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Dallas Clayton: I grew up writing zines, poems, journals, short stories--printing them myself and selling them to people on the street. That's where I came from. I started doing that when I was 12 or 13, and like most things you start doing at that age, I didn't really have any scope of how big of a part of my life it would become; it was just something I did because it was fun. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18, and after a few months of going to shows, art galleries, markets, and performance spaces, people started offering me writing jobs. It was never something I'd planned on--it was just something that happened that way.
Question: How did you make the transition into children’s literature?
Dallas Clayton: I had never written a kids' book before. Honestly, I'd never written any sort of book before An Awesome Book! But after my son was born I knew I wanted to write something for him while he was still young enough to appreciate it. So I started to write a kids’ book a day and the first one I wrote was An Awesome Book! After I put it down on paper I stopped and thought, "Okay--what now?"
Question: People took to it?
Dallas Clayton: Well, the first pressing sold out in a week, then the second pressing sold out between when I ordered it and when it arrived, and then it just kept going. Pretty soon people were ordering so many copies that I basically had to change everything I was doing. I became a kids' author overnight. I was shipping orders out of my house to people all over the world and every day something even crazier than the day before would happen. Getting letters from people all over the world, requests to come speak, people wanting me to collaborate with them--just tons of unexpected magic.
Question: With all of the success of An Awesome Book!, what was your approach to following it up?
Dallas Clayton: Well, I just wanted to make something Awesome. People were so happy with the first one and that made me so happy, I knew making another book could only double that happiness. And after reading to so many kids and talking to them about their hopes and their dreams, I knew I wanted to talk about the idea of being thankful, like all of your aspirations are important but remember to be thankful for all of the small things we tend to take for granted. That's the idea behind An Awesome Book of Thanks!--dream big, but be thankful for what you have.
Question: What are you hoping people take away from your books?
Dallas Clayton: I guess the same things I would hope people would take away from anything worth appreciating. To offer them a little break in their day to contemplate all the amazing possibilities that life has to offer. For me, kids' books are just the same as any other art form--your goal shouldn't be to tell a story, your goal should be to communicate an idea to try and share a theme, to give someone a bigger experience. All the authors that I grew up reading, all the classics I think did that. All the major forces in the modern kids' world did that: Dr. Seuss, Walt Disney, Jim Henson--those are people whose ideas inspire me.
A Look Inside An Awesome Book of Thanks!
Click on the images below to see a few of our editors' favorite pages from An Awesome Book of Thanks!
Gratitude should be taught more. I love this wonderful children's book! It's great for grown-ups too!Published 11 days ago by Elizabeth H Olsen
Ordered this book to start a new family tradition this year with my toddler for Thanksgiving. It might be my favorite book we own! Read morePublished 14 days ago by Alyssa
My 11 yr old daughter bought this without my knowledge. She said she was compelled to buy it because it would help her with the words when she wanted to thank people for the... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Debbie Doitall MOM!
Great book to teach children about giving thanks! We chose this book for his parent/student project. Great read! Highly recommend!Published 1 month ago by quentin harris
This book has a wonderful message and at the same time is silly enough to make my seven year old boy crack up laughing! Beautiful :)Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Thank you thank you thank you for a great way to share gratitude with out kidsPublished 2 months ago by Katie Volk
I love this book! It is so meaningful and fun to read! I love to read and this is a great book! I recommend that everyone should read this wonderful book! 😊Published 3 months ago by Larry Cheeseman
Aaa-mazing. I bought this book after my 5-year old expressed his non-content/wanted improvement over with the things I did for him a few too many times. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J2