Why Essex? Sweet Pea & Friends

Interview with John Churchman, Author

If you have children or grandchildren under the age of seven, chances are you have heard of the Sweet Pea & Friends series.  Authored by husband and wife team John and Jennifer Churchman, the series details the adventures of the sweet animals at the couple’s farm in Essex.  The imagery and the detailed stories struck a chord with America and the first book in the five-book series, “The SheepOver” became an almost instant addition to the New York Times bestseller list.

When I asked John why he thought that people were able to connect so strongly with Sweet Pea and friends, he told me that she is, “gentle, kind” and that “we could all use a little Sweet Pea in our lives.”  He is not wrong.        

John Churchman has held a lot of different jobs during his lifetime, including doing graphics for IBM, Blodgett, Karhu/Merrell, and New England Culinary Institute, farming, photography, and serving as past president of the board Frog Hollow studio in Burlington.  When I asked him how his life has changed since becoming a New York Times bestselling author, he laughed and humbly stated that it was an “interesting transition.”  

If you would like to follow the everyday adventures of Sweet Pea and her human and animal friends, visit https://www.facebook.com/mysweetpeafriends/.  If you would like to learn more about John Churchman’s art, visit https://www.brickhousestudios.com/index.  And finally, if you want to buy the books visit http://www.sweetpeafriends.com/books/ or stop into Phoenix Books at 2 Carmichael Street in Essex Junction.  The newest installment in the series, “The Easter Surprise” was just released last month.  He also published a daily journal featuring his images, “Finding Light,” in January 2019.    

Why Essex? “I have lived in a variety of places in Vermont.  I like Essex because I can farm and be in the woods, but be a 10-12 minute drive to Essex Center.” –John Churchman

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@ essexjunction.org.

Photo Credits: John Churchman