Drag queen Gigi Monroe performs an opening song during a Drag Storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library on Saturday, Aug. 5. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Drag queen Gigi Monroe performs an opening song during a Drag Storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library on Saturday, Aug. 5. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Drag Storytime is just another Saturday afternoon event for children at Juneau’s library

Books, songs, selfies flourish among kids and performers

It was just another Saturday afternoon children’s storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library, even if in plenty of communities other than Juneau the unremarkable joviality of such an event would have been very big news indeed.

Six Drag Storytime presenters, one of them 11 years old, sang and read books such as “And Tango Makes Three” and “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” to about 25 children and parents.

Evan Handsome, a Juneau Drag performer, shares noisemakers with kids during a Drag Storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library Saturday, Aug. 5. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Evan Handsome, a Juneau Drag performer, shares noisemakers with kids during a Drag Storytime at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library Saturday, Aug. 5. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The story tellers shared a handful of messages about acceptance such as when drag performer Evan Handsome near the end of a story asked the audience members how many people like ice cream.

“We can have differences from each other, but I think we can agree that dairy products are all just wonderful,” the performer said.

The children in the audience laughed at the stage antics during the readings, danced with the presenters in a music bash toward the end, and got their faces painted and asked to take selfies with the storytellers during a gathering outside afterward.

“I think people are starting to be a little more adaptable and understanding of the concept of drag storytime,” said Christina Lee, a member of Juneau Drag who didn’t participate in Saturday’s readings, but brought her daughter Azalea, 5, to the event. “I believe there’s good purpose and intention for what the drag queens do.”

A collection of books such as “And Tango Makes Three,” which are the targets of bans in many states, await on a shelf at the Mendenhall Public Library during a Drag Storytime on Saturday as performer Lituya Hart Monroe (right) enters the room and greets children. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A collection of books such as “And Tango Makes Three,” which are the targets of bans in many states, await on a shelf at the Mendenhall Public Library during a Drag Storytime on Saturday as performer Lituya Hart Monroe (right) enters the room and greets children. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sharply different opinions are getting national notice elsewhere, as activist groups and politicians are targeting drag performers at libraries and elsewhere as inappropriate for children. Such objections were raised in Haines about a Juneau Drag performance at the Southeast Alaska State Fair the weekend before the library event, although ultimately an all-ages crowd of hundreds attended the two-hour show.

Some of those at Saturday’s storytime, such as five-month-old Fern Adams, were too young to understand any of the controversies involving drag performers, but her mother, Holly, said “she really to really love the music, dancing and colors,” and hopes coming back to such storytimes as her daughter grows older will help develop bonds between them.

“I think that events like this just tell her that I am going to love her no matter who she chooses to be,” she said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Lacey Davis, a librarian at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library, paints the face of Azalea Lee, 5, at the end of a Drag Storytime on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Lacey Davis, a librarian at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library, paints the face of Azalea Lee, 5, at the end of a Drag Storytime on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rep. Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 143 on Friday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House approves relaxed environmental rules for ‘advanced recycling’

Applies to facilities using high heat or chemicals to turn plastic garbage into raw materials.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Meetings to comment on Assembly’s proposed $9.6M of help to school district scheduled next two Mondays

Plan includes $4.1 million no-interest loan, picking up “shared costs” this year and next.

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
School district leaders approve putting grades 9-12 at JDHS, 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS

Elementary schools will be K-6; Marie Drake, Floyd Dryden to close this fall if plan gets final OK.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives celebrate the passage of a sweeping education bill on Thursday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes $680 BSA increase, with other education provisions

Bill now returns to Senate, which must pass it unchanged before it can head to the governor’s desk.

Most Read