Dallas Clayton is a children's book author. His newest book, Make Magic, Do Good is one of Fable's go-to in her "bedtime story stack." It's silly and fun and full of beautiful (colorful!) illustrations and rainbows. (Kind of like his Instagram feed and pretty much anything he's involved in.)
I realized halfway through corresponding with Dallas for this post, that ten years ago we met and and saw a movie together with a mutual friend. Hi, small world after all.
Anyway, meet my old BFF from 2003, Dallas Clayton:
GGC: Tell me your story. Who is Dallas Clayton and how did he get started writing and illustrating children's books?
Dallas: I am Dallas Clayton. I live in Los Angeles, California, I write books and draw pictures and make things and travel all over the world sharing them with people. I got started by writing a book for my son called An Awesome Book. Publishers all over turned that book down so I published it myself and put it online and it became quite popular and soon took over my life and so then I wrote more books and made more things for kids and now that's my job.
GGC: Word. I love that you love sharing, that THAT is who you are and what you're all about. Can you tell me a little bit about why sharing is so important to you?
Dallas: Thanks! I think sharing is a pretty essential element to growth both as individuals and as a collective society. Often times it's easy to get caught up in the notion of ownership, of property, of the value of an object relating directly to the cost rather than the happiness one can derive from it. We see it in ourselves, in our stores, in the way we raise our kids -the way we rank ownership of goods at the top of our lists of possible achievements.
While I suppose those lessons are important as they teach us to honor hard work and foster an appreciation for what we've earned, it's also important to remember the value of sharing what you've earned to help better the common good. When I look at my life I know that the albums I've borrowed, or the sunsets I've shared, the philosophies I've been leant, have meant much more to me than the sum total of the objects I've amassed.
For me making books isn't the end goal- a book is just a casing for an idea, and ideas are meant to be shared because this is how they grow and how the spread and how they change over time. I'm fortunate to live in an age where an idea can be shared just as freely and as easily as we share the sun or the ocean, which is why I try put my books online for free, and why I try to make as much of what I do for kids as available as it can be for everyone, regardless of whether they can afford to buy it or not. After all what good is a box of popsicles on a hot summer day if you're just going to sit there eating them all by yourself alone on your porch...
Dallas: There are too many to name. Of course the classics by Seuss, Silverstein, Sendak, Dahl. Those guys are all massive. But newer stuff too - I really like Jon Klassen, he's great so simple and good, and Oliver Jeffers -- his style is sick. Those two stand out to me as making really great contemporary work. Powerful stuff.
GGC: Lastly, because you are full of wonder and wisdom, what (in your opinion) is the most important thing a parent can teach a child?
Dallas: I thought about this for a while and it's really hard to get any better than the Golden Rule. It's just so easy and so simple and so important to remember... Treat your kids the way you would want people to treat you.
Dallas has three copies of his new book, Make Magic! Do Good! up for grabs this week! To win? Tell us something good. I'll choose three winners next Thursday, January 31st. Good luck and happy reading/writing/drawing/creating/being.
(some photos c/o Dallas Clayton)
(some photos c/o Dallas Clayton)