DRAG Queens are heading to Swindon next week to provide a fun and inclusive story time session for children.

In a first for the town, Bristol-based company Drag Queen Story Time are sending Sally Savage to read to children and capture their imaginations on Monday.

The group says the aim is to capture the imagination of children, get youngsters used to the diversity of people at an early age; teaching them about acceptance, and encouraging them to be open minded

The stories read to the children are a variety of conventional fairytales, feminist fairytales and gender-fluid novels aimed at young children, which aim to challenge negative views.

Founder of Drag Queen Story Telling Tom Canham from Bristol was inspired to set up the group after finding out about a similar scheme that runs in America last year.

He said: “I thought it was an amazing idea. It is quite similar to how you would expect a normal story time to go. There are normally three or four short stories all written for children covering a range of issues for example Rapunzel but she doesn’t want a boyfriend and cuts off all her hair and dyes it blue. In between short stories we have a sing along of nursery rhymes to keep them engaged. At the end of the session we do a meet and greet so parents and the kids can ask and questions they have and have a chat. “

Leon Flower, Lead Librarian at Swindon Borough Council, said: “Drag Queen Story Time is a brilliant initiative and we are proud to be able to welcome Sally to Swindon to meet the children.

“Swindon is a Learning Town and a National Literacy Trust Hub and the Council is committed to developing literacy skills and encouraging a love of reading in people of all ages, especially children.

“We hope the event will introduce people to the joy of shared storytelling and will promote acceptance, diversity and inclusion throughout the wider community.

“We are hugely excited and we’re sure that Sally will bring a touch of sparkle to the library.”

Phoenix Stewart, parade manager for Wiltshire and Swindon Pride, has praised the scheme.

He said: “We think it is amazing. We were really surprised to see it being advertised but it just shows how diverse Swindon, and how many different backgrounds and communities we have which is amazing.

“There are quite a lot of people going already it is quite popular which I am pleased about. It’s the first time Swindon has ever done anything like this.”

Drag Queen Story Time is being held at Central Library, Regent Circus on Monday, 2.30pm-3.30pm. Tickets are £4 per child and available from the Help Desk at Central Library, suitable for children 4-years-old and over.