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December at Women & Children First to include Drag Queen Story Hour
2019-12-04

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CHICAGO, IL ( December 3, 2019 ) - As 2019 comes to a close, Women & Children First is proud to announce our 19 Bestselling Books of 2019! Once again, this list brilliantly reflects our feminist mission to showcase women and other underrepresented authors, and be as political as we are literary. We were also delighted to see several local authors make the list, including Eve Ewing, Rebecca Makkai, and Lucy Knisley!

As we reflect on our 40th anniversary year, we are filled with gratitude for all that we've accomplished—both as a staff and with all of you! This year, we:

-threw an unforgettable block party;

-crafted a new mission statement;

-installed new LED lighting to make our space more accessible and environmentally sustainable;

-increased wages for all staff to a minimum of $15 an hour, and expanded benefits for full-time employees;

-donated nearly $10K to charity, and hundreds of books to Project Books & Edgewater Reads' Little Free Libraries;

-partnered with Chicago Books to Women in Prison to provide reading material to incarcerated women, non-binary, and trans people;

-hosted more than 150 in-store and off-site events, including one with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice! Check out THIS VIDEO recapping our 2019!

Below are upcoming events in December and early January.

Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m.

Patrick E. Johnson in conversation with Imani Rupert-Gordon

Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women

Book Launch Party

E. Patrick Johnson's Honeypot opens with the fictional trickster character Miss B. informing Dr. EPJ that he has been chosen to collect and share the stories of her people. With little explanation, she whisks the reluctant Dr. EPJ away to the women-only world of Hymen, where he bears witness to the real-life stories of queer Black women throughout the American South. As Dr. EPJ hears these stories, he must grapple with his privilege as a man and as an academic, and in the process he gains insights into patriarchy, class, sex, gender, and the challenges these women face. Combining oral history with magical realism and poetry, Honeypot is an engaging and moving book that reveals the complexity of identity while offering a creative method for scholarship to represent the lives of other people in a rich and dynamic way. E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University and the author and editor of several books, most recently No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Theory. Imani Rupert-Gordon is the executive director of Affinity Community Services. Affinity is a social justice organization that works to support and provide resources for all people, with a particular emphasis on LGBTQ women of color. In addition, Imani serves on both the governing board of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago's United Pride Executive Committee and the Illinois State Treasurer's LGBT Advisory Council.

Friday, December 6 & December 20

Late Night Andersonville

Neighborhood Shopping Event

Celebrate the season and get your holiday shopping done here in Andersonville! Participating stores will have special deals and refreshments for shoppers during the evenings. Enjoy restaurant specials, carolers, pictures with Santa, musicians, and more throughout the district. The FREE Holiday Trolley runs along Clark Street from 6 to 9 p.m. Also from 6 to 9 p.m, Women & Children First's selection of boxed holiday cards and 2020 calendars will be 25% off. On Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m., we'll have a special visit from the Chicago-based choral singers The Pippins!

Saturday, December 7 at 11 a.m.

Annual SitStayRead Wishing Tree Donation Drive Kick-off featuring

Drag Queen Story Hour!

Perfect for ages 4 and up

Beloved drag queens Anita, Dixie, and Diana will join us for our annual reading of holiday-themed story books. This event will mark the unveiling of our annual Wishing Tree. Beginning December 1 and running through the end of December, customers are welcome to donate a new book purchased from Women & Children First to a child in need whose name is decorating a star on the Wishing Tree. Our goal is to put diverse books in the hands of area elementary school kids through the literacy program, SitStayRead. For this event, representatives from SitStayRead along with Certified Reading Assistance Dogs will be in attendance to talk about the organization and the work that they do.

Sunday, December 8

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Qigong Class

Join us for a new 8-week session of one of the world's oldest healing practices! Teacher Francesca Segal has been teaching tai chi and qigong in the Chicago area for more than 20 years. Contact her at 312-823-9045 or at f.segal120@gmail.com for more information or to sign up for our Sunday morning class.

Monday, December 9

Doors open at 7 p.m.

Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Sappho's Salon

Our final Sappho's Salon of 2019 ends in radical style with poet and preacher Andrea Hawkins Kamper, comedian extraordinaire KJ Whitehead, and you! Sappho's Salon is a quarterly performance salon at Chicago's only feminist bookstore, featuring expressions of queerness, gender, and feminism co-hosted by Liz Baudler and Eileen Tull. Light snacks from the Middle Eastern Bakery will be provided, but feel free to contribute to the holiday spread. As always, this event is BYOB and Pay What You Can. Admission benefits the performers and the Women's Voices Fund. Open mic spots are open to all except cis men. Participants get five minutes at the mic and a bookstore coupon after they perform.

Sunday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Laura Adkins

We Compose!

In-store concert

The past, present, and future of classical music belongs to all of us. Explore the role of women in classical music—as muses, as performers, and as creators—and examine how these roles have shaped our shared history, our collective memory. Each month, oboist and composer Laura Adkins shares the stage with different guest musicians, performing everything from arrangements of famous opera arias to 13th century chant to contemporary solo works. This month will include special holiday tunes in the spirit of the season! Learn about new female composers and performers, and dive into your own memories and beliefs about women in classical music. ( Hint: You have more than you think! )

Thursday, January 9 at 7 p.m.

Alyssa Zaczek

Martin McLean Middle School Queen

Author Reading and Book Signing

Great for ages 8 and up!

Seventh-grader Martin McLean is surrounded by people who can express themselves—his mother is an artist, his colorful Tio Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle don't care what other people think. But Martin can only find the right words when he's answering a problem at a Mathletes competition—until his tio introduces him to the world of drag. In a swirl of sequins and stilettos, Martin creates his fabulous drag queen alter ego, Lottie Leon. As Lottie, he is braver than he's ever been; but as Martin, he doesn't have the guts to tell anyone outside of his family about her. When Martin discovers that his first-ever drag show is the same night as the most important Mathletes tournament, he realizes that he can only pull off both appearances by revealing his true self to his friends—and channeling his inner drag superstar. Alyssa Zaczek is a playwright, journalist, and a lifelong lover of words. This is her debut novel. Originally from Chicago, Alyssa now lives in St. Cloud, Minn.

Tuesday, January 14 at 7 p.m.

Peggy Orenstein in conversation with Heidi Stevens

Boys & Sex

Author Conversation and Book SIgning

Orenstein's previous book Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women's right to pleasure and agency in sexual encounters. But Orenstein realized that talking about girls is only half the conversation. In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy. By surfacing young men's experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today's world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men. Peggy Orenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Waiting for Daisy, Flux, and Schoolgirls. A contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, she has been published in USA Today, Parenting, Salon, the New Yorker, and other publications, and has contributed commentary to NPR's All Things Considered. She lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. Heidi Stevens is a parenting and lifestyle columnist at the Chicago Tribune, where she has worked since 1998. Before covering lifestyles, she was an editor in the entertainment department. She is currently the writer of "Balancing Act," a daily Tribune column.

Wednesday, January 15 at 7 p.m.

E. J. Koh in conversation with

Nina Li Coomes

The Magical Language of Others

Author Conversation and Book SIgning

After living in America for more than a decade, Eun Ji Koh's parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen- year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother's absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love, letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box. As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history—her grandmother Jun's years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre—and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words—in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language—to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love? E. J. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize. Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. She is the recipient of MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships and a 2017 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship and was runner-up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize. Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer. She was born in Nagoya and raised in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, EATER, and Catapult, among other places. She is an alumna of Young Chicago Authors and the winner of the 2013 Louder Than A Bomb College Slam. In 2014, she co-wrote a bilingual poetry show titled Fressen that toured Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. In 2017, she was a part of the Kundiman Creative Nonfiction Intensive and in 2018 was an Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellow in Memoir.

Save the Date:

Thursday January 16 at 7 p.m.

Ronni Davis

in conversation with Rena Barron

When the Stars Lead to You

Book Launch Party

A READ LOCAL Event

Saturday, January 18 6 p.m.

Chana Porter

The Seep

Author Reading

Thursday, January 23 at 7 p.m.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Fishhead: Republic of Want

Book Launch

A READ LOCAL Event

Saturday, January 25 at 3 p.m.

Susan Salidor

I've Got Peace in My Fingers

Author Story time

A READ LOCAL Event

Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m.

Emma Copley Eisenberg

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia

Author Reading

Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m.

Gigi Engle

All the F*cking Mistakes

Alexandra Solomon

Taking Sexy Back

Joint Book Launch

Friday, February 7 at 7 p.m.

Ela Pryzbylo

Asexual Erotics

Author REading

Sunday, February 9 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Trans Ally Workshop

hosted by Chicago Therapy Collective

Public Workshop

Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m.

Suzanne Walker

Mooncakes

Author Reading and Book Signing

Thursday, February 13 at 7 p.m.

Best Women's Erotica of the Year:

Volume 5

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Lauren Emily, Jayne Renault, Sierra Simone & Suleikha Snyder

Anthology Reading & Valentine's Party

Book Groups

Women Aging with Wisdom & Grace Discussion & Potluck

Sunday, December 8

10 a.m. to noon

Recommended reading: What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self edited by Ellyn Spragins

Family of Women Book Group

Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m.

Make Trouble by Cecile Richard

Teens First Book Group

Sunday, December 8 at 5 p.m.

Hybrid Child by Mariko Ohara

Classics of Women's Literature

Monday, December 16 at 7:15 p.m.

Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros

Women's Book Group

Tuesday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Potluck & Selection Meeting

Feminist Book Group:

The Climate Change edition

Sunday, January 12 at 4 p.m.

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

Social Justice Book Group

On hiatus! Check back in February 2020.

Well-Read Black Girl Book Group

On hiatus! Check back in February 2020.

—From a press release


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