“Super Manny Stands Up” by Kelly DiPucchio and Stephanie Graegin
You guys, I LOVE this book!!! It is about a little raccoon named Manny who wears a different colored super hero cape everyday when he comes home from school. Each one represents a different “power” that he has, such as fearlessness, and when he wears his cape he fights imaginary villains and plays super hero. One day at school Manny sees a big kid bullying a smaller kid in the cafeteria.
At first, he does nothing until he remembers that he is wearing his invisible super hero cape and all the super powers he knows he possesses and that he practices at home. Summoning his super strengths he speaks up for the smaller kid and to his surprise is joined by other children choosing to be brave. In the end, he even makes a new friend to play super hero with after school each day.
I think the main reason I adore this book, other than the obvious message of channeling your inner hero to stand up for what’s right, is the fact that the super hero strengths that Manny practices and that his capes represent are all qualities that each an every child possesses and can strengthen. It is such an empowering message to young children everywhere that while they tend to idolize fictional super heros, they need to realize that they can be “super” in a way that is far more powerful and can impact the world for good.
5 Minute DIY Super Hero Capes
In this story Manny has 5 super hero capes of different colors that all represent a different super power. They are the colors: blue, purple, red, green and yellow. The “super powers” they represent are all mentioned in his motto which is “I am fearless! I am Strong! I am Brave! I am Powerful! I am Invincible!”. Isn’t that a fabulous mantra?! I love it and I love that it is one that you can teach your child so that they can repeat it to themselves as a reminder of their strengths when faced with difficult situations.
When I was thinking of a “beyond the book” craft for this book, I instantly knew that I wanted to do a super hero cape. However, I love the idea of all five different colored capes and their different meanings so much I wanted to do a cape that was fast, easy and inexpensive enough that you could make a whole set of five for the child in your life.
That is when I came up with the idea of using old t-shirts. They can easily be found in your closets in different colors, are just the right amount of fabric, and jersey fabric doesn’t need to be hemmed. Perfection! They seriously take 5 minutes (or less) to make and if you close them with a button, you don’t even need to use a sewing machine. However, if you are making yours for a small child then I would definitely recommend velcro in place of a button for safety purposes.
Just a few supplies, a few steps, and within minutes your kid is off playing super hero! If you decide to do a whole set that means you just need 5 shirts and a half hour or less. I hope you have fun making them and I hope they help the kids in your life to realize their super powers and embrace their inner awesome-ness!
- old, jersey t-shirt (I used one of my husbands so it was nice and big)
- needle and thread
- button (or snap, or velcro…)
- fabric scissors
- Place your shirt face down on a flat surface and starting at the bottom cut up along the left side. When you get to the sleeves cut them off and slowly curve your line in towards the color of the shirt to make a strap that is a couple inches wide. Continue this strap over the shoulder of the shirt and down towards the front of the shirt to make it several inches long, then bring it back towards the collar. (See the seam on the straps in the image above? I went about 6 inches past them onto the other side of the shirt.) Repeat for the right side of the shirt. Lastly, cut along the collar seam of the shirt to join both straps together and leave room for a “neck-hole”.
- Sew a button (or other closure for safety purposes) on the end of the right strap.
- Cut a slit on the end of the left strap.
- Put it on and enjoy!
If you give this Beyond the Book activity a try I’d love to hear how it goes! Share it on Instagram using hashtag #beyondthebook (I’m on Instagram as @book.nerd.mommy) or even just comment here with your thoughts. It would make my day! Or to simply save for later pin the image below.