommend to do this project? What is the oldest age group you would have do this project?
Jeff - Rosa--I do a lot of school visits, and seem to be mostly in second and third grade classrooms. But one of my secret joys in writing the books is sneaking in little smartypants jokes that pass over the kids' heads without rattling them, but please the grownup readers. I'm writing mostly for my own pleasure, I guess, and will have to let the audience choose itself.

Mary/PA - Mr. Brown, during your school visits, what are the most frequently asked questions asked by the children?
What are the kids most curious about?
Jeff - Mary--mostly the kids are curious about where the idea came from, and about what it feels like to be a writer, and they want to give me their ideas for further adventures. I'm still trying to comprehend a suggestion two or three years ago from a little girl: Flat Stanley meets Cyndi Lauper.

Rosa - Mr. Brown, are you an educator or were you an educator?
Jeff - Rosa: An educator? Moi? I'm flattered by the question, but no, no. Child actor, assistant movie producer, magazine editor, short story writer, two years as a literary agent. That's it.....
Rosa - Mr. Brown...LOL!! OK!! Thanks!!

Kathleen - Jeff, which is the newest Stanley book and is he flat in all of his books?
Jeff - Kathleen: The most recent Stanley adventure is "Invisible Stanley" and he's --guess what!-- invisible rather than flat. He's not flat at the end of Flat Stanley, not flat in any of the four sequels. I get pressured to do a "Stanley, Flat Again" book, and have so far resisted it. But who knows?

Kathleen - To connect with thousands of colleagues worldwide, sign up for a Teachers.Net mailring (e-mail group) at http://teachers.net/mailrings.

Monroe - Jeff, where did the name Stanley originate?
Jeff - Monroe--way back before the flat stories ever came back, my then wife and I had a dinner party, and one of the guests was a now quite well-known writer named Janet Malcolm. My kids came in to say goodnight, an Janet asked JC if he was going to be a writer. When JC said yes, she asked if he'd use a pen name, then had to explain pen name to him. He'd have one, he said without hesitating: Stanley. Stanley Lambchop. We were flabbergasted. Nobody in the family named Stanley, no kid friend named Stanley. A year later, I used it in the book to please J.C.

Mary/PA - Have you written any non-Stanley books to which you would like us to pay attention?
Jeff - Mary: no other books. The five Stanley adventures must total at least 125 pages, and I got them all out in just over thirty years. You can't expect anything more than that! Quit pressuring me!

mslillian - My third graders love Flat Stanley. We sent him to relatives all across the US. The adults really got into it. Taking Flat Stanley on trips - he has been to Ireland, Italy, England and even Mississippi. Flat Stanley has been photographed in many interesting places and even met up with another "Flat Stanley" having his photo taken at the Washington Monument. They had their pictures taken together. A great time, a great book, a lots of fun. Thank you.

Valerie/NYr - I did Stanley Travels for many, many years....Flat Stanley traveled to Hong Kong with a former student..even had his own passport!...Kids were scared to death Stanley would get arrested for chewing gum!!!!!!

Monroe - Where are you from Jeff? I'm from Ohio.
Jeff - Monroe: Born and raised in New York City, have always live there except for five years in Hollywood --long ago.
Monroe - Neat Jeff! I'm originally from Buffalo, NY. I'm sorry i didn't start our Flat Stanley Project earlier in the school year. I had my fourth graders take Stanley on their Spring break. They came back excited to write about their adventures. Any fourth grade classes out there that want our projects sent to them?

Kathleen - Dale, include any info you have about the benefit to obtain books for people in Brazil
Dale - Our latest initiative is to collect books for a leper colony in Brazil. It seems appropriate that a project started by a book should supply books.
Dale - Check out http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca for more information on the leper colony initiative.
Dale - I hope you will be able to check out the Flat Stanley Project. We are looking for new members and new ideas. This project has grown beyond my greatest expectations. When I began I was hoping for 20 or 30 classes and now there are over 500 classes around the world and an estimated 10,000 students involved. With that number of dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students we  can do a lot of good in the world.

In addition to more traditional Stanley activities, our  first initiative is to provide new and used books for a leper clinic in Brazil. It seems very appropriate that a project based on a book should provide books. Patients at the clinic must remain there in isolation until cured. Imagine having nothing to read. More details are available on my FS page, but I am currently trying to interest a courier or airline to provide shipping for us. I am very excited about the possibilities of this new direction for Stanley.

We are looking for new participants and I invite you to visit the Flat Stanley Project at http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca

Dale Hubert, Moderator
Flat Stanley Project
London, Ontario, Canada

Kathleen - Flat Stanley projects enhance curriculum. Certainly students are more interested in geography when tracking their Stanleys around the globe. Imagine the math experiences, measuring distance, etc. For lots of math activities, lessons, materials, visit our sponsor, Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies at http://www.mathgoodies.com/

Chip - Welcome!! I only know of 3 of your books ! What are the names of all 5?
Jeff - Chip--Flat Stanley, Stanley and the Magic Lamp, Stanley In Space, Stanley's Christmas Adventure, and Invisible Stanley. Space and Christmas republished only in England; Harper Collin Childrens' Book does the other three. The Flat Stanley Project will tell how to order the two English books, in case you care.

allison - My students love Flat Stanley! I have to buy new copies soon because they are all worn out!

mslillian - Jeff, are you planning any trips to CA next school year? We have an authors day every year and I know our librarian would love to have you come.

Kathleen - Jeff, do you have scheduled any book signings in the future? Also, how do we get autographed copies?
Jeff - Kathleen--I do book signing almost always when I'm visiting schools away from New York, and occasionally in bookstores here. Kristy Lynch at Harper' Collin can arrange discounts for bulk sales. And of course I'd b pleased to sign and return any book that is sent me along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

buckeye - Mr. Brown have you ever been ask to host a Flat stanley???
Jeff - Buckeye--I'm not sure what you mean. If yo mean has Stanley's been sent me in the hope that I'll give them adventures and mail them back, the answer is "Have they ever! " And I wish the kids wouldn't do that, even care of my publishers, because it's terribly time consuming and a bit expensive and I can't bear to let a kid's letter go unanswered. So do anything you can to discourage direct mailings to me, please! Have I answered your question?
buckeye - Yes Mr. Brown you have...thank you

Kathleen - Sorry to say, the hour is over and we have to let Jeff go. But perhaps he will return someday soon? Jeff? We are very pleased to have been able to host such a beloved author! Thank you to all who participated tonight.

Kathleen - Our sponsor tonight was Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies. Check out http://www.mathgoodies.com/ for math lessons, activities, materials!
Gisele - I found this chat very enlightening!

Jeff - Kathleen--I've had a dandy time and would love to return to the chatroom, now that I've got the hang of it. Just say when. Goodnight everybody! Thanks for the good questions, and for bearing with my answers. We'll meet again, I hope. Good night, Kathleen, and special thanks for your chatroom briefings.

Bob R/CA - Jeff, thanks for coming here tonight, and for your great work with the Stanley series. Hope we can support you through Teachers.Net in the future. :o)

Kathleen - Dale Hubert e-mailed saying he was very happy to be here with us, enjoyed all of you.:-)

Bob R/CA - Thanks Gisele of MathGoodies.com (http://mathgoodies.com/ ) for her support and sponsorship of tonight's session

Jeff - Goodnight--and thanks again!