Scholastic Kids Press (Dav Pilkey & Marley Alburez)

Dav Pilkey Does Good

In August, I sat down with Dav Pilkey, the author and illustrator of the best-selling Captain Underpants and Dog Man series. He was about to begin his Do Good tour. He’s traveling the world to talk to readers about making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Pilkey was very open about how he struggled with ADHD and dyslexia as a child. That made it hard for him to read and focus in school. 

Marley Alburez: How did your childhood influence the characters you’ve created? 

Dav Pilkey: I felt like a bit of a misfit as a kid. I was always getting sent out in the hallway. I felt very alone sometimes. That influenced my characters. There is a theme of loneliness in a lot of them—they sometimes feel like misfits.

MA: Tell us about your latest title, Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls.

DP: Like the other Dog Man books, it focuses on humor and friendship. But there are also some more serious themes, like the importance of doing good. Not just being a good person but actually turning that into an action word and doing good as well.

Kids are really identifying with that—it’s what inspired the Do Good campaign.

Illustrations © Dav Pilkey. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS™ and DOG MAN™; Courtesy of Dav Pilkey (Dav Pilkey 4th grade)

Here’s Dav Pilkey in fourth grade—two years after he had created Dog Man and Captain Underpants! 

MA: Why is it important to read about characters who are caring and kind?

DP: Kids really love to read about kindness. Deep down inside, everybody wants to be kind and good.

MA: Would you rather be Dog Man or Captain Underpants? 

DP: (laughs) I would much rather be Dog Man because he’s always trying to do the right thing. He’s always making ridiculous mistakes, but usually they end up OK for him. I think that says a lot about me!

Illustration by Dav Pilkey

Note: The interview was edited and condensed by the editors of Scholastic News.

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