Desert Queen Book Event

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Program Type:

Author Talks

Age Group:

Preschool, Elementary
Please note you are looking at an event that has already happened.
Registration for this event is no longer open.
Allowed Ages: 3 and up

Program Description

Event Details

Family program - All ages welcome

Author and Kindergarten teacher Jyoti Rajan Gopal will read from her picture book DESERT QUEEN, a true story about Queen Harish, drag performer from Rajasthan. DESERT QUEEN has received 6 starred reviews and is a Kirkus Best Books of 2023, a Book List Best Books of 2023 and a Book Page Ten Best Picture Books of 2023, and a 2024 Stonewall Award Honor.

There will be a guided craft activity for all registered children - making ghungroos (anklets).

The reading will be followed by a dance performance by South Asian drag performer, Malai, and the opportunity to learn some dance moves from this talented creative.

Book signing to follow! 

Registration is online only and begins Sunday, February 11, at 8am.
Registration is required. Each child must be registered separately.

Registrations will not be accepted via email.


About Jyoti and Malai
Jyoti is a writer, teacher and mom. Growing up, she lived in Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, China and India. She finally settled in New York where she raised two daughters with her husband (who also grew up all over the world). As a child, she adored and devoured books but did not enjoy writing. At all. As a grown up, she is a forever kindergarten teacher and mom. She still adores and devours books. But now, she likes to write! Jyoti Rajan Gopal is also the author of : American Desi (illustrated by Supriya Kelkar, 2022),  My Paati's Saris (illustrated by art twink,. 2022 ), One Sweet Song (illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, 2024), Sister Day (illustrated by Fanny Liem, 2024) and Love is Here With You: A Lullaby of Blessings (illustrated by Nabi Ali, 2024)

Malai is an Indian drag queen who's name translates in Hindi to ‘cream'. She was born and raised in a small town in India; and is the brainchild of Badal- an architect who currently resides in the vibrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens. Malai is known for her unique brand of drag brunches that incapsulate ingenious lip-sync performances, stand-up acts and family-friendly story hour education young kids about Indian culture. She’s the resident queen at Sona- where she introduces a twist of Bollywood ‘naach-gaana’ (dancing and singing) to an Indian style brunch. Malai routinely hosts Bollywood dance nights with a south-Asian queer organization called Yuva. She's a Bollywood Drag Queen, and you will find her hosting the best queer Bollywood party in New York.  


Please note that photographs and/or footage may be taken throughout the event. These will be used by the library for marketing and publicity in our publications, on our website and in social media. Please consult with a librarian if you have any concerns or if you wish to be exempt from this activity.

Unattended Children

Parents and Caregivers should be attentive to children under their care at all times during the program. Children are not permitted to be left unsupervised by their caregiver unless over the age of 10.