Single Dad Channing Tatum On How Fathers Can Connect With Their Daughters Through Reading

While writing his new picture book, the Magic Mike star and single father says he embraced his daughter’s shimmery world and never looked back.

The One and Only Sparkella book
Photo: Courtesy of Feiwel & Friends

Channing Tatum's costume changes look quite a bit different these days as he coparents his 7-year-old daughter, Everly, with Jenna Dewan. "I paint my face, I wear tutus—rarely am I around the house without some sort of costume on," says the actor and director, who codirected the film Dog, out in February 2022. His bondathon with Everly is the inspiration for his first picture book, The One and Only Sparkella, out on May 4. Blingy outfits on dad and daughter will entice kids to read the book, but the larger lesson about finding the confidence to be oneself glitters too.

Is Everly Sparkella?

She is on many levels. Just like Sparkella, Evie loves to play tricks, wear crazy outfits, and be different from everyone. She's bold, beautiful, and magical in every way. We played a lot in her room over quarantine, and it helped flesh out the story. Even when I was home alone, I would find an item of hers that gave me an idea. Once, I sat on the sofa, and her fairy wand stuck me in the butt.

Do you have a message for fathers?

I want dads not to be afraid to go into their daughter's world and discover who they are. When I became a single father, I had a lot of fear about connecting to Everly in every way that a little girl might want. I didn't wear nail polish or know how to braid hair. But now I do both. I jumped with both feet into this magical world, and I was rewarded with a kind of love that I don't think I would have ever been able to have otherwise.

The Farmer and the Clown book and Red: A Crayon's Story book
Tatum’s bedtime go-tos. Courtesy of Beach Lane Books and Greenwillow Books

Do you read to Everly before bed?

We usually get to five books per night. I'll read one, and then she'll read one, and so forth. One of our long-standing favorites is the wordless picture book The Farmer and the Clown, by Marla Frazee. A baby clown falls off a circus train into a field and becomes unlikely friends with a farmer. You can make up whatever story you like; we sometimes get really wild with it! We've recently discovered Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall. The red crayon is blue. No one knows what's wrong with him and why he can't just be red the whole time until someone just accepts him and loves him for all of his blueness.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's May 2021 issue as "Channing Tatum Gets His Tutu On." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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