November Events
Women & Children First
Wednesday, October 30th - Sara Paretsky
Critical Mass Book Launch  
With special guests: Girls from Sisters4Science
Location: Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.
Free event. No ticket required. 


Critical Mass exposes V.I. Warshawski to a long-buried piece of the history of the atom bomb. While doing a favor for her friend

Lotty, she stumbles across a dead man and becomes enmeshed in a chain of events that becomes more perplexing at each turn. One of the central characters to emerge in V.I.'s investigation is a Viennese woman physicist caught up in the excitement and the danger of the quest for splitting the atom. Because Paretsky is passionate about exposing girls to the excitement of scientific work, she supports Sisters4Science, an after-school program that gives middle-school girls hands on exposure to experimental science. Girls from S4S will come to the reading and make a short presentation on their program. Paretsky will donate her profits from book sales at this event to S4S.  


Friday, November 1st - Barbara McCann

7:30 p.m.
Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks


Completing Our Streets begins with the story of how the complete streets movement united bicycle riders, transportation practitioners and agencies, public health leaders, older Americans, and smart growth advocates to dramatically reframe the discussion of transportation safety. The complete streets movement is based around a simple idea: streets should be safe for pedestrians and commuters of all ages and abilities. Completing Our Streets provides the strategies, tools, and inspiration needed to translate this idea into real and lasting change in their communities. McCann served as the founding executive director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. Previously, she was director of information and research at Smart Growth America (SGA). She worked at CNN as a writer and producer for 13 years during her first career as a journalist. She lives in Washington, DC.

Sunday, November 3rd - Story Time Dance

10:30 a.m.
Story Time Dance event  

Join Miss Mack, who teaches at Chicago Ballet Center and ARCC Ballet, for favorite dance stories and a mini ballet class. Suggested ages 2-6.




Tuesday, November 5th - Renee Rosen

7:00 p.m.


The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929 may be the most brutal and infamous of all gangland slayings in America: seven mobsters from the North Side Gang were killed, and Al Capone emerged as a celebrity--the ultimate gangster of Chicago. In her novel Dollface, Renee Rosen tells the story of Vera Abramowitz, a spunky young beauty determined to leave behind the gritty drudgery of her childhood on the edge of the stockyards. Everything changes when a handsome stranger whisks her away and into the glitzy and glamorous side of Chicago. But soon Vera is entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. All the while, Chicago is hurtling toward the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, which will determine not only Vera's fate but that of many others.

Wednesday, November 6th - Ryan Bartelmay

7:30 p.m.
Onward Toward What We're Going Toward

Onward Toward What We're Going Toward is the epic story of the decline and fall of an American family.
Postwar newlyweds Chic and Diane Waldbeeser are determined to carve out a life for themselves in a small Midwestern town, but following the death of their 10-year-old son, all they can do is try to make sense of their overwhelming grief and guilt. Paralleling their story is that of Chic's older brother Buddy. Haunted by the suicide of their father, Buddy struggles to make a life with his exotic wife, Lijy--who is hiding a devastating secret of her own. Ryan Bartelmay graduated from the University of Iowa's Undergraduate Writer's Workshop and also has an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. His stories and nonfiction work have appeared in myriad publications, including The Greensboro Review, Sycamore Review, Opium, The Believer, and Time Out: Chicago. He is the Dean of General Education at Kendall College in Chicago and has been a member of the Gotham Writers' Workshop faculty since 2005. He lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and two cats.  


Thursday, November 7th - Julia Serano
7:30 p.m.
Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive
Julia Serano--trans woman, bisexual, femme activist, and author of the groundbreaking book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity--has spent much of the past ten years challenging various forms of exclusion within feminist and queer communities. In Excluded she examines the way biases held by some members of the feminist and queer communities infect the theories, activism, and organizations and enable those to vigorously protest certain forms of sexism while simultaneously ignoring and even perpetuating others. Excluded advocates for a new approach to fighting sexism--called "holistic feminism"--that avoids these pitfalls and offers new ways of thinking about gender, sexuality, and sexism that foster inclusivity. Serano's writings have appeared in numerous anthologies; in feminist, queer, and progressive magazines and websites (including Bitch magazine, Out,, Ms. magazine's blog, and; and are regularly used as teaching materials in gender studies, queer studies, psychology, and human sexuality courses in colleges across North America.
Friday, November 8th - Anne McGravie

7:30 p.m.   

Dancing on Ashes


Award-winning Chicago playwright Anne McGravie's first novel, Dancing on Ashes, begins with 86-year-old Isabel learning that her breast cancer treatment has failed. Then, without warning, she finds herself strangely transported from her long-time home in Chicago to an island off the coast of Ireland, and specifically to the island where she spent her childhood summers and where most of her family drowned after a boat overturned in the bay. There she has the chance to clear up the mystery surrounding their tragic deaths and her own lifelong pain and bitterness. But will she have the courage to see the truth? And what force has transported her half a world and more than a century away? This is a surprising novel of imagination and uncanny insight, marked by the candor and lyrical language that McGravie's theater fans have come to expect from her. McGravie is a highly respected playwright whose work has been produced in Chicago, New York, Melbourne, and Edinburgh. Her best-known play, Wrens, was recently presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Rivendell Theatre in Chicago.


Wednesday, November 13th - Diane Ravitch

7:30 p.m.
Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to American's Public Schools

First Free Church, 5255 N. Ashland

Free event. No ticket required. 


In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they've ever been, with dropout rates at their lowest point. She argues that federal programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education--some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Reign of Error begins where her previous book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education and putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it. Ravitch is one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States and a former U.S. assistant secretary of education.

Saturday, November 16th - Foreign Language Story Time

9:30 to 10:00 a.m.
Language Stars® Foreign Language Story Time

For ages 1 to 6. Join Language Stars® for two 15-minute story times, one in Spanish and one in Mandarin. Participate in an engaging, interactive interpretation of afavorite children's book taught entirely in a foreign language. Native speakers will provide an interactive Fun Immersion® program with books, songs, and activities conducted entirely in their native language. (Language Stars provides full-immersion, engaging classesfor kids in Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, and Italian. Visit for more information or to try a free class.)

Saturday, November 16th - Patrick Butler

11:00 a.m.

The Hidden History of Uptown and Edgewater

Location: Edgewater Branch, Chicago Pubic Library,
6000 N. Broadway

Co-sponsored by the Edgewater Historical Society


Book launch, free and open to the public. Come learn about the fascinating history of Uptown and Edgewater as told by veteran beat reporter Patrick Butler, including how both Babe Ruth and Mahatma Gandhi found a place of refuge at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, how Al Capone reportedly moved booze through a secret tunnel connecting the Green Mill and the Aragon Ballroom, and how a "Kitchen Revolt" by some not-very-ordinary housewives sent once-invulnerable machine ward boss Marty Tuchow on his way to Club Fed. Patrick Butler is a journalist with Insider Publications who has covered Edgewater and Chicago's north side for 45 years, going back to his days with the Lerner papers. He is also President of the Ravenswood/Lake View Historical Association and the author of The Hidden History of Ravenswood and Lake ViewRefreshments will be served.  

Wednesday, November 20th -
Deborah Rosen and Angela Torres
7:30 p.m.
An Evening with Two Poets from RHINO Poetry
Deborah Rosen - Sight/Seer
Angela Torres - Blood Orange
For Pushcart Prize-nominee Deborah Nodler Rosen (Where We Find Ourselves), the joy is always in the unplanned experience and what it teaches. Meeting a "bogey" man in Indonesia or praying in a Buddhist monastery, she finds beauty and compassion hidden in the interstices of the world. Rosen enjoys teaching poetry to public school children under a Kids Meet Art program and is editor for RHINO Poetry. Angela Narciso Torres's first book of poetry, Blood Orange, won the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry and will be published by Aquarius Press in September 2013. Recent work appears in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, and Cream City Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she currently lives in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO Poetry.

Friday, November 22nd - Ina Pinkney

7:30 p.m.
Taste Memories: Recipes for Life and Breakfast


Ina Pinkney, Chicago's "Breakfast Queen," has announced that she will be closing her iconic restaurant, Ina's, at the end of the year, but even after the restaurant is gone, we will have her new book, Taste Memories: Recipes for Life and Breakfast, which is as magnificent, bold, and as comforting as the woman herself. She seamlessly weaves childhood memories into her recipes, imparting on each a staying power that last long after you have cleaned your plate. Favorites from the restaurant include Ina's famous Heavenly Hots, crispy salmon cakes, scrapple, and cakey brownies. (Ina says, "There are two kinds of people in the world: fudgey and cakey. I'm a cakey!").

Closed for Thanksgiving

We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will reopen our doors at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 29.

Saturday, November 30th - Small Business Saturday and Indies First Day

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 


Local authors will be working in the store today, helping you select books. Wondering what book Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) might suggest for your best friend? What book Yvonne Zipter (The Patience of Metal) might recommend for your sweetheart? Or which international author Aleksandar Hemon might recommend for you to read? Stop by and find out! These authors and others will be appearing at our store as part of a new grassroots program called Indies First, started this year by author Sherman Alexie, that gives authors a day to show their support for independent bookstores by working at their favorite one. Alexie wants authors all over the country to become "superheroes for independent bookstores." We'd like to say "thank-you" in advance to all the authors who will be participating at our store and to all our customers for coming out and shopping with these authors and with us on Small Business Saturday.


Sappho's Salon

Sappho's is taking off in November, but mark your December calendars:


Saturday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Sappho's Solstice Party

$7-$10 sliding scale  

Don your gayest apparel, and join us for music, comedy, special guests, and lots of good cheer at Sappho's Solstice Party for lesbians and their friends. Holiday treats, egg nog, an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, and a short solstice ritual will help us round out the longest night. In our annual tradition of giving, we will be collecting donations for Sarah's Circle, a shelter for homeless women in Uptown. Sarah's Circle specifically requests the following items: toothpaste and toothbrushes, bladder pads, deodorant, bus cards, first aid kits, powdered laundry detergent, Kotex pads, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, women's vitamins, non-liquid cold medicine, and cough drops. Additionally, items listed on their gift registry at Bed, Bath, and Beyond help outfit new apartments for formerly homeless women:, search firstname: Sarah's Last name: Circle. Proceeds for tonight's salon benefit Sarah's Circle.   


Book Groups


Family of Women Book Group - Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 p.m. - The Distance Between Us by Renya Grande


Classics of Women's Literature Book Group - Monday, November 4 at 7:15pm - Silences by Tillie Olsen (Please note we are meeting on a Monday rather than a Tuesday this month.)


Kids First Book Group - Sunday, November 10 at 5:00 p.m. - Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Feminist Book Group - Sunday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. - Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation by Eli Clare (trigger warning: ableism, sexual abuse)


Women's Book Group - Tuesday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. - The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Women & Children First | |
Hours: M-T 11-7, W-Th-F 11-9, Sat 10-7, Sun 11-6
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640

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