His daughter, Everly, 7, whom he shares with ex-wife Jenna Dewan, is his main inspiration for the child’s book he recently wrote — which is also jam packed with lessons for fellow girl dads out there.
“It wasn’t like I had this giant idea that I wanted to write a kids’ book,” shared in PEOPLE’S latest issue. “It was just something that I noticed in my daughter, watching her for the very first time become self-conscious.”
Tatum recalls a moment when Everly was nervous to wear something she loved for preschool. “She would wear a cape that, when you held your arms out, you [looked like] a slice of watermelon,” Tatum shared.
“And it was one of her favorites. But she didn’t want to wear it to school, and when I asked her why, she said, ‘I don’t want to get made fun of.’ So I wanted to make this little story about this girl who is very unique and really likes to shine.”
Tatum says the book was inspired by his own relationship with Everly.
“A lot [in the book] is stuff that Evie and I do. Like I do call her ‘Glitter Poop,’ ” he says. “I was really nervous when I became a single dad, and having to raise a little girl, not being able to have the resource of a woman there to be able to lean into how to relate to her as she grows up. I literally went to YouTube and learned how to braid hair.”
What Tatum discovered “was just to go into her world and connect with her in any way,” he adds. “If it’s wearing a tutu or painting your nails or wearing makeup — who cares? It just worked for me. I see dads sometimes, and . . . being a parent is hard. I wanted the book to be a little bit of a letter to them. Just play — you’ll be rewarded with love.”
Tatum also spoke on how the pandemic gave him more time to bond with Everly at his farm in Ojai, California.
“We were getting up, riding dirt bikes every day and playing outside,” he says. “It really just made me understand how incredibly blessed I am.”
And when it comes to her teen years, Tatum has high hopes it will go smoothly. “Evie is so strong-willed,” he adds. “Look, I had a crazy teen life, and she’s got me in there. But I hope I can be the dad and also the homie.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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