Penguin Young Readers Group has partnered with NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association, to create a range of books inspired by National Football League athletes. The license marks NFLPI’s first foray into children’s books.
“Retailers have seen books about sports teams, but we thought this would be a fun series about sports that talks more about the players than the teams,” says Lori Burke, North American director of licensing and consumer products. “It would be rooted in a strong editorial narrative that celebrates the stories of the players. It’s a story; it’s not a logo.”
Formats are still in development, but are likely to include Mad Libs, chapter books, activity books, and journals. Burke cites player biographies, strategy and behind-the-scenes books, doodle books, quarterback-themed Mad Libs, and interactive “pick-a-play” books as possibilities, with some having national appeal and others being more regional in nature. The books are expected to debut in summer 2015, before the start of the NFL season.
“The deal gives us access to all this talent,” Burke says. “The players are excited to do something for kids that has a positive message.”