Nina West is ready to read to the children.
RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 Miss Congeniality winner has released a new children's book, The You Kind of Kind, and it has been blessed by none other than the queen of country music, Dolly Parton.
"Well, to quote some lines in a song I wrote, I always say: whatever you are, be that. Whatever you do, do that. Anything else is just an act," Parton said in a statement. "Whoever you are, be that, be that. Whatever you are, be that. Nina West’s The You Kind of Kind teaches the same lesson—just be yourself!"
The "Backwoods Barbie" singer knows a thing or two about good books. She created her hugely successful Imagination Library book program for kids, and co-authored the bestselling novel, Run, Rose, Run with James Patterson, which is being adapted into a movie. This isn't the first time the two queens have worked together. Back in 2020, Parton and West collaborated on "Kindness is Queen," a merch collection benefiting LGBTQ youth and children's literacy.
The You Kind of Kind tells the story of little Nina "who embarks on a boisterous day of exploration, a colorful day where she sets out to find, well, Kind. With a backpack full of her favorite things, Nina guides readers through the neighborhood to identify kindness in the wild." The book was written by West with illustrations by Hayden Evans.
Little Nina sounds similar to the eternal optimism of Tracy Turnblad, which would make sense since Andrew Levitt (a.k.a. Nina West) is currently touring as Edna Turnblad in the Hairspray national tour.
Drag queens have become the latest target for Republican attacks, with drag queen story hours becoming political firestorms. That is why the story of The You Kind of Kind is more important than ever, as West recently told Yahoo Life.
"I think the time period is very very relevant to [the book's] release in this specific era — the specific day and age where drag queens are being attacked for doing story times at libraries and where really any sense or expression of identity is under attack by the far-right," said West. "It's really important, I think, that the story is told about how we can exert kindness in the world, engage others with kindness and allow that to be the narrative that hopefully is picked up and passed on to the next generation."
As if a new children's book and national musical tour wasn't enough, West also released a companion song, "The You Kind of Kind" which she co-wrote with Marc Byers.
“I really love telling stories and sharing them with others," West said in a statement upon the book's release. “Ultimately, I want people to feel the power of their own magic and kindness in the world...because when you give kindness, it does come back to you. ALWAYS!"
"So, I truly hope this book inspires people to give kindness and make this world a better place for all of us," West continued. "Sure, that sounds like a major undertaking, but it all can start with a smile or saying hello to someone or just listening to another person! Go Big, Be Kind, Be You!”
The You Kind of Kind is available now.