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Family, imagination inspire Martellus Bennett's first children's book

Martellus Bennett talks about his first children's book, "Hey A.J. It's Saturday!"

Martellus Bennett is a football player by day and a creator by night, and his latest endeavor will hit book stands June 15. Marty's latest project is publishing, "Hey A.J. It's Saturday!," which is the new Patriots' first children's book.

"Hey A.J." will be a series based on the life of Marty and his family, and A.J. is based on his daughter, Austin Jett.

"We call her Jett. The stories are just adventures we have around the house that I recreated through stories … A.J. is this girl who ends up making a mess all the time, you know, but everything comes to life. She uses her imagination in several different scenarios, so it's pretty cool."

The first book in the series is A.J. on an ordinary Saturday morning, but she soon finds herself immersed in another world in her own kitchen, filled with animals and breakfast foods.

Though Marty has explored his creative side through his company, The Imagination Agency, this is the first children's book he has published. He said the experience, the hard work and managing every last detail has been rewarding.

"It's really cool. It's a long process from picking out the paper to making sure the ink is right, from creating characters to editing the story, but bringing those ideas to fruition is one thing," Marty said. "A lot of people have ideas, but completing ideas is something that is very rare, so I'm very excited about that … When I started the company, I just wanted to make things and tell stories, so whether it's films, cartoons, apps, books, I just like to make stuff. I have all these stories that need to be told."

These stories take shape in the form of books, short movies, animation and apps. Marty has been vocal about his passion for storytelling and creating, even giving a TedxOrcasIsland talk earlier this year called "More than an Athlete." The idea is that yes, a football player can also be artistic and creative. They are not mutually exclusive worlds, and that's part of the reason he wants to tell his stories.

"I think sometimes in life we learn that we're only allowed to have one dream, but you can have more than one dream. You can accomplish more than one thing," Marty said. "That's the biggest thing. You're not just one thing. Don't put yourself in a box. Become anything that you want to be."

Marty also developed an app to go along with his series, and each book will have its own "interactive, immersive experience." The "Hey A.J." app is available now. The hope is to encourage readers to activate their imaginations.

"With your imagination, you can go anywhere or do anything, anything is possible," Marty said.

Update: Martellus Bennett will be hosting a pop-up shop at 91 Newbury Street in Boston on June 17, 18 and 19. The shop will include readings and singings by Marty at the following times:

  • Friday – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday –   9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Sunday –  2 p.m. and 4 p.m.


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