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

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks at the Alaska Democratic Party’s state convention on May 18 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peltola among few Democrats to vote for annual defense bill loaded with GOP ‘culture war’ amendments

Alaska congresswoman expresses confidence “poison pills” will be removed from final legislation.

A celebratory sign stands outside Goldbelt Inc.’s new building during the Alaska Native Regional Corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Jan. 4. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Medical company sues Goldbelt for at least $30M in contract dispute involving COVID-19 vaccine needles

Company says it was stuck with massive stock of useless needles due to improper specs from Goldbelt.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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

A yearling black bear waits for its mother to return. Most likely she won’t. This time of year juvenile bears are separated, sometimes forcibly, by their mothers as families break up during mating season. (Photo courtesy K. McGuire)
Bearing witness: Young bears get the boot from mom

With mating season for adults underway, juveniles seek out easy food sources in neighborhoods.

A chart shows COVID-19 pathogen levels at the Mendenhall wastewater treatment plant during the past three months. (Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Wastewater Surveillance System)
Juneau seeing another increase in COVID-19 cases, but a scarcity of self-test kits

SEARHC, Juneau Drug have limited kits; other locations expect more by Saturday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters during a news conference Feb. 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy picks second ex-talk radio host for lucrative fish job after first rejected

Rick Green will serve at least through Legislature’s next confirmation votes in the spring of 2025.

A used gondola being installed at Eaglecrest Ski Area may not begin operating until 2027, according to Goldbelt Inc. President and CEO McHugh Pierre, whose company is providing $10 million for installation costs. (Eaglecrest Ski Area photo)
Eaglecrest Ski Area gondola may not open until 2027 due to CBJ delays, Goldbelt CEO says

Agreement with city allows Goldbelt to nix $10M deal if gondola doesn’t open by May 31, 2028.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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

Most Read