July 1, 2013

Bay Area bookstores hosts “Kid Pride” drag queen storytime


Drag performer Mutha Chucka hosted a children’s books reading at Books, Inc. in San Francisco.

Gearing up for San Francisco’s Pride weekend, independent bookstore Books, Inc. hosted an event the previous Saturday to broaden local kids’ horizons as well as offer them a fun storytime. Matthew S. Bajko writes for the Bay Area Reporter that the store’s Castro location invited drag queen Mutha Chucka to host a reading of children’s books that they called “Kid Pride,” per Shelf Awareness.

The idea for the event came from Maggie Tokuda-Hall, director of the Books, Inc. children’s department, and Caitlin Ayer, who oversees the stores’ school programming. Tokuda-Hall told Bajko that it took some time for the idea to catch on, and that at Book Expo America last month, she “had to spend a lot of time to explain it to people,” not least because some people thought it was a reading for drag queens. Tokuda-Hall and Ayer said they would happily hold that kind of event as well, if there’s interest from the community.

Wearing a rainbow wig, dress, and wings, Mutha Chucka read from two kids’ books chosen by the store staff—That Is Not a Good Idea and A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems—and a third of her own choosing, And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. The latter was the only gay-themed book of the day; it tells the story of two male penguins trying to hatch a rock until zookeepers give them a real egg to replace it.

The reading was a big success in the end. Tokuda-Hall said she was pleased with the turnout, and that she “was nervous no one would show. The ratio of kids to grown-ups was really strong. It was a true children’s event.” The kids in attendance were similarly pleased: twelve-year-old Jessica Baggot gave Mutha two thumbs up, and ten-year-old Mason Kreis, described as a “budding drag queen,” said, “He did wonderful.” Mutha Chucka said she would “absolutely” come back for a repeat performance if asked, telling Bajko that children love the glamour of a drag queen. “To them I am a fairy godmother,” she said, “they love the wigs, the nails, the jewels.”


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.