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Story Time at the Local Library Now Features Glitter & Drag Queens

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As we’re nearing the end of summer (ugh – I hate myself for saying that), I feel like most parents have picked up wet bathing suits and towels off the floor 8,652 times, made hundreds of lunches and snacks, played UNO more than two dozen times and have grown tired of telling their bored kids that having nothing to do is good for them.

Summer is long.

And while it truly is one of my most favourite times of year, by this point in the summer, I tend to get bored of the same old activities and need a few new things to keep busy with, because we’ve done a lot. And I can only make so many pine cone-googly-eye crafts.

So that’s how I found myself flipping through my local library’s guide to summer and fall programming – and also how I came across something interesting.

In Burlington, Ontario, the public library is offering up a program called “Read with Queens”. And as their description says, the program is intended to help you “celebrate Culture Days with a story time led by local drag queens”.

Yes, my little local library is just that awesome.

After looking into the program a little further, I discovered that storytelling with Drag Queens is a phenomenon that originated in the U.S in 2015 and has spread to Canada recently. According to metronews.ca, the concept “gained popularity and acclaim in San Francisco and New York City public libraries’ Drag Queen Story Hour, and has since appeared in other cities including Toronto.”

And now – Burlington, Ontario.

When I think of the things I want my kids to learn at their young, blank-slate-esque age, I feel like diversity, acceptance and understanding is among the top. Yes, I want them to be good at school and learn the importance of hard work and excel at math and science and reading.

But I also want them to be good people who care about humanity. Who look at another human being and accept them for who they are. And I also want them to know that it’s perfectly okay to express yourself and your individuality.

The original Drag Queen readings apparently came out of a need for guest readers and visitors in under-funded schools – where kids had no access to tablets or even the internet. Since then, it’s grown into a program that helps children understand diversity and opens kids’ eyes to what being different is all about.

Unfortunately, because sometimes people really suck, one Drag Queen’s plan to read to children in North Carolina ended in complaints, backlash and even a conservative citizen’s group comparing Drag Queens to “the mentally ill”, according to Huffington Post Canada.

My hope is that nothing even remotely close to that happens in Burlington. Because, as the library guide’s description states, during the program kids can experience stories that explore diversity and inclusion, as well as song performances. Which sounds pretty awesome to me.

But, by far, the best part is “lots of GLITTER!”

Happening now at Burlington Public Library.

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