Julian Edelman Reads From Children’s Book About Overcoming Adversity at Boston JCC

Perseverance and passion are two themes that have run throughout Julian Edelman’s football career, so it should be no surprise that the New England Patriots’ wide receiver would make them key to his first children’s book.

Edelman’s book, Flying High, tells the tale of Jules the Squirrel, who dreams of football success, but needs help figuring out what might get him there. Will it take love of the game, hard work, or a cleverly named goat named Tom? Maybe all three. Originally released late last year, Edelman has now partnered with PJ Library, a national book club for Jewish children, to release a new version of the story.

To commemorate the new edition, Edelman took part in a book reading at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston Tuesday night, where he held court in front of a few hundred excited children and their families, many sporting Patriots attire. They roared their approval as Edelman was introduced as the hero of Super Bowl LI, and laughed when he took his special book reading stance.

“This is how you read a children’s book, right?” he asked, holding an open copy of his book up high. “Hold this up with a head tilt.”

The re-release of Flying High comes at a time when Edelman needs to rely on its themes more than ever. A torn right ACL injury In the preseason robbed him of his ninth NFL. Tuesday’s book reading was one of Edelman’s few public appearances since the August 25th injury. He gingerly took to the stage for the reading with a large black brace wrapping the length of his leg, needing some time and space to clear stairs.

“I’ve had worse days, I’ve had better days,” shrugged Edelman when asked about his recovery.

Flying High book cover

With the Patriots on a roller coaster to begin their season, currently sitting at 3-2, Edelman certainly wishes he could contribute on the field, but has faith in his teammates.

“Our team’s worked hard, and there are a lot of guys playing awesome football,” he said. “I look at our room, the receiver room, and see a lot of guys like Hogues (Chris Hogan), and Dola (Danny Amendola), and Cookie (Brandin Cooks.) Those guys are out there, they are putting a smile on my face by how hard they’re playing.”

Playing hard is not only a quality Edelman sees in the Patriots’ receiving corps, but one showcased in Flying High. That emphasis, along with faith and dedication are a big reason why the book was selected for inclusion within the PJ Library organization.

Edelman’s underdog status as he moved from high school and college quarterback to Patriots’ multi-faceted playmaker taught him the importance of dedication. His dedication to Judaism only heightened after a 2015 trip to Israel to visit important landmarks of his Jewish faith, and in many ways provided a new context.

“(He knows) that the challenges that we face in life, we do not face alone,” said Rabbi Bill Hamilton, who traveled to Israel with Edelman and introduced him at Tuesday’s book reading. “We face them with our heritage, our history and our faith. There are a lot of loyal and willing folks supporting us on our journeys.”

Boston’s Jewish population has embraced Edelman and he continues to show his support of the robust community as well. He saw the book reading and partnership with PJ Library as one way to reciprocate the support of the youngest members of his faith.

“It’s good to be a part of something within for the better of the Jewish community,” said Edelman.

As he read the closing lines of Flying High to the children, they rang true to where Edelman wishes he were in his recovery.

“I can’t wait until the next game,” hollered Edelman. “Time to work out!”

Enjoy a snippet from Edelman’s reading: