Words on Words: Dallas Clayton (& Giveaway!)

For those who aren't familiar, 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...
GGC: What are some of your favorite children's books?

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)


Sarah R | 2:22 PM

Our daughter's neurosurgeon told us that her brain bleed is not as severe as we were first told! It does not appear to have affected the motor area of her brain much, and she has good chances of walking and running with her big sister! Days after she was born we were told this may not ever happen. We are thankful form this little miracle every day(she is almost 9 months old). Winfrog@aol.com

shaina | 2:43 PM

After losing his job a few months ago, my husband landed a new, way better one yesterday! We're thrilled and this is such good news for us, especially with an almost two year old and another baby girl on the way. :)

Carrie T. | 5:01 PM

I just found out this week that I am preggo with baby #2!! After 18 mos of trying! :)

Unknown | 6:09 PM

I'm going to be an Aunt this summer!

Brianne | 6:26 PM

We just found out we're having twin girls!! So naturally I've poured over every twin pregnancy post of yours. Amazing and thank you!

quidam5 | 6:42 PM

My wonderful nephew, who has taken a rather scenic and circuitous path in life, recently married a fun and funny and loving woman who has joined him in parenting his little girl who has never known her birth mother. They are having twin girls in May! Life is interesting.....and good!

Sarah C. | 6:54 PM

My twin daughters are learning to read! It is incredible to watch their little brains absorb so much knowledge.

MC | 7:25 PM

Thank you for sharing this--I'd love to win one...something good...I made a pretty freaking delicious veggie chili tonight. It's the little things.

Stephanie | 7:39 PM

I got locked in the bathroom at work today...not the stall, but the actual bathroom. Some punk kid ripped the doorknob off the inside of the door.

The good thing: I got out, using nothing but my wits. At least I was somewhere I could pee if I needed to.

Aussiemum | 7:48 PM

Whoa, so in awe right now.
I had Dallas' Awsome and Thank You books shipped to Australia in hard copy about two years ago. I just loved the concept and the stories behind the books. Of course my daughter loves the books too, they've been her favourites pretty much since she was 18 mths old.
Thanks to this post I'm now going to join Dallas on Instagram and check out if I can get hold of the Magic book too. Happy days.

Meghan Elaine | 8:11 PM

Something good...I'm cuddled in bed with my husband and the kids are sleeping peacefully. That's good.

Mrs. Williamson | 8:50 PM

I am a teacher. I get to spend my days in the company of 7 and 8 year olds. They make me smile, make me laugh, and make my heart swell with love and pride. I've got the best job in the world. Now that's something good.

Amelia | 11:12 PM

Turns out 3.5 is the best age yet! I love who my little girl is becoming!

Brooke | 6:14 AM

My daughter got all S's on her kindergarten report card :)

Maggie | 8:13 AM

It's my husband's birthday today!

C H | 11:36 AM

As of last Friday, I now drive a mini van. And I embrace it.

TLR | 11:40 AM

I just had a laugh filled lunch with two fellow SAHMs that I haven't seen in forever, my son got a 100 on his spelling test and I finally thawed my kitchen water pipes ( -2 this morning in NY). Yippee!

Keri | 4:06 PM

I bought a plane ticket to San Francisco from Vermont to volunteer at a fundraising event which is happening next month. I can't wait! :)

Anonymous | 8:20 PM

Tomorrow is Friday and reading to my twin girls at the end of the day has to be one of the best part of parenthood. Also, they stay in their bed the whole night if we tell them to... they are looking forward to being 4 (in 6 months)

Margie | 9:38 PM

After being gone all week my hubby is coming home tonight! We missed him. Both good things, I think.

Amie Marie | 9:52 PM

I found the love of my life and am excited to see the husband and father he will be one day.