Take Five with Dahlia Page and Lady Sabrina, hosts of virtual 'Drag Queen Story Time'

Amanda Collins Bernier
Baystateparent Magazine
Lady Sabrina and Dahlia Page

Since 2015, a nonprofit program has been bringing together a somewhat unlikely pairing: drag queens and kids. 

Drag Queen Story Hour, which originated in San Francisco, is just what it sounds like -- drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. According to the group, “DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”

Today, there are more than 35 local DQSH chapters throughout the country, including a Boston chapter that’s read to children at libraries in the Boston area. 

Two Worcester-based artists, Dahlia Page and Lady Sabrina, have brought their own version of story time with drag queens to an online audience. With kids and queens staying put due to the pandemic, the duo -- though not officially affiliated with DQSH -- is offering fun monthly story times via Facebook Live. We chatted with them before their scheduled in-person story time, this month at the Worcester Public Library. 

What inspired you to start a Drag Queen Story Time?

Drag Queen Story Time actually started locally at the Worcester Library a few years ago by two amazing artists, Poison Envy and Harley Queen. We’ll be reprising it library, but during the pandemic we also wanted to host something virtual. We brought it to Facebook Live in the spring. Our main goal is to be entertaining and have children leaving the experience looking forward to the next show.

What kind of books do you read and how do you select them?

The story time is filled with wonderful books supplied by Root and Press Café Bookstore in Worcester. We choose children's books that promote inclusivity and that teach lessons on kindness. During our first story time, for instance, we read “Julian is a Mermaid.” It’s a book about a boy who wants to be a mermaid that celebrates individual expression.

How have children reacted to your story time?

The reaction has been incredible and positive! We have received fan emails from Maine to Florida and everywhere in between.

This might be one of the only opportunities children in your audience get to interact with someone in drag. What’s important about that?

We would like kids to see it as normal and entertaining. It’s great to expose children to different cultures, ideas and lifestyles.

What are you hoping children – or their parents – take away from attending Drag Queen Story Time? 

Tolerance and acceptance is handed down. If the parents are inclusive and accepting the child will be more open to new ideas.