Beloved Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli is back with his second children’s book, with a heartwarming family story.
Dedicated to his devoted Nonna Paola, who always encouraged him to be the ‘campione del mondo’ or champion of the world, Little Bont’s Brave Play is an inspiring story about facing your
fears and finding the courage to bounce back and carry on. And, of course, there’s a little bit of footy.
Co-written with Fiona Harris and illustrated by Megan Higgins, Little Bont’s Brave Play is a triumph of the human spirit and the incredible impact our grandmothers can have on our lives.
“As we know, our grandparents become an extension of our parents when life gets busy, especially with three siblings,” Bontempelli said.
“Grandparents get to do all the spoiling and hopefully suffer less of the full-time headaches. After dedicating my first children’s book to my Nanny Nancy in Little Bontand the Big Secret, I jumped at the opportunity to reflect on my Italian heritage and dedicate Little Bont’s Brave Play to my Nonna.
“Such a strong and cheerful person, always welcomed with a smile and hug, but would be especially known for her sense of humour.
“Encouraging me from a young age to be “campione del mondo” or “champion of the world” which I embraced as chase your dreams, there’s no doubt this impacted my pursuit of one day playing in the AFL.”
While writing childrens’ books is something different for an AFL footballer, Bontempelli said it’s a good way to connect with the younger generation.
“It’s a nice legacy piece to hopefully influence the kids long after I can kick a football,” he said.
“Maybe they won’t forget me as quickly.”
For the champion Bulldog a big season awaits, after missing finals for the first time since the 2018 season. Bontempelli said another premiership for the would Dog trumps any personal accolade, including his fifth club best and fairest that he received earlier this year.
“I try to influence the game the best way I know how, [the best and fairest] is a nice acknowledgement that the work you put in is vindicated,” he said.
“But by no means is it a main priority, the next Bulldogs’ premiership tops that list.
“And I guess five times means that I’ve been around a while now, so if anything it shows I’m closer to the end than the beginning and to make the most of every moment.”