We spoke to world famous children’s author, illustrator and philanthropist Dallas Clayton, whose career took off with the highly successful An Awesome Book. He’s now excited to be visiting London for his collaboration with GEOX and the release of his new children’s book titled ‘Gerald’s Missing Shoe’.
Welcome to London! How are you finding it?
This is my fourth time in London and I absolutely love it! Yesterday I went on some adventures just wondering around the city, through parks, looking at the trees and getting inspiration. It was like being a kid again!
What made you want to become a children’s book author?
I never pictured myself doing this as a career. I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do – and right I shouldn’t. A big component of what I do is talking with children about their dreams and what they want to do – but if they don’t know, that’s ok! It’ll come to you. That’s the universal message I want to express through my books.
How did your career begin?
I wrote An Awesome Book for my son about the idea of having fantastic dreams and chasing them, no matter what anyone says. I thought that was a really important lesson for him. I ended up putting it online and it became pretty popular! In 2012 I collaborated with Google and they translated it into over 20 languages all over the world. I then wrote a couple more books and the rest is history.
What do you love about your work?
In kid’s book world, there’s this beautiful thing called timelessness. Children’s books are recycled and become more loved each year. Because of that, I’m able to get new and exciting opportunities all the time, like translating the book into more languages, doing collaborations or even making films. It’s a slow organic way to make art.
Who were you inspired by?
In the States, it’s pretty impossible not to be inspired by Dr Seuss as he is huge over there. I love him, Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein: thematically, they approach things in a really beautiful way and I’ve always tried to create things with their ideology in mind.
How did the Geox collaboration come about?
When we first started talking, I did some research to find out what Geox was all about and it turned out that our ideologies were really well aligned. They focus on the importance of children’s wellbeing, education and inspiration. They said they wanted to let kids’ imagination breathe, and I said, ‘That’s exactly what I do!’
What’s the book about?
It’s called ‘Gerald’s Missing Shoe’ and it’s about a kid whose shoe comes to life. Geox make shoes that can breathe and so I thought, ‘What if shoes could actually breathe and come to life?’ For a child, it’s a magical thought.
How can we get it?
A book is gifted with every purchase from the Geox Junior collection and you can download it as an app. It’s been translated into six different languages and will be available in Geox’s all over the world. That’s the fun of it – I want as many people to enjoy it as possible.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to have as many experiences as possible on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. I also want to put out around six new books next year and tour those books throughout 2017. I’m feeling so alive and inspired at the moment and just want to keep making more. Having a kid myself makes me want to keep creating as much as possible, for him and for the world.