“Gracie Dix is ready to join the ranks of America’s next wave of great fantasy/adventure writers. Welcome to Superhero School is a page-turner where Oliver, Jessica, classmates and teachers take on supervillains and each other in wave after wave of densely-layered exploits. The book will leave you breathless and waiting for the sequel.”
Rick Vanzura, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, GameStop;
Former Executive VP and Chief Strategy Officer, Borders Group Inc.
“This is a story of superheroes, but it is also a story of friendship and perseverance. Again and again, the characters practice problem solving and never giving up. They learn that both asking for and accepting help are an important part of success. They learn that sometimes it’s hard to be a part of a team and that you must learn to work together. They learn to value their differences and to celebrate each other’s successes. These are life lessons we all need to learn. That these lessons are wrapped into a fast-paced book filled with exciting adventures makes Welcome to Superhero School a sure hit for both readers and parents alike!”
—Larissa Linton, Co-Founder of Heroes For Children
In an entertainment era where superhero stories emphasize power and special talent, high school author Gracie Dix wants to remind her readers that it’s heroic to be human, no matter your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Dix’s debut book, Welcome to Superhero School (ISBN 9781734510614, 4/28/2020, Toast Industries), the first in a series called The Vork Chronicles, focuses on a group of teenage friends learning to control their unique abilities. Siblings Oliver and Jess set off with their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork, which sends them from subterranean sewers to lush jungle as they encounter everything from dinosaurs to dragons.
But it isn’t all fun and games: The danger the group faces is equal to (and perhaps greater than) their dazzling array of powers. As the enemy closes in, the friends must learn a humbling lesson: how to rely on each other more than on their gifts.
It’s a timely message in a fast-paced world. Today’s children, surrounded by technology, are enchanted by its “magical” capabilities. But where technological innovation empowers us, it can also isolate us, leaving teenagers and young adults alike to believe they are alone in their growing pains and struggles. In a world characterized by convenience, learning to ask for help can feel unnatural — but it has never been more important.
Middle grade and high school readers, who will enjoy the amusing, rollicking nature of Welcome to Superhero School, need this encouragement. “When you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it,” Dix notes. “Loneliness is a dark path.” She understands what today’s teens are facing: She’s currently a high schooler herself.
Social media for teens and young adults can take on an almost all-consuming power. The pressure to keep up one’s profile and look like you’re having fun can be burdensome. Dix wants her peers to shed the facade: “You don’t have to hide who you are; your real friends will understand your differences and love you for who you are.” She illustrates this in the adventures of her superhero teens, who realize that their differences are positives, not negatives. As they band together to protect themselves from the evil schemes of Vork, they discover how to accept one another’s differences (as well as their own).
Themes from Welcome to Superhero School, the first in The Vork Chronicles, include the following:
- The value of perseverance
- No one is perfect
- Put faith in those who put faith in you
- The power of friendship and healthy, loving sibling relationships
- Don’t push people away; instead, try to understand the differences of others
- You can always change yourself for the better
“Despite the characters’ different backgrounds, they all join together and put their different skill sets to work, solving problems as a team, keeping each other safe, and supporting each other’s endeavors,” says Dix.
The humanity of superheroes is often a sidenote to their capabilities, but Dix chooses to remind her readers that building character and growing as a person matter more than special talents. In reading this story, we have a chance to recognize what the protagonists inevitably discover: Reliance on our own strengths can only get us so far.
In spite of their gifts, characters in Dix’s story must choose maturity over self-interest if they want to save the day. They must also give up their need to be perfect: The battle against evil in the world requires resilience, which can’t be earned without persevering in spite of mistakes and demoralizing setbacks.
“Despite every obstacle the characters were faced with, they kept going,” says Dix. “No matter how deep you’ve gone, you can always change yourself for the better.”
Welcome to Superhero School is available on National Superhero Day on April 28, 2020 at Amazon.com. One dollar from every purchase of the book goes to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) International, up to $10,000.
Readers also have access to free resources while in COVID-19 isolation at home in the form of Welcome to Superhero School coloring book pages, which have been made available at https://graciedix.com/books/.
In addition, the #1 Amazon bestselling prequel, Journey to Superhero School, is now available for purchase.
Learn more about Gracie Dix and The Vork Chronicles at https://graciedix.com/ and follow her journey on social media on Instagram @Gracie.Dix.Author and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GracieDixAuthor/.
ABOUT GRACIE DIX:
Graceanne “Gracie” Dix is a high school author. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, creating art, in the theatre, volunteering, or playing tennis. She loves to travel and is a loyal friend. Gracie lives in Dallas, Texas with her parents, Richard and Jennifer, her brother, Nate, whenever he is home from college, and her beloved dogs, Snowball and Sandcastle (“Sandy”).