The tagline to this book’s title is “Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher.” It is a book by Rick D. Niece, known as a teacher, administrator, University president, and now author. The book is published by Five Star Publications. It is a memoir and anecdotal collection of teachable moments I am sure Rick has used to captivate students in his classroom for decades. He notes in the beginning that life stories may change when put into print and they can even become more true over time than they were when once lived in adolescent or other aged eyes. For that reason, he doesn’t label it non-fiction but the book is clearly a collection of autobiographical events.
The book starts with the backdrop of Rick’s paper route. Many of us can recall collecting along paper routes and the life wisdom we draw now from those innocent times. He visits a quadriplegic named Bernie and much of the wisdom shared in the book comes from him. Rick tries to share how important his times with Bernie were and still are. He gets his point across through richly descriptive prose of a small town and all its treasures. This is Americana through the eyes and pen of an educator. As most Americana novels do, he paints word pictures that bring us back to our youth and young adulthood. He intersperses some of his poetry as well that carries the same reverie of youth passed and wisdom gained. These are universal stories about the human condition.
I really enjoyed Rick’s slice of Americana and I agree we can gain wisdom from the most humble of places. Across our great nation there are many Bernie’s quietly offering just that sort of wisdom. Perhaps this sort of insight is what led Rick up the ladder of academia to become a principal and the president of a college. If you are looking for an inspiring and nostalgic read with humor and stories to use in your teaching or other job, buy Side-Yard Superhero. I think you will agree that anyone seeking to have an impact in this world would benefit by reading these stories.