News Archive

December 23, 2010

Sticky Burr Holiday GreetingIt’s hard to believe the year is almost over. Thanks to everyone who has read my books and sent me feedback. Next year I will continue writing my web comic and some new projects, so stay tuned.

Here is a special holiday greeting from Sticky Burr, along with a free calendar you can download and print. Happy New Year!


November 20, 2010

John Lechner videoThis year I was honored when my book Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest was awarded the 2010 Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award by the Oregon Association of School Libraries.

As I could not attend the award ceremony in October, I created a short video to show my thanks, which was shown at the OASL conference. In the video, I talk a little about my books and also meet some characters from Burrwood Forest. See the video here.


November 14, 2010

MassReads flyerIn honor of Family Literacy Month, the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation and Verizon are sponsoring a campaign called Massachusetts Reads and Succeeds. The Boston Herald has created a special page of links and stories available at their education website. I was honored that they chose my book Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril as one of their featured books, as well as my interactive story Elfbook: The Curious Journey.

Visit the Boston Herald in Education page to find great resources for students and teachers. You can download the Massachusetts Reads and Succeeds flyer there or directly here.


October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween from Burrwood Forest!

Happy Halloween from Burrwood Forest

All the most prickly characters from the second Sticky Burr book have gathered together for some Halloween mischief. Most of them live in Spooky Glen, the darkest part of the forest. Burweena lives in a hollow tree with her pet spiders, and sometimes Scurvy Burr and Spiny Burr come to seek her advice. The stag beetles Benjamin and Barnaby help in her nasty deeds, along with the other spiders.

You can learn more about them in the Sticky Burr web comic or the book Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, an adventure story that takes place in the autumn. In the book, Sticky Burr observes the migrating butterflies and hibernating ants, as he helps save the burr village from the wicked Burweena and her followers.

Enjoy your own autumn adventures this season!


September 15 , 2010

Elfbook: The Curious JourneyI have something new and fun to share this month. It’s an interactive story, which I have been working on for the last two years, off and on. It’s a story that combines the elements of a book, a film, and a game. I wanted to see if I could come up with a new way to tell a story, that didn’t use pages like a book, yet still let the viewer move forward at their own pace, and take advantage of the multi-media that a computer screen offers. I wanted a complete departure from traditional storytelling, yet something that retained the magical experience of immersing yourself in a book.

Here is the final product, it’s called Elfbook: The Curious Journey. I hope you like it!

Also, I was interviewed recently on Roxie’s Blog talking about my books and my interactive story. Read the entire interview here.


June 3, 2010

Beverly Cleary Children's Choice AwardThis spring I was excited to learn that my book Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest was awarded the 2010 Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award, by the Oregon Association of School Libraries (OASL). This award is voted on by children across the state of Oregon, and I would like to thank them all for their votes.

I’ve been keeping busy lately with a variety of projects, including the Sticky Burr web comic, and my blog The Untended Garden, as well as the occasional posting on the Creative Juices blog. I’m also working on an interactive story, which I hope to unveil this summer. Visit this website for more updates in the coming weeks!


April 8, 2010

Sticky Burr: The Prickly PerilThere is a lot of news to report this month. I am thrilled to announce that my book Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril has been nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award, in the Children’s catetory. I don’t know that I deserve such an honor, but I do know that I worked very hard on this book, trying to make it both exciting and thoughtful. It’s a continuation of the first Sticky Burr book but also stands alone as a separate adventure.

The book focuses on the character of Scurvy Burr, who played a minor role in the first book, but here gets to express all his frustrations as he tries to rid the village of Sticky Burr and all his unprickly goodness. This book also introduces new characters like Burweena and the beetle brothers. Reaction from fans has been very positive, and you can read more adventures of these characters in the Sticky Burr web comic. Don’t forget to visit the Sticky Burr website for more about the world of Burrwood Forest.

In other news, this month I am being featured as Artist of the Month on the blog Frolicking through Cyberspace, by author Heather Ayris Burnell. She interviewed me about my work, and there will be additional postings throughout the month highlighting some of my other projects and thoughts on illustration. Be sure to check back later in the month for more.

I have one more exciting piece of news. I will soon be unveiling a new project that I’ve been working on for some time, an interactive story. It’s very different than my other works, but I hope it will appeal to all ages. Check back to this website later in April for more updates.

One more note: I recently wrote a review of the new animated film The Secret of Kells, for the blog Creative Juices. It’s a great film worth seeing, and you can read my review here.

That’s all for now!


February 6, 2010

WelcomingHi everyone, I’ve had a busy start to the year writing a new novel, which has been taking most of my time. Though I’ve still found time to do a few other things. I’m still continuing the Sticky Burr web comic. I’m also tending to my blog The Untended Garden, though not as often as I would like (ironically).

I also occasionally contribute to the Creative Juices blog, as in this survey of favorite animated films of the decade and also What the Doodle (see drawing to the right.)

Also last month, I was honored to be interviewed by two excellent blogs about children’s literature. Both had great questions, and you can read all my thoughts on books, films, and writing. See the links below:

My interview at BriMeetsBooks

My interview at Wendy Martin Illustration

Well, time to get back to work. Winter is one of my favorite times for writing, as there are far less distractions, and I don’t always feel the need to go weed the garden.


January 5, 2010

SnowAnother year is upon us, and I’ve been busy with all sorts of new projects. If you haven’t see my blog The Untended Garden, which I just launched last fall, check it out. I will be updating it a lot in the coming months.

I created a new photo gallery with pictures from my book events in 2009, when I launched two new picture books.

I also added some new characters to the Sticky Burr website, including Nettle Burr and the stag beetles. I’ve been a little behind on the Sticky Burr web comic, but I will be posting more new pages soon. In the meantime you can catch up on the story so far.

I’ve also been working on a new personal project, an interactive story that I hope to launch in the coming months. I’ll be sharing more about that later. Happy New Year!


October 31, 2009

John's booksI will be doing a book signing at the Townsend Library, in Townsend MA on Saturday November 7th, 11 AM. I will talk about my new books The Clever Stick and Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, and show how I make a book. There will also be books for sale, so come on down! More information here.


October 1, 2009

FroggyI have a new blog! The Untended Garden is a blog about art and nature, and how they interconnect. I will be highlighting artists, writers, and filmmakers who are inspired by nature. The name Untended Garden is inspired by my own garden, which can grow rather wild at times. But it also symbolizes something organic, unstructured, allowed to bloom and grow in unexpected ways. Gardens do need tending, but they also should be allowed to develop naturally. I wrote a story once called The Untended Garden, which I will post sometime in the future. In the meantime, check out the blog and let me know what you think!

In other news, I had a great book signing last month at the Blue Bunny bookstore in Dedham, MA, and I will post photos of that soon. Many thanks to everyone who came down to say hi. I will be doing another event in Townsend, MA, on Nov. 7th for anyone in that area.


September 4, 2009

Scurvy BurrSticky Burr: The Prickly PerilThe wait is finally over – the new Sticky Burr book is here! Arriving in bookstores on Sept. 8, the book is called Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, and it contains further adventures by the tiny inhabitants of Burrwood Forest. You can read more about the book here. There will be a book launch party at the Blue Bunny bookstore in Dedham, MA, on Sept. 26th, 10:30-12:30.

Also to celebrate the occasion, I have put the Sticky Burr animated theme song on YouTube! You can watch the movie here.

And don’t forget to visit the Sticky Burr Website for fun and games!


August 20, 2009

The Clever Stick trailerIt’s here! My new picture book The Clever Stick has arrived at fine bookstores everywhere. I have created a book trailer (like a movie trailer) to promote the book. You can watch it here and also on YouTube where you can share it with friends. The Clever Stick is a very special book to me, which began as an online story that received wonderful feedback from readers around the world. I am so proud to see it grow into a book, and I hope that readers of all ages will enjoy reading it.

Also, I just redesigned my website! It was time for an overhaul, and you may notice a few new things including a blog link. This is a new blog that I will be launching in the fall, and I’ll be telling you much more about it, so stay tuned!


July 17 , 2009

Letters from childrenI received a wonderful packet of letters this spring from the children at St. Saviour’s School, Westgate-On-Sea, in England. They had a lot of great questions about books, writing, and art. They wanted to know if I made my own puppets (yes), whether I live by the sea (no), and can burrs really talk (not in real life – but in stories, anything can happen!)

I’d like to thank these wonderful children for their inspiring letters, and I hope they will keep writing and drawing and making things for years to come!

Locally, I will be doing a book signing on Tuesday July 28th, 2:00 PM at the Dedham Public Library, in Dedham, MA. I will draw pictures and talk about my new picture book The Clever Stick. There will also be refreshments, and music by Amy Conley, my amazingly talented sister. Hope to see you there!


June 20, 2009

I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had time to update my website. But I am happy to announce that I have two books coming out this year (after a quiet 2008). The Clever Stick is a picture book fable about a stick who has no voice, and struggles to make himself heard by the other forest creatures. It will be released on July 28th in fine bookstores everywhere.

Then on September 8th comes the next adventure of everyone’s favorite little burr. Sticky Burr, The Prickly Peril, follows the further adventures of our fearless burr and his friends Mossy and Draffle, as they face more dangers in Burrwood Forest. This time they must not only deal with the mischievous Scurvy Burr and his sidekick, but an even more dangerous and menacing foe – the wicked Burweena. (You may remember Burweena from the Sticky Burr web comic.)

I hope to redesign my website this summer, to reflect the new books and other projects I’ve been working on, so stay tuned!


March 28, 2009

I recently learned that my book Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest has been nominated for Oregon’s Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award for 2010. There are six nominations, which children will read over the next year and then vote on in the spring. You can read more about it here.

Also, the second Sticky Burr book is at the printer, getting ready for a September release date. Many children have been asking me about the new book, and I will be revealing sneak peeks on this website. Stay tuned!