Make Learning Fun Parent Resources

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton

An Awesome Book for Kids by Dallas Clayton

Dallas Clayton urges children (and adults!) to dream big through his debut picture book, An Awesome Book. I bought a copy to give Maia for her birthday later in the month and can’t wait to read it with her. It’s great! 

JEAN:  Dallas, your book is truly awesome! It is filled with thought-provoking artwork and an inspiring message. What led you to create it? I want to know what little seed of an idea blossomed into this amazing children’s book!

DALLAS:  Well I suppose the idea behind An Awesome Book is pretty simple. I wrote it for my son, who was five at the time and was always coming to me telling me about these amazing magical dreams he would have. Fantastical kid ideas about wizards and riding dinosaurs through endless space, things like that… Meanwhile when I talked to most of the adults I knew about the dreams they had, their hopes and aspirations they would talk about things that were very material – owning a dinette set, or paying off their car… So I wrote this book to speak to that idea, to challenge kids and adults as well to try and make their everyday hopes and aspirations a little more magical. To inspire people to dream big.

Dallas Clayton An Awesome Book

JEAN:  Will you tell us a bit about your own background? Did you do any writing or art prior to creating this book?

DALLAS:  I live in LA. I’ve lived here for about ten years, I moved here just after high school. I grew up writing zines, short stories, poems, and selling them to people on the street. When I first moved to LA I realized there were enough events here, shows, galleries, markets, that I could go out every night and sell writing to people on the street and make enough money to pay rent. I did that for a few years and eventually people
started hiring me to do writing jobs.

I’d been writing pretty steadily in the work for hire world up until a little over a year ago when I decided to write An Awesome Book. I wanted to try and
write something for my son while he was still young enough to appreciate it so I decided to write a kids book a day.

This was the first one I came up with and I kinda just went with it. As for the art I’d never drawn anything before this book, nothing of substance anyway, so that was the real challenge of it. Drawing takes forever!


JEAN:  Your first printing sold out almost instantaneously, your subsequent printings sold quickly as well, and now you’re on your 5th printing. Wow! It seems that your message is so very appreciated and needed. Why do you think this is so?

DALLAS:  Actually I think I’m on my 10th or 11th printing at this point…hahaha. I’ve lost count. I guess I tried to approach writing the story from a universal perspective. I think all the best art comes from a thematic place, rather than being strictly a story or strictly a visual piece the most amazing things usually help speak to something larger, answer a bigger question.

For me reading books to my son I found that so many of the classics, the real heavy hitters, did that so I knew I wanted to try and play in that world. I feel like regardless of your age, race, religion, social status, where you are in the world you can relate to the idea of dreaming, of wanting to make the world better so I felt like that was a natural place to start.

An Awesome Book - Child holding book

JEAN:  I understand that you are giving away a copy of An Awesome Book for every book you sell – putting the free copies directly in the hands of children at places like hospitals and schools. What a great way to give back! And considering the message of your book, it makes me a little teary eyed to think of the lives you could be affecting. Can you talk about your decision to do this?

DALLAS:  Yes well the short answer can be seen in this video : 


But to expound a bit on that – I always felt like the models that existed for sharing books with kids were fairly limited. I know when an author would come read at my sons school, my son would come home with this pamphlet that said “please send a check for x amount if you want to buy this book, etc” I just always pictured myself as the kid in the classroom who wouldn’t have brought the check in, the only one who didn’t get the book. For me since I didn’t go through a big publisher there’s no red tape there’s no larger confusing math problem to solve to try and get as much money as possible out of the books. I can base my model simply on sharing, and since I am small enough and have enough lateral movement the Awesome World Foundation can give away a book for every one I sell. Touring around and reading to kids is pretty much the best thing ever, being able to give them a book that I wrote and talk to them about their hopes and dreams…well that’s pretty unbeatable.


JEAN:  You mentioned that you and your six-year-old son painted a mural together on your kitchen wall in preparation for a collaborative mural that you painted. Can you talk about the process of creating art side-by-side with your son?

DALLAS:  Well as most parents know, the whole process is about growing and changing and exploring who you are as you try to teach someone else who they can become. So many of the things I’m doing in my life right
now, with the book, and art, and touring, and making things are all things I’ve never really done before – at least not to the level which I am doing them now. So the way I see it, including my son in this process puts him at the ground floor of learning these things with me. It’s rare as a parent that you get to stand with your child and say “I’ve never done this before either, but it looks pretty amazing, you want to try and figure this out together.” That’s a pretty special feeling. Being able to take him on tour with me, to go to other schools and read to kids, to give away books with me, I think it’s a beautiful time to share. Also he’s my favorite person in the whole world so that’s a pretty amazing bonus.


JEAN:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

DALLAS:  Thank you so much for the interview, and to your readers please help spread the word! All the support I’ve had so far is tremendous, and all of it is because of amazing people going out of their way to share. 

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton

JEAN:  Thanks for being so awesome, Dallas! And thanks for creating such an inspiring book for our next generation of thinkers, creators, dreamers, leaders, and parents!

Would you like to buy a copy of An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton?

Or win one?

An Awesome Book Giveaway

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton

Readers who leave a comment by
Tuesday, August 10
th will be entered into a random drawing for a
copy of
An Awesome Book.

The random number generator chose #66, so Amy wins the book!

Awesome indeed! I can’t wait to share it with my 4 year old, and what a great gift for our young friends! Thank you Dallas!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.


  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I love this comment made by Dallas….”the whole process is about growing and changing and exploring who you are as you try to teach someone else who they can become.” SOOOOO true! I can’t wait to read this book and share it with my daughter Zoë.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Oh I have been wanting a copy of this book and just keep forgetting about it. It is amazing and WOW! he is amazing..

  • Reply
    Moxy Jane
    August 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes…thank you for loving life and people so much! I’m 38 years old and don’t ever want to stop dreaming big…and sharing this with my three daughters makes that dream just grow bigger and better! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Sweet (in the awesome sense)! I’m always jotting notes down about the things that my kids say and use in their imaginary play. It really is awesome that Dallas put it all together in a book! Way to go!

  • Reply
    Laura D
    August 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I’m very intrigued to see this book. It sounds like one of those books that is a “keeper” – that you keep in your library for when your kids grow up and have kids of their own.

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    August 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Looking forward to reading this book with my daughter. I want to share it with preschool I work at and my husband is going to look into adding it the library collection at his library.

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    August 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Looks great. Thanks for letting us know about children book authors.

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    August 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Looks like a neat book for young children.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    oh, yes, please!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve been wanting to get this book!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    This book sounds awesome. I’d love a copy for my kids (and me)!!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Wow. That is an absolutely amazing book. The little man and I just looked at the online version, and we love it! It would be great to have a copy.

  • Reply
    sherri/the claw
    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I love, love, LOVE this book. Don’t enter me, as we already own it – and don’t want to take someone else’s chance at winning but just wanted to chime in!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    My greatest mantra is “I am trusting myself and following my dreams.” Thank you so much for this fantastic interview and introducing me to An Awesome Book. I just ordered two copies. One for my kindergartners and one for a friend. So excited!

  • Reply
    Barbara Zaborowski
    August 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    As if the book weren’t great enough, he mentions unicorns. That’s the name of the class I teach: the Unicorn Class. Love it!

  • Reply
    Amy Fields
    August 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Amazing!!! You have found another amazing item=). You are killing my wallet! Would love to win it!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    What a beautiful book! I love it! Thanks for introducing it to me!

  • Reply
    Sasha Wooddell
    August 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I would love a copy of this wonderful book to read to my students. It sends a very important message! Amazing! Awesome find!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I would love to get this book for my kids!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    what an amazing book! thanks for telling us about it.

  • Reply
    Amy A.
    August 7, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Such a beautiful book! Thanks for the opportunity to win:-)

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 12:56 am

    I looked at the book online and you are right, I want it!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Very cool! Thanks for letting us know about the book and the author!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Can’t wait to read this book!!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 7:14 am


  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for telling about books I would otherwise never have found! Seems to be a real great book!
    Greetings from Germany!
    Janka :)

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    i just read this online with my kids and we all LOVE it!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

    i have wanted to check this awesome book out for a while! ;)

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Beautiful book! I just finished reading it online, and you were right about your warning. :)
    Thank you Dallas and Jean!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

    This is such a wonderful book! I’d love to share it with my girls!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

    It is an awesome book! I love that his Foundation is giving away a book for everyone sold to children in need. If we don’t win one :), we’ll definitely be purchasing one… or two or three!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 10:28 am

    This book sounds great… it seems like it would be a great bouncing-off point for an art unit, inside or outside the classroom! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    love the artwork! and we’d love to add that book to our little library! [email protected]

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    This book looks great!
    So true that all too often, people try to keep things so real world that the imagination takes a back seat to practicality.
    Read the book to my sons…my younger one who has a wild imagination loved it…my older one, who is more into science and nature liked it and added that it gave him “alot to think about…”
    So, yes please, we would love to enter to win this lovely book!
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I am going to check this out online, would love to win it and will be looking for it if we don’t win!

  • Reply
    Love and Lollipops
    August 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I read the book online…fantastic…very cool!! Would be amazing to have a real life copy!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    awesome! the way he collaborates with his son..distributes the books to kids..and the artwork..awesome.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    i would have CONSUMED this book as a child! can’t wait to buy a copy of my own…or win one :) thanks for this fantastic give-away!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    sign me up!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, Jean – what an ‘awesome’ book! And the illustrations – absolutely superb! I need to figure out a way to order it from here in India.. :)
    I loved reading his interview. He sounds like such a warm, genuine, thoughtful, humble person.
    I have always given wings to my dreams and try to live them every single day. I encourage Pari’s dreams in every possible way. This book is a must-have. In the world full of logical, grown-up adult minds, I must have this book to keep myself reminding that it’s okay that I am less logical, more heart-driven, less ‘sensible’ more – mad! haha…
    Thanks a ton dear for sharing this writer/artist and his book…

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful book.

  • Reply
    Carrie at Rhubarb Sky
    August 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Yay for the Awesome Book!!!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    What a neat idea for a book. I love that he painted a mural with his son!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Great concept and cool pictures!

  • Reply
    Kay Guest
    August 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks so much for writing about this book. It would be exciting to win it.

  • Reply
    Pablo Varela
    August 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I love the artwork and the text. I’m even considering trying to translate it into spanish so my daughter can understand it.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    You’re right, don’t click on the tab or you’ll want to buy it! I will give it a shot in your give away but if I don’t win, this is a must have! I have a daughter who this will be a perfect gift for!
    Thanks again for another great interview! This is one of my very favorite sites!

  • Reply
    Leah Simmers
    August 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    looks cute and title alone rocks

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    super cool. super inspiring. truly awesome!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm


  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    You will receive an award on my blog tomorrow. I am loving your blog!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I love it! Thanks for introducing me to this. I hope our library gets a copy soon.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    It is so true that the more you give, the more you gain… By putting the entire book online, it has just whet my appetite even more and I cant wait to have my own copy!

  • Reply
    Sara Beckwith
    August 7, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I really think this would be a great book to read to my boys!!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Ah-h-h-h, a fresh invitation to imagine without boundaries. I’d love to read it to my grandkids and my kiddos at school.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    you were so right about the “warning” you gave…I totally want this book for my girls now!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    What fun me and my 3 bookworms could have with this book. Great job!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Wow! This is giving me an itch to write/illustrate a book. I’d love to have a copy for inspiration.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I loved reading this interview! Thanks for exposing me to a new gem! I’m off to check out the book on-line now… (and also inspired to make some books of all sorts!!!)

  • Reply
    Lindsay R
    August 8, 2010 at 12:30 am

    amazing…such an inspiring story! love that a book is given for each one sold…so wonderful. can’t wait to check out this book!!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I would love to win. Thanks for the give-away!

  • Reply
    aimee c.
    August 8, 2010 at 2:53 am

    we’ve read this book online & it’s magical! thanks for the chance. :)

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 3:30 am

    I just read the book online and ooo, I’d love a copy!The best thing about children is how free they are. I love my kids because they remind me of the importance of play, no matter what your age.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Oh, my goodness! I just read the interview and I’m off to read the online version. What a cool guy! I’m inspired!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I have an awesome child who could use an awesome book.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Awesome indeed! I can’t wait to share it with my 4 year old, and what a great gift for our young friends! Thank you Dallas!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I would love to win this to put into my classroom library for my students to enjoy.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Love it! Thank you as always for sharing your great finds with us! : )

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Awesome book and great interview! I would love a copy of it!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    What a treasure of a book – my students at our art magnet school need to see this!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    That sounds awesome! Count me in.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I love this message and can’t wait to share this book wih my preschool class. There is a children’s muscian, Roger Day who has a CD out called Dream Big with a song by the same title. He also has a son who goes on tour with him and shares in his gift. I can’t wait to use them both together in my classroom. I hope that these talented artists can one day meet each other!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    who wouldn’t want to win…thanks for the chance

  • Reply
    Julie (ART IN HAND)
    August 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Just shared this on FB. Hadn’t heard of this book/author before, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. It would be a great addition to my repertoire for my preschool groups! Can’t wait to order it (or win it, if I’m lucky enough).

  • Reply
    Terra Heck
    August 9, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Please count me in to win what seems to be an interesting book. Thanks.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Umm.. yes please… can’t believe he hadn’t done any drawing before this book!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I read the whole book to my child on line, 4.5 years old. She loved it very much. A very inspiring book. We lose so much when we grow up!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    we have been trying to dream big…this would be great to win. thank you.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Very Awesome!!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

    very inspiring! looks like another great book for lil girl (and me!!)

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for the book review, I am always thankful for new recommendations!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Wow, this book really looks AWESOME! :)

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    awesome interview for the awesome book. this is my awesome comment.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful interview. Love to find out about new things – books – blogs.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t know if you get a chance to read all these comments, but, if you do….
    Thank you.
    I have bought so many of the books you have listed here.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I ordered this book when I was on tour and had it sent to my parents’ house. By the time I got home, my parents had already lost it. I might have to order another one!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    bought the book, you were right, one read and you want to buy it, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I love Dallas so much for writing this. The book is amazing and has definitely inspired me to keep dreaming big.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Such an awesome book, one that I’ve read online to my niece a few times while babysitting. This was a great interview as well, Dallas is inspirational.

  • Reply
    Heather Johnston
    August 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    We dream big and Dallas has trailed a path to pass on to all!
    I heart Dallas and the awesomeness he has instilled in us!

  • Reply
    Carolina Berta
    August 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I would love to have a copy. thank you for the opportunity!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Great interview! I LOVE this book, found it so inspiring.
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Reply
    Maleah Johnston
    August 10, 2010 at 10:36 am


  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    You are SO right … I now want to own a copy after reading it online. Thanks for the inspiration, as always. You help motherhood be more colorful for all of us, Jean. Would love to win this book but I never win anything so I”m just happy to know about it.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

    sounds like a great book! if we do not win, we will end up buying!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

    This book will definitely invoke a sense of awe!!!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Wonderful interview. I’m going to go check out this book right now!

  • Reply
    jill c
    August 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

    what a great book!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

    love the message in this book! would love to win it!!!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Dallas’ story in and of itself is truly inspiring! I love the fact that the idea for this book was completely inspired by his son and that he’s sharing this journey with him. I look forward to reading this book to my son, Jack and sharing our dreams together.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

    What a great book. So much inspirations I would love to win this.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:27 am

    What a treasure! Any kid/parent collaboration is truly special!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Looks like a great book! I’d love a copy!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:44 am

    sounds like a wonderful book!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    what a great book – would love to share this with my kids, our moms club’s storytime & within the next year or two my classroom (which I’m gearing back up for the return to work..)

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    That is awesome! We’d love to win.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Very cute.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’ve never seen the book–thanks for the introduction!

  • Reply
    Jane Maritz
    August 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Looks like a great book to share with my daughter!
    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    With my first grandchild on the way…this book would be the perfect gift!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    You are right. Even after reading the entire book online, I am still planning to purchase one or more copies. I can think of so many people who would love this book!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art author
    August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Loved reading the book online. And how true how true, to have dreams and imaginings.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Teared up thinking of how blessed I am to share and grow in my children’s discovery of art

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I can’t wait to get this book for my classroom and read it to my little students.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Oh my. It has been a long time since a book made me cry. Thank you Dallas for this most important reminder.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I can’t wait to go check out this book…it really does sound Awesome. I love that he is giving a book away for everyone purchased…really inspiring. Thanks for the contest.

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