NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

A runner…. and an author?

NECC student a modern-day Renaissance man

John Miller from Methuen, Massachusetts, is a member of both the cross country and track program at Northern Essex and has published two children picture books.  The 19-year-old was diagnosed with autism at the age of five but isn’t afraid to speak about it to other people.  Because of his diagnosis, he was behind both academically and physically. But, he and his parents didn’t let that get in the way of Miller’s success. Miller has won gold medals in the Specials Olympics in track and in gymnastics.  He also has a black belt in karate.  Miller is currently majoring in Childhood Education at the community college and hopes to write more books in the future. Back in 2017, Miller published his very first book called ‘The Adventures in Handom. He did both the writing and the illustration of the book himself.

Picture of John miller's book. It has a purple cover and an illustration in the center

John Miller’s second book, “The Magical Heart of Handom”

Miller got the inspiration of the kingdom Handom’s name and the hand-shaped characters due to him always making and drawing things with his hands.  On March 30, 2019, he published the prequel of the story called ‘The Magical Heart of Handom’ in which one of the main characters discovers a hidden mystery of Handom.  The book signing took place in Mann Orchards in Methuen.  “I never expected any of this to happen”, Miller stated, “It basically all started when I was little, and I used to play with my own hands. I created this whole universe named Handom. One day, my mom and I were in the car and she asked me to tell her about Handom and she was impressed. She was like “John we have to make this into a book. This could be huge for us.” I refused to do it a couple times but I decided to do it and see what happens.”

Picture of John Miller in a track uniformCourtesy photos

NECC Athlete and author John Miller.

Miller’s stories highlight the power of helping others and friendship.  Rumor has it, he is thinking about working on a sequel to the story line. He also hopes that one day, that his drawing will come to life in a cartoon. So, stay tuned.  Want to know more information about the books, or even want to purchase one? contact John Miller at