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‘Drag Queen Story Hour' puts unique spin on storytime, spreads message of inclusion

Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 21, 2018

One group is putting a unique twist on storytime, with the hopes of inspiring inclusion.

The Salami Sisters don’t usually perform during the day. With full hair, makeup and dresses, the two started reading to children about six months ago at libraries.

The stories read have themes about love, compassion and inclusion.

The program is called Drag Queen Story Hour.

Jonathan Hamilt brought the program to New York from San Francisco, and it has spread across the country.

“It's one of the most attended story hours of our libraries,” says Hamilt. “Every time we go to a branch, librarians are like, ‘Wow! This has exceeded the number of any other program that we've had.’”

As you might expect, Hamilt says the children come with questions, asking about their hair and real name.

Some questions are more challenging than others.

“Are you a boy or are you a girl? Why do you have a man's voice or why do you wear a dress?” says Hamilt of the questions the children ask.

Hamilt says every answer and every story furthers their mission to instill tolerance and acceptance of everyone, and it's a message the parents are embracing.

“I think it's very important to have diversity in kids programming, especially since a lot of drag shows aren't super kid-friendly,” says parent Maggie Beaumont.

“Everybody accepts diversity, and I want my kid to experience it,” says another parent, Tomoko Shiina. “But at the same time, I'm also empowered by the atmosphere, as a parent and as a woman, as a person.”

The Drag Queen Story Hour is not only a new perspective of storytime, but for many, it’s creating a new perspective of the world beyond it.