Channing Tatum Talks Overcoming His 'Fear About Connecting' with Daughter and Being a Girl Dad

Channing Tatum is fully embracing his girl-dad status.

Speaking with Parents for the magazine's May issue amid the upcoming release of his first children's book The One and Only Sparkella — dedicated to his daughter Everly, 7½ — Tatum admits that he was scared, at first, of some of the challenges that came along with parenting a girl amid his split from Everly's mom, Jenna Dewan.

"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," says the actor, 40. "I didn't wear nail polish or know how to braid hair."

"But now," says Tatum, "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."

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Channing Tatum Dedicates First Children's Book to Daughter Everly: "You Are My Greatest Teacher"

"I want dads not to be afraid to go into their daughter's world and discover who they are," the Magic Mike star tells Parents.

"I paint my face, I wear tutus — rarely am I around the house without some sort of costume on," he also says.

Of his upcoming book, Tatum (who also co-directed and stars in Dog, out this month) says his children's story's whimsical protagonist represents his own little girl "on many levels."

"Just like Sparkella, Evie loves to play tricks, wear crazy outfits and be different from everyone," he explains. "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."

One especially pointy (er, poignant) example? "Once, I sat on the sofa, and her fairy wand stuck me in the butt," the father of one recalls.

Another big part of the way they bond is through a love of reading. As Tatum tells Parents, he and Everly typically take in "five books per night" when they're together, trading off who does the reading.

For Sparkella, he writes in the picture book's dedication, shared exclusively with PEOPLE back in August, "To Everly, the most brilliant magical being that I have ever known. You are my greatest teacher."

"My only wish is for more time in this life to play in all of the magical realms we have created," Tatum continues. "This is also for all Dads that might have a little girl … Wear whatever, dance however, and be as magical as you can. Because I promise they will return the love."

The One and Only Sparkella, out May 4, is available for preorder now on

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