Women & Children First encourages you to “shop as independently as you think.”
Women & Children First is a feminist, independent bookstore located in Andersonville that carries a variety of mainstream and indie titles. The beloved bookstore is well-known not only for being a socially-conscious bookstore but also as a gathering space for the LGBTQ+ community.
The bookstore first opened in 1979, and after moving from place to place on Chicago’s northside for a decade it finally settled in Andersonville in 1990. Over the past 40+ years, Women & Children First has been dedicated to intersectional feminism and lifting up underrepresented voices. With over 30,000 titles, it is one of the nation’s largest feminist bookstores.
Women & Children First is renowned for having numerous book sections dedicated to marginalized voices. There’s a huge LGBTQ+ young adult literature section, a genre that’s often underrepresented at other bookstores. The bookstore also has sections dedicated to writers of color, sex-positive nonfiction, indie zines, and much more! The staff picks are also lovingly curated and have yet to let us down for a good reading suggestion.
Women and Children First is also a community space for Chicago’s thriving LGBTQ scene. They’re known to have Drag Queens host children storytimes and encourage patrons to propose their own events. If your favorite author is Bell Hooks, you live for quality stationery, or you’re a fan of queer YA, this is the bookstore for you.
Unfortunately, not everyone loves the bookstore and during the summer of 2019, an organized group vandalized the bookstore with transphobic messages. The community then rose up to fight back and the following weekend organized a “chalk-the-walk” event. Participants were armed with chalk and stencils and covered several blocks of sidewalks with positive messages for the transgender community. Their words were heard loud and clear: “If you are trans, you are welcome here.”
Women & Children First is one of Chicago’s most popular bookstores and with such a welcoming, inclusive environment, it’s no wonder why. If you’re looking for intersectional feminist literature, you’re guaranteed to find like-minded folk at this watering hole in Andersonville.
Address: 5233 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60640
Hours: 11 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Sunday
Parking: Street and metered parking available
Nearest CTA: Berwyn Red Line station, 22 and 36 buses.
[Feature image from Instagram / @enobooks]