Best-Seller by Rick D. Niece, Ph.D.

Fanfare for a Hometown Series - Book 1

Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons From An Unlikely Teacher
Growing up in small-town DeGraff, Ohio, teaches Rick that life’s best moments are the innocent ones, especially when seen through the eyes of his hero, Bernie Jones. Born with cerebral palsy, Bernie teaches Rickie that the indomitable human spirit can never be confined. 

 Publisher: Hometown Fanfare Publishing, LLC
Price: $15.95 US (paperback)
Size: 6" x 9"
Pages: 214
ISBN (paperback): 978-0-9984082-0-0
eISBN: 978-0-9984082-1-7
Distributors: Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor 

Side-Yard Superhero

About the Book

Although life's journey takes him far from his childhood home, Dr. Rick Niece never forgets the people he meets and the lessons he learns as a young man growing up in picturesque DeGraff, Ohio, population 900. A small-town newspaper boy who becomes a lifelong educator, Rick is deeply touched by the endearing residents of DeGraff who shaped his youth — especially a boy named Bernie Jones.  With severe cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair, Bernie becomes Rickie’s friend, inspiration, and superhero, opening a world of compassion, trust, and adventure to them both.

When he leaves DeGraff to attend Ohio State University, Rick promises Bernie that he will visit him again. Unfortunately, when Bernie's parents pass away, Bernie disappears, too, taken in by a distant relative. Forty years later, Rick learns that his boyhood friend is living in a nursing home. Returning to Ohio, he visits the never-to-be-forgotten Bernie Jones of a childhood long past and a promise finally kept. 

First Place Win

Side-Yard Superhero Book

 First Place Win for Side-Yard Superhero

ReaderViews awarded the Great Lakes Regional First Place Win to Side-Yard Superhero.

"...I highly recommend “Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher” by Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., to anyone looking for a “feel-good” story about a young boy and his life experiences growing up in a small town. I have gained a new appreciation for the small things in my own life after reading this inspiring story. My hope is to better recognize the gifts in my life and treasure the experiences like Bernie and Dr. Niece did growing up. Thank you for sharing your story, Dr. Niece!"

— Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views 

Finalist Win

 Finalist Win for Side-Yard Superhero

Side-Yard Superhero is a finalist in Non-Fiction Memoir for Readers' Favorite! From Readers' Favorite:

"If you were chosen as a finalist then congratulations! It was an extremely competitive year and your selection was hard earned."

— Debra Gaynor, Founder
Readers' Favorite
Jul 01, 2013 

A Buck a Book!

One dollar for every copy of Side-Yard Superhero sold will go directly to United Cerebral Palsy. More information about United Cerebral Palsy is available at

Download All Honors & Reviews

" Side-Yard Superhero" is going on my 'keeper' bookshelf." - Jane Allen Petrick

 "Could not put it down!" - Alan B.

 "Thank you for sharing your story, Dr. Niece! " - Christine Watson

"Rick Niece's SIDE-YARD SUPERHERO Shows That We All Matter" - Cyrus Webb

 "A Hometown Hero!" - Connie Las Schneider 

Side-Yard Superhero (pdf)


Click below to see the Book Trailer...