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‘Diversity should be celebrated’: London drag queen leads children’s story time in Islington

London drag performer reads The Wheels on the Bus to children at Central Library

02 March, 2018 — By Biba Kang

Islington Mayor Una O’Halloran at the library with drag queen Cookie MonStar

A RENOWNED London drag queen who read to children in Islington said it is important to teach youngsters about diversity from an early age.

Cookie MonStar, who can usually be seen performing late-night shows at The Duck and Rice and Cellar Door, was this week found reading stories to Islington’s under-fives at Central Library in Highbury East.

Despite the recent criticism of “Drag Queen Story Time” – the nationwide initiative designed to encourage reading and to promote LGBT role models – Cookie firmly believes that the project is positive.

She said: “I was bullied as a child, which eventually led to an attempted suicide. If we can teach kids at an early age that people are different and that they are entitled to be who they are without judgement and fear, then where’s the harm in that?”

When asked about the negative press the initiative had received in newspapers from parents at a school in Bristol, Cookie said: “Why do we even give energy to that? I read some of it this morning, it put me in not-a-very-good frame of mind, and then I came here, and I thought, do you know what, that doesn’t matter, because what matters is all these people in the room.”

One mother at Tuesday’s event, Jessica Wooton, a 34-year-old from Essex Road, brought her baby along and thought that it was important that children “learn about diversity from a young age”.

She added: “We live in London. Diversity should be celebrated.”

Samantha Clarke, a 34-year-old mother-of-one who lives in Hornsey, was grateful to be able to expose her son to something new.

She said: “He loves books, he loves reading, and I thought this would be a completely different experience for him.”

Cookie read the children Rumble in the Jungle, The Wheels on the Bus, Five Little Ducks, and Batmouse. Each story was accompanied by singing and dancing as everyone got involved.

Cookie said: “Quite simply, it’s fun. It’s colourful.

“A lot of people have been pushing that it’s about gender, but never once does [a child] ask ‘are you a boy or a girl?’ It’s always the adults that make the problems. Children just want you to read them a story.”

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