Written by: Lil Miss Hot Mess
Illustrated by: Olga de Dios’
For ages: 2-6 years
Topics Covered: Rhyming, LGBTQ, Drag Queens, Self-Confidence, Own Voices.
This is a cute and simple book that takes the tune of the “wheels on the bus” and replaces the bus with a drag show! Parading through the streets of San Francisco, different drag queens are stomping their feet, applying blush, and prancing with blinging jewels as a mass of celebration and color.
All of the drag queen characters (some are named and on the beginning/end papers) encompass a variety of drag styles, so much personality is conveyed through the illustrations! I like this book in the way it celebrates the normalcy of something that a lot of people might view as abnormal-drag. The artistic expression and showmanship of queens is something to celebrate and we need to appreciate the creativity that goes into the show. Having a space where everyone is accepted for whatever they like to do is crucial for kids, and having books that specifically celebrate creativity and fashion assist in making that happen.
Drag Queen Story Hour is a fabulous non-profit where drag queens do just that-read stories! What’s not to love? A super fancy human reading to kids, I would have loved that as a child! Having queer and extravagant role models for kids to look up to lets them know that they’re not alone, and they’re not weird. Kids shouldn’t have to suppress who they are and what the like for fear of being bullied. Stories like this that are utterly fun to recite and celebratory aimed at young readers and listeners is wonderful, pure and simple. I personally love the art of drag and started going to shows as soon as I turned 18, and now I have friends that perform as well. Years ago, drag queens were only seen as part of the adult night life scene but things are changing for the better. Drag isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide, it can be for everyone. This story is definitely a high-kick in the right direction.
This book was kindly sent to us by Running Press Kids, but all opinions are our own!
Known for throwing extravaganzas like her “Bat Mitzvah x2” and roller skating parties, Lil Miss Hot Mess has appeared on world-class stages like SFMOMA, Stanford University, and Saturday Night Live, as well as legendary clubs like The Stud, Hard French, Bushwig, Queen Kong, and many more. She loves packing her performances full of political satire and technology to help illuminate what a hot mess the world can be.
Lil Miss Hot Mess was among the first Drag Queen Story Hour queens, and serves on its global leadership team. She has hosted readings at the ICA LA, RuPaul’s Drag Con, Vice Media, and numerous libraries and schools coast-to-coast. Her children’s book The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish is coming in May 2020!
Hot Mess was also a founding organizer of the #MyNameIs campaign that challenged Facebook’s “real names” policy. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, Wired, Salon, and them., and her work has been in media around the world.
When not twirling, Lil Miss Hot Mess is a visual artist, and is finishing a PhD in media studies at New York University.
Olga learnt illustration in the Escuela de Arte 10 in Madrid, Spain. Monstruo Rosa was her first picture book and it was awarded different prizes, such as the Golden Pinwheel Awards to the Best Children’s Book in the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair or the Triángulo Cultural Award by COGAM (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender & Bisexual Collective of Madrid) for having contributed to the teaching of equality. Olga lives in Lavapiés, Madrid, and combines her work as an illustrator with that of a graphic designer. Her work focuses on the promotion of illustration as a tool for education and the transmission of solidarity and other values.