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Take Your Kids to Drag Queen Story Time


One of Sparkle Leigh’s favorite stories to read during Drag Queen Story Hour is The Story of Ferdinand. Ferdinand, published in 1936, tells the story of a Spanish bull who’s supposed to be a manly bullfighter, but all he wants to do is go sit in the flowers and take in the beauty.

“It’s a really old story,” says Dan Davidson, who created and performs as Sparkle Leigh, “but this is a queer story.”

Davidson hosts StoryTime with Sparkle, a drag queen story hour based in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the events, which last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, he reads stories that highlight bravery, kindness, empathy and individuality, as well as books that discuss LGBTQ issues in an age-appropriate way. Some favorites include:

And Drag Queen Story Hour isn’t just happening with Sparkle Leigh in Cincinnati—the program has events scheduled in dozens of cities in the U.S. and other countries, from Arizona to Westchester County, New York, and from Germany to Sweden.

The take-aways

Jenni Harlow, of Springboro, Ohio, took her twins to a recent StoryTime with Sparkle at Heritage Universalist Church in Cincinnati. It was about an hour’s drive from home, but she wanted her kids—twins Alix and Max, 7, and William, 3—to see and meet Sparkle.

“My kids had a blast,” Harlow says. “The personality and aura of a drag queen is magnetic. They’re a joy to be around. It’s like a princess or celebrity in real life.”

After StoryTime with Sparkle, Harlow talked with her kids about how no one can tell us who we can be.

“We talked about being whoever you want to be that day, whether a man or a woman,” she says. “We also talked about pronouns and how the pronouns fit the person who they are that day. My daughter got it right away. My son (Max) took a bit more time to understand.”

Davidson first saw Sparkle’s effect on kids while filming a music video for a friend’s band. A group of young girls were also on set for the video, and they were drawn to her silver glitter heels, wild glasses, colorful cape, rainbow wig and crown.

“These little girls, it was like they swarmed me,” Davidson says. “They were just like, ‘Oh, my god, you look so pretty. You look so amazing. Is your hair made out of cotton candy?’ They wanted to talk about everything. They thought it was so fun.”

Find a story hour near you

Drag Queen Story Hour’s website is the best place to find upcoming events near you. The readings are often held in local libraries, and the American Library Association supports it so strongly that it has created its own landing page for the events. You can also check with affirming churches in your area for more options.

“(Drag story time is about) creating a fun and nurturing environment where kids can actively see the importance of caring and learning about people who are different rather than being scared or bullying people who are different,” Davidson says.

Drag story time in general is typically geared toward kids from pre-k to about 8 years old, Davidson says, but queer teens enjoy it, as well.


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