Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Sawubona Kids!!

I said hello to you in Swati, the official language of Swaziland. I don't know too many words, so it is a good thing that most people here also speak English.

If you look at a map of the world, or a globe, you will see that I am further away from home than I have been on any of my other trips this year. Abigail, I'm not sure exactly how far it is, but the airplane ride took 17 hours!

The country has seasons like ours at home. Sometimes it feels cold in winter, but it doesn't snow.  Look at the picture of me. You can see that this is a dry time of year. The grass is all yellow. The trees have deeper roots to find water, so they stay green all year.

The trees are acacia trees. Some people call them thorn trees because they have long shap thorns along the branches. That is good protection against animals who might want to eat the leaves and bark.

Behind me you can see the hills. The countryside is full of low round hills like these, but there aren't any very tall mountains, Gage.

One thing I learned is that Swaziland doesn't have a president. Our country has a president, and people can pick a new one every 4 years. Swaziland has a king, and he will stay King for his whole life. When he dies, another member of his family will be the new king (or queen). This is a picture of King Mswati III.

Dallas asked what the flag looks like. Here it is. Most flags don't have pictures on them but this one does. The shield and spears are symbols. They stand for protecting the country and keeping it safe.

Sahara wants to know what kind of clothes they wear. Most of the time, people wear skirts or dresses, pants or shorts, and shirts, like we do. That is called Western dress. Sometimes, for special holidays and festivals, people wear fancy outfits with feathers, shells and beads. That is called traditional dress. These girls are dressed up and ready to be in a holiday parade.

Perlita wrote, "What kind of food do they have in Africa?" Here in Swaziland, they eat a lot of corn, beans, grain, and meat. One way they like corn is in baked cornbread. Here they call it mealie bread, but it tastes just as good!

Ivy asked about the animals that live here. They have elephants, rhinos, hippos, and giraffes. A much smaller  kind of animal that is all over the place is mosquitos. The people call them mossies. The bites really itch!

I know that your school year is almost over. This is my the last trip before your summer break. I have enjoyed sending you messages and pictures from so many places. I hope that when you get bigger, you will have a chance to travel. The world is full of so many wonderful things to discover!

Sala Kahle!  (That means good-bye)
Your friend,
Flat Stanley

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Howdy from Texas!

Hi Kids!
I have been in Texas for 3 weeks now. Abigail asked how long it takes to get here. We flew in a plane, and it took 2 1/2 hours. The good part of traveling that way is getting here quickly. If you drove in a car or took a bus, it would take you two days. The good part of traveling that way is that you get to see a lot of things along that way. 

I am staying with the Aplin family in Lewisville, TX. The day I got here, there was a problem with the big water pipe under the street in front of the house. Some workers came to fix it, and I think they made a mistake, because this is what happened.

Yikes! That was a surprise.Water is important. We need it to come to our homes, but not like this! Luckily, they did fix everything, and we had water again that night.

We took a trip to Austin, which is the state capital. This big building is where the laws are made. Do you know the capital of your state?

Anna asked if I got to go to a rodeo in Texas. There are plenty of rodeos, but I didn't get to see one. I did see this statue of a rodeo cowboy being bucked off of a horse.

Riding like that is called bronco-busting. I found out that part of a rodeois for children about 5 or 6 years old to ride sheep and see how long they can hang on. The children wear helmets, and they  usually can ride the sheep for only a minute or two before being thrown off. It is called mutton-busting. Does that sound like fun to you?

Dana asked about animals in Texas. I did see some unusual animals.

Another fun trip we took was to an ostrich farm. Wild ostriches live only in Africa. Texas has a hot climate that ostriches like, so they can live on farms here. Abby is holding me up for my picture.

One more animal I saw was a hippo.The town of Hutto, TX has a hippo for a mascot. It was only a statue, but it was a lot of fun to climb on. If it had been a real one, we couldn't have done that! Do you know where real hippos live? That's right - Africa again.

In Austin, under the Congress St. Bridge, there are thousands of bats. People sit on the grass outside the bridge area every evening to watch the bats fly out at dusk.  Texas also has armadillos. Ask Mrs. North and Mrs. McGuire to read you the book by Jan Brett called Armadillo Rodeo.

Talan and Santierra asked if there are mountains and canyons in Texas. Yes there are, but not in the part where I am staying. Texas is a very large state - only Alaska is bigger. The mountains are in west Texas, and I am in the east, so I won't get to see them. If you use Google to search for pictures on the internet, you can see the Davis Mountains and the Guadalupe mountainson the computer. Mount Guadalupe is the highest point in Texas. It is more than a mile high!

That's all for now. I will be back in Rock Hill next week. See you soon!

Your Friend,
Flat Stanley

Monday, February 17, 2014


Hi Kids!

I am visiting a city called Toronto. It is the biggest city in Canada, so it is very busy with many people, tall buildings, and a lot of traffic. Ashlen wondered if there are cities in Canada. There are other cities in Canada, too, like Vancouver and Montreal.  Millions of people live there. Canada also has more open space than in the USA. Canada is bigger - it has more land, but it doesn't have as many people as our country does.

Look at me having fun in the snow.  The big buildings behind me let you know that I am in a city.

When you look at a map or a globe, you can see Canada is near the top. That means it is in the north.
The further north you go, the colder the weather gets. Gage, JaKayla, and Rakwon asked about the weather. It is much colder than at our home in Rock Hill. Here is another picture that shows the cold weather. I was taking a hike in the park with my friend, Dr. Dooling. Look how deep the snow is!

Talan, Tionna, and Evelyn want to know about animals that live in Canada. Many animals that live in South Carolina can also be found in Canada. For example, you can see squirrels and raccoons in cities.
Some of the other animals that live in the wild in Canada are the beaver and the moose. In the far north of Canada you can find polar bears and reindeer.

I haven't seen animals outside yet, but I went to a museum, and saw this stuffed moose. I could get close to it because it is not alive any more. The museum guide told us that there are lots of them out in the woods.

Abigail asked what language they speak. There are two official languages in Canada. One is English. The other is French. All children learn these languages in school. You can see signs printed in both languages. I saw this sign where people were buying tickets to go on a boat ride.

Another thing that is different here is the money. Their dollars are coins, not paper. The gold colored one on the left is one dollar. It is called a "loonie" because the bird on the front is a loon. The coin on the left with a ring around it is a 2 dollar coin. They do have paper money for $5, $10, and larger bills. Their paper money is a lot more colorful than  ours.

Nolexia asked if there are any mountains. Yes, there are many mountains in Canada. The highest mountains are in Western Canada. The Rocky Mountain Range is the most famous mountain range. The Rocky Mountains go all the way from British Columbia Canada to New Mexico in the United States! If you look at a map, you will see that is a very long way. I did not go out west, so I couldn't take any photos of the mountains, but if you use Google on you computer, you can see many pictures of them.

The last question in my backpack is from Jack. He wants to know what kids do for fun in Canada.

Kids in Canada enjoy many of the same activities as kids in the United States such as video games, playing soccer or making art. Some popular sports played during the winter are ice hockey, figure skating and snow skiing.

I have loved my visit to Canada. I will be coming home on Monday. I can't wait to see you all again!

Your Friend,
Flat Stanley

Monday, January 27, 2014

More from Washington State

Hi again girls and boys!

I have been going to lots of places, and seeing lots of things for a week since I wrote to you last time.
I want to show you and tell you all about it.

Aracely asked me if there are beaches here. There are, but they are not one bit like the beaches in SC.
Instead of soft sand, beaches are covered with rocks. There are other huge rocks out in the water. The water is ice cold all year round. No one goes swimming at these beaches. They ARE nice for taking a walk, listening to the sound of the waves, or walking your dog. People who want to go swimming go to a pool.

I think you know who Washington State was named after. That's right, our first president. The people here are very proud of that, and so his picture is on road signs. Where ever you drive in Washington, you see signs like this:

Nolexia wanted to know what kinds of plants grow here. The nickname of Washington is "The Evergreen State" because there are many, many forests full of trees that don't drop their leaves in the fall. They are always green. Some evergreen trees are pine trees (like the ones you planted for Arbor Day) and spruce trees and fir trees. They have needles instead of leaves. Christmas trees are evergreen trees. Here is an evergreen forest:

JaKayla wrote, "What is the weather?"  Because WA is up far to the north, the weather is colder than it is in Rock Hill. In the summer it doesn't get really hot. People wear jackets all year round.  In the winter, it is very cold, and snows a lot. This is how the parking lot looked when we woke up one morning.

Another question I found in my backpack (could not find a name on this one) asks what kids do for fun here. Just like you, they ride bikes, watch TV, play sports, swing, slide, and  play video games.
Because of the snow, mountains, and cold weather, they also get to go skiing.

These kids are lined up for a lesson in ski school. The helmets help keep them safe if they fall down. I hope that you wear a helmet if you do something that could be dangerous. The lady in the red coat is their teacher. All of the kids have blue vests on over their clothes so she can see keep track of them more easily.

That's it for now. I hope that you liked learning some things about Washington.
I am coming home soon. I will see you in your classroom later this week.

Your friend, Flat Stanley

Monday, January 20, 2014

Checking in from Washington State

Hi first graders!

I am all the way across the country, in the northwest corner of the USA. I couldn't go any farther without landing in the Pacific Ocean, or visiting another country. Look at a map. Do you know what country is next to WA ?

Let me tell you some things about my trip so far.

Gage asked how far away from Rock Hill it is. It took 5 hours to get here in a plane, so I know it is far. I didn't know exactly, so I looked at Google maps on the computer to find out. I learned that I travelled 2,884 miles from Rock Hill to get here. That is a long way!

Ashlen wants to know if there are tall buildings, and Saul and Journey asked if there are big cities. The answer is yes to both of these questions. Seattle is the biggest city. That is where the airport is, so it was the first thing I saw when we landed. Here is a picture of Seattle. I think that the lights in the skyscrapers look beautiful. What do you think?

When we left Seattle, we had to cross the water, called Puget Sound, but there is no bridge. The cars drive onto a big boat called a ferry, and the ferry takes them on a ride over the water. You can get out of your car, and walk around on the deck of the boat. We were on the ferry when we took the picture of  the tall buildings. Here is a picture of another ferry that was going by.

George asked if there are mountains in Washington. Yes! There are lots and lots. This one is named Mount Rainier, and it is the tallest one in the state. The snow on top never melts. Right now, since it is winter, the snow comes all the way down the slopes.

Salome wondered about what animals live here. There are a lot of deer, and they are not afraid of people at all. They come right into the town, and into people's yards. They are very pretty to look at, but some folks don't like them at all because they eat the flowers and vegetables in gardens.

Another animal is very common in the water. I haven't gone out on a boat, so I haven't seen any yet. They are called sea otters. They are furry and brown, and very cute. In the park, we saw this otter statue, and  Mr. North took my picture with them.

I am loving Washington! I'll write again after I have had more adventures.

Your friend,
Flat Stanley

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hi From Los Angeles, California!

This is a special trip because I got to visit a TV studio! That is the name of the building where TV shows are made. When Mr. and Mrs. North went to Wheel of Fortune, they took me along. I met Flat Vanna White and Flat Pat Sajak in the lobby. It's nice that I'm not the only one who's flat!

Afterwards, we went drove around Los Angeles. It is a very big and busy city - the second biggest in our country. Only NYC is bigger. It has a lot of hills. We went up to the top of one and looked down. The tall buildings look small now because they are far away.

The weather is warm and sunny all year. It looks foggy, but that is not fog at all. It is smog. That is dirty air that looks smoky instead of clear. It is from pollution made by all of the cars and other vehicles, and by chimneys in buildings. Smog is not healthy to breathe. I'm glad that our air in Rock Hill is a lot cleaner than this.
Besides hills, California does have a lot of mountains too, but not near Los Angeles, where we are. Search on your computer for Yosemite Park, and you will see pictures of many big California mountains.
It is so warm that we left our winter coats in Rock Hill because we won't need them here. It hardly rains at all. Because it is so hot and dry, special kinds of plants grows here. They are called succulents. The leaves of succulents are fat, and filled with water. They are a lot like cactuses, except without the pointy spines that stick out. The plant stores water so it will be able to live for a long time between rains. Here's a picture of a succulent:
California has so many beaches because it is a big state, and one side is next to the Pacific Ocean. The waves are bigger here than the ones at SC beaches.  We rode on a ferris wheel at the beach, and took this picture looking down. Even though it is December, a lot of people are there, but not too many are in the water. Most are staying on the sand.
This will be a quick trip. It is almost over. We will get home on Sunday night.  Mrs. North and I will be back at school on Monday.
See you soon,
Flat Stanley


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving in Florida

Hi boys and girls,
Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving break from school?
I sure did! I just got back from my trip to Florida, and I want to tell you about my adventures.

It started with a big turkey dinner. I hopped up on the counter to get a look at the turkey as soon as it came out of the oven.
I'll bet it looks a lot like what you ate. Did you eat turkey too? Because Florida is part of our own country, most of the foods and traditions there are the same as ours.
After dinner, we went for a boat ride. Florida has lots of  lakes. This one is called Lake Padgett. I even got to help steer the  boat!

Florida is further south than where we live in SC, so the weather is warmer.  It NEVER snows, but it does rain a lot. It was so warm that we went to the beach one day. We collected seashells, and had a picnic. The best part was finding animals on the beach. I saw a horseshoe crab. Can you guess why it is called that? 

The first picture shows the top of its shell. We flipped it over to see the legs and body underneath.

Here is a sea star on the sand. Sea star is another name for star fish.
Florida has a LOT of beaches because it is surrounded by water on three sides.
Yes, Journey, Florida has a lot of people and houses. You know that there are 50 states in our country. Only 3 of them (California, New York, and Texas) have more people than Florida does.
Can you figure out how many states have less people than Florida?
Gage and Saul want to know if there are mountains or volcanoes in Florida. The answer is no to both of those. In fact, Florida is the flattest state of all.
I brought back something to show you. It is called Spanish moss. It is grayish green. It grows on all kinds of trees and bushes. It hangs down and sometimes falls off. Some people think it looks pretty. Some people think it looks spooky. What do you think?
It is an odd plant because it has no roots to get water out of the ground. It gets water out of the air.
On our way home we stopped in Lake City to visit your pen pals' school. Because it was Sunday, the school was closed, and we couldn't meet the teachers or children, but Mrs. North and I did stand by the school sign to have our picture taken.
I'm happy to be home again. I love to see new places and try new things, but it is always good to get back home.
Your friend,
Flat Stanley