Back in February, I received an email from a friend asking if I would be willing to help her son Travis with a school project. Travis is an extra special 15-year-old who created his own cutout version of  Flat Stanley — a 1964 storybook character who gets flattened by a bulletin board. Stanley quickly learns that his misfortune has benefits – including the ablilty to visit friends via the postal service!


I accepted the challenge and Stanley arrived a few weeks later. Over a one month period, he hung out in the greenhouse, wrangled  chickens, dodged an angry goose, was buried in the sand along the shore of Lake Michigan and played hide-and-seek with our cat. My job was to visually document his every move, print the photographs, write a story about his adventures, pack it all into an envelope with Stanley and send him back home. However, that seemed a bit too easy. Since Flat Stanley came from a book, he needed to return to a book (or in this case, two books — one for Travis and one for his teacher). Here are a few spreads:


cover3It was a big hit:

Oh my God, Tom! We got the Stanley books yesterday…Thank you so much for putting so much into this project for Travis. We’ve read it together about 15 times, and he’s got parts memorized…Travis acts like he’s a celebrity who’s used to all the attention. It’s pretty hilarious to hear him tell people “My Mom’s friend Tom is a photographer…”. He can barely pronounce the words, but he struts around like he’s famous. (Uh-oh, what’s going to happen when he sees this?!)

Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, an envelope arrived yesterday with a special surprise from Travis:




2 Responses to “Spotlight”

  1. Kelly Pink Says:

    Tom….this is awesome!!! I’m sure Travis was delighted!!! I remember YEARS ago my children having to do flat Stanley and it was so much fun for them. Thank you for sharing….just wish I could read it all.

    Kelly (Storvis) Pink

  2. Ahhhh you are an awesome person!!!!

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