Danica Davidson on Cyberbullying and Approaching Real-World Issues through Fiction

To celebrate the release of the fifth book in her Unofficial Overworld Adventure series, we asked Danica Davidson to talk about how her adventure-packed books touch on real-world issues that kids face. Read on below, and be sure to check out Danica’s other books here.

I’m very excited that The Armies of Herobrine, the fifth book in my Overworld Adventure series, is being released! I think this is the most action-packed book yet in the series, and Stevie and his friends will fight an epic, world-spanning battle against Herobrine, the worst villain they’ve ever faced. It’s my hope that it will keep kids on the edge of their seats while they read . . . and I hope they also enjoy the deeper elements of the book, including stuff about friendship, teamwork, and cyberbullying.

When I first began writing my books for Minecrafters, I knew I wanted to write something that was really exciting but also had substance. There are tons of books out there you read, throw away, and never think of again. I think kids deserve better. In the first book, Escape from the Overworld, I have Stevie, a citizen of Minecraft, find a portal to Earth, where he makes friends with a girl named Maison. Maison is feeling insecure about her new middle school and the bullies she deals with there. Stevie, who’s never been to school, follows her there and sees firsthand what bullying is like. (Then there’s also a situation where zombies come through the portal and attack the school, because this is an adventure novel, after all.)

The talk about bullying continues in the second book, Attack on the Overworld, and this time it gets into cyberbullying. Two cyberbullies hack into Maison’s computer and let themselves into the Minecraft world. Then one of them tries to stage a zombie takeover. Stevie and Maison have to put a stop to it.

The third book in the series, The Rise of Herobrine, gets us into the Herobrine arc. One of the cyberbullies from the second book has created a mod of Herobrine and put it in Maison’s computer, thinking nothing of it. However, since being created, the Herobrine mod has gained consciousness, and because he was created from a cyberbully’s anger, that’s all he knows. So all he wants is destruction and suffering. Our heroes continue to chase Herobrine through the fourth book, Down into the Nether, and with the newly released The Armies of Herobrine, they’ll be ready for their final battle with him.

Cyberbullying is a real issue, and I think most people who have an online presence have experienced it to one extent or another. My books are aimed for ages seven through twelve, which is about when kids first start establishing an online presence. The cyberbullying is in my books not just to keep the pages turning, but also to get young people thinking about cyberbullying. It’s very easy to be hurt by what anonymous people say online. It’s also very easy to be tempted to say nasty things because you’re anonymous. I hope my books can help kids know how to protect themselves online, and to also think about what they say online. I think teachers and parents can use these books as both fun adventure reads and also a platform to encourage kids to talk about cyberbullying. Because my cyberbullying stories are detached from the real world (you can’t really make a mod of Herobrine come to life), they can also give people a safe distance from these issues to make talking about these things easier. My books for Minecrafters aren’t just about zombies . . . they’re meant to empower kids, too!


The Armies of Herobrine by Danica Davidson

The portal between the Overworld and the real world may have been restored, but Herobrine is still at large—and Stevie knows that a confrontation is inevitable. While Stevie, Alex, and their friends try to awaken humanity to the threat posed by Herobrine’s messages, the Overworld’s armies prepare for an epic battle.

When Herobrine creates his own portal to the human world and releases vicious creepers, skeletons, and zombies at the Middle School Halloween party, the students are convinced the attack is just an elaborate prank—until the night takes a violent turn. With war breaking out around them, it’s up to Stevie and his friends to defeat Herobrine and restore peace.

The epic, world-spanning battle that follows will test friendships, reveal the group’s true allies and their most dangerous foes, and decide the fate not just of the Overworld, but of all of humanity.

Danica Davidson has written for MTV, The Onion, the Los Angeles Times and about fifty other publications. She is the author of the rest of the Overworld Adventure series, as well as the how-to guide Manga Art for Beginners, from Skyhorse Publishing.

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