PARENTS praised the decision by Swindon’s Central Library to hold its first story session hosted by a drag queen.

Towering over six feet tall in thin stiletto heels and with the sharp cheekbones to match, Bristol drag queen Alyssa Van Delle’s tales were stories of acceptance.

A young bridesmaid serves as flower girl at her cousin’s lesbian wedding and penguins Roy and Silo pair up to raise chick Tango.

More than 40 children and 30 adults packed into the reading room at the central library, hopping up-and-down with glee as they listened to tales of love and friendship.

Mums backed the story session’s support for diversity.

Jennifer Bruce, 28, from east Swindon, said: “For me, that message that it’s okay to be different is very important. My friend’s son tried to take his own life because he thought it wasn’t okay to be gay.” Happily, the teen survived and is now happily married to a man. But mum Jennifer said she was clear with her daughter that you don’t have to be the model of a Disney princess to be happy.

Veronika Caleb, 40, from West Swindon, added: “It’s good to have the kids exposed to all sorts of people and the stories were really good.”

Jess Faulkner, 26, who came with baby daughter Felicity, said: “The stories made it for me. At the normal story times they don’t read stories like that.”

Jo Abrahams, 55, enjoyed the jokes that appealed to both children and adults alike: “The best bit was all the different levels to the humour. He managed to talk to the adults and the children.”

Performer Alyssa Van Delle has been working with national group Drag Queen Storytime UK for over a year, reading stories at libraries and festivals.

Dressed in a floor-length gown and wearing make-up that took an hour-and-a-half to apply in the library toilets, she said: “It’s satisfying, because you’re working with the kids, making them happy, looking down and seeing their faces.”

Many of the books read at the drag queen story times have been donated by LGBT authors who may otherwise struggle to find publishers: “The stories are all about inclusion, diversity and being different.”

Swindon children’s author Steve Anthony, who introduced the event, said: “Libraries are the beating hearts of our diverse communities. Events like this are inclusive, sending that positive message.” For more, visit: