Lesley Hewitt

Hepburn Librarians have, for the past few years, celebrated Chill Out with Rainbow Story Time at the Daylesford Library. Over the years Ms Di Alysis and Frock Hudson have read stories to children, sang songs, and participated in craft activities. The sort of thing that happens in libraries all the time. This year, for the first time in Daylesford there was negative feedback sent to our librarians before the event and a small protest on the day. The Rainbow Community Angels also attended, singing and dancing outside the library to support the event. I went along to support the event and hear the stories.

Frock Hudson at Rainbow Story Time. (Photo: Lesley Hewitt)

Frock Hudson read Frockadile, How to Be A Lion, My Shadow is Pink and A House for Everyone.

Frockadile by Jeane Willis is a story of Cliff the Crocodile who finds a discarded bag that includes pearls, a dress and high heels. He dresses up and when a group of hyenas laugh at him, he pretends it is for a show. Of course, no show exists but his friend, Freddy the frog, comes to his rescue and creates a show for Cliff. After the performance, Cliff’s Dad tells Cliff how proud he is of him and that he loves him. It’s a story of celebrating acceptance, of who you really are, of friends supporting each other and unconditional parental love.

How to Be A Lion by Ed Vere tells the story of Leonard the Lion who loves words and is a poet. Leonard’s friend is Madeleine the Duck. The other lions are OK about Leonard’s poetry but say that a real lion cannot be friends with a duck and that he should ‘chomp” his friend Madeleine to be a real lion. Leonard does not eat his friend. It’s a story of choosing kindness over bullying, showing children about being true to yourself and standing up to bullies, overcoming anger and provocation by empathy and inner courage.

My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart was written for Stuart’s son who wanted to wear Elsa’s dress (from Frozen) to school. Stuart who has worked at the Royal Children’s hospital understand the importance of all children, regardless of their diversity, seeing themselves represented in stories.

A House for Everyone by Jo Hurst is a story of Tom and his friends who work together at school to build a house. Each child has a different job to do, depending on their skills and each has a different way of expressing their gender. The message is ‘we’re all the same, all different and all friends”.

I worked in a hospital based sexual assault services and child protection services for most of my professional life. Like Stuart I know firsthand the importance of all children seeing themselves reflected in the stories they read and hear. We live in a community that prides itself on and values its inclusiveness and diversity. These values are important to stand up for.

You can listen to a podcast the Second Thursday Book Club review of Rainbow Story Time on the HCR SoundCloud at: https://soundcloud.com/hepburn-community-radio/lesleybookreview140324. There’s more on the podcast!  

Lesley Hewitt is a local resident who has a monthly book review with Max Primer on the second Thursday of every month on Hepburn Community Radio. Lesley is an elected Councillor for Birch Ward.