Announcing our new online wish list

WCF wish list announcement
Celebrate #IndependentBookstoreDay with us each and every day!
Bye bye A****n. Welcome to our online wish list at Women and Children First.
Buy the books we need, we’ll pick ’em up—no shipping fee, no wasteful packaging. Thanks for shopping at one of Chicago’s best indy bookstores!
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Don’t miss us at Chicago Zine Fest

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We’re ready for one of our favorite events of the year!

CZF 2019 will take place over three days: Thursday, May 16–Saturday, May 18. Exhibition Day is Saturday, May 18 at Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., in the West Loop. In particular, look for us:

Thursday, May 16
Our own Vicki White will be part of this panel, featuring some great zinesters, on the first night of CZF 2019:

Zines + Social Justice Panel
7 pm
DePaul University’s Levan Center
2322 N. Kenmore Ave., Room 100

Saturday, May 18
Stop by and see us outside the reading room. Pick up our free zine brochure and a button. We’ll also be selling a couple of new zines, Bound Struggles (a collection of writing and art by women in prison), blank journals, and more.

All events during CZF weekend are FREE and open to the public.

Learn more about Chicago Zine Fest.

Thurs., February 21—An Evening at Victory Gardens Theater

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JEFF RECOMMENDED!  

★★★ “Powerful… bristles with zest and indignant life.”
Chicago Tribune

★★★ “Absolutely deserves to be seen.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Morisseau’s dialogue ripples with warmth and wit as well as despair about the state of public education in impoverished districts.”
—Chicago Reader

Please join us for a performance of this new play that reflects on parenthood, the state of our public school system, and the prison pipeline. This is a fundraiser for Chicago Books to Women in Prison and your support will help us do more in 2019.

Watch the trailer.
Watch an interview with the cast.

Thursday, February 21, 7–9:30 pm
Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago (map)

Buy tickets today

In addition to the play (90 minutes, no intermission):

  • Join us at 6:30 pm for a wine-and-cheese reception.
  • Then enjoy the 7:30 pm performance of Pipeline.
  • After the show (9 pm), stay for conversation. Reflect on what you’ve seen, learn about the greater context, and share your response.
  • BONUS: Included in the ticket, a copy of Bound Struggles, our collection of writing and art by women in prison.

Also support our book drive at Victory Gardens Theater.
Feel free to bring new or gently used educational books—paperbacks only, please—especially dictionaries of all kinds, craft books, books on learning a foreign language or trade skills, or on starting and running a small business.

Buy tickets today

Shop indy bookstores in the new year

We’re delighted to make it easy for our Chicago friends to buy books for us at two of our favorite independent bookstores—one on the North Side and one on the South Side.

Visit the special displays at Women & Children First and 57th Street Books, and help us stock our bookcases for 2019 with high-demand, high-impact books that tend not to be donated.

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WCF ❤ CBWP
Through Valentine’s Day, buy a gift card of any amount and help us reach $1,000. We’ll use the proceeds to buy books from Women & Children First (5233 N. Clark St., 773-769-9299).

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New year, new books for women in prison
Through the end of January, browse our display and buy a book or two for us. (We’ll pick them up.) Or buy a gift card we can use to buy books from 57th Street Books (1301 E. 57th St., 773-684-1300).

Don’t live in Chicago? You can call either store or order a gift card online, noting that it’s for Chicago Books to Women in Prison. Thank you on behalf of the women we serve.

Celebrating Bound Struggles—Fri., June 1

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Friday, June 1
6–8 pm (program begins at 6:30)

Uncharted Books
2620 N. Milwaukee Ave.
(directly across from the Logan Square Blue Line station)

Join us in celebrating Bound Struggles, our 56-page collection of writing and art by incarcerated women across the country. Enjoy readings by volunteers and the opportunity to learn more about our work and the importance of books in prison.

Copies of Bound Struggles available for purchase
(If you don’t live nearby, copies are available by mail for $10 including postage.)

Refreshments and snacks

Get the details on our Facebook event page.

15th Anniversary Party—Weds., November 15

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Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating 15 years of providing the lifeline of books to women in prison!
Wednesday, November 15
6–9 pm (program begins at 6:30)
After-Words Bookstore (private event space)
23 E. Illinois St., Chicago
The program:
    • Writer, scholar and artist Eve Ewing read from her widely acclaimed Electric Arches.  
    • KoStar, an amazing soul duo, performed. You may have seen them at the farewell event for Rasmea Odeh, the African Festival of the Arts or many other venues.
    • Our friend Monica Cosby, a writer and activist, spoke on the importance of books for people in prison.
    • Members of Praxilla Femina sang. We were delighted to see this women’s music collective of professional opera singers again after the benefit concert in the spring. 
    • And it was a release party too! Monica read selections from Bound Struggles, our relaunched journal of writing and art by women in prison. Everyone at the party got a copy.

Enjoy video of our special guests:

Eve Ewing     KoStar     Monica Cosby     Praxilla Femina

Our New Independent Bookstore Partner

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We appreciate everyone who buys books that we need but which are rarely donated. This helps us fill gaps in our inventory and enables us to do a better job of sending the very books a woman asks for.

We’re happy to now offer an easy way to buy from a local independent bookstore—Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston.

If you live in the area, please stop by Bookends & Beginnings1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley #1. Look for the Chicago Books to Women in Prison bookcase featuring a wide range of books selected just for us: entertainment, post-prison life, memoir, reference and wellness.

You can purchase books directly from this display. (You can also make a cash/check donation and let the bookstore use it on the most requested books.) Or order online. (There is no shipping charge as one of our volunteers will pick up the books.)

We have a goal of 200 books by the end of October. Please help us get these books into the hands of the women we serve. Check out the wish list at Bookends & Beginnings today!

Laughs Unlocked benefit show—Thurs., May 18

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Recommended by Chicagoist and the Reader!
Tickets on sale now! Buy online or call 773.697.9693.

Prison is no laughing matter, but we’ll make an exception because some of the best improv actors in Chicago are throwing us a benefit. Again!

In this two-act show they’ll create scenes based on stories from our friend Colette Payne. Colette, who was formerly incarcerated, is a community organizer with Cabrini Green Legal Aid/Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers. Continue reading ‘Laughs Unlocked benefit show—Thurs., May 18’

Benefit concert—Saturday, April 8

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We’re delighted that Praxilla Femina—a new women’s music collective of professional opera singers—has chosen to benefit us with their first concert. 
According to the group, “Our aim is to improve the lives of women in Chicago, especially those who are marginalized. We thought it would be a great idea if the proceeds from our concert were donated to your organization, and if we collected books people may purchase while at the concert for your cause.”

Update: Thank you to the members of Praxilla Femina for a marvelous performance—and to everyone who supported us with a financial contribution or a donation of books.

Praxilla Femina

Dismantling Barriers to Life—Sat., March 11

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Dismantling Barriers to Life:
A speak out on mass incarceration

Saturday, March 11, 12:30–4 pm
First Baptist Congregational
1613 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago (map)

Hear from people directly affected by incarceration, share ideas for action and more at this community event hosted by Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Community Renewal SocietyGrowing HomePrecious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, StoryCorps and the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois.

Continue reading ‘Dismantling Barriers to Life—Sat., March 11’


IMPORTANT: Learn more before donating books
Please check with us before organizing a book drive or putting together a donation of more than a few books from your own library. We are well stocked and storage space is limited.

2,676 packages so far in 2019

Last year we sent 4,852 packages to women and trans people locked up across the country—nearly 13,500 books and composition books in all. Big thanks to all our supporters because we couldn’t do it without you! (updated July 15, 2019)

Shop our wish list at Women & Children First!

Buy online books we really need and we’ll pick them up—no shipping fee, no wasteful packaging. And your purchase benefits not just the people we serve, but one of Chicago’s best independent bookstores.

Donate money quickly and easily

Or send your check or money order to 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60640. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift may be tax-deductible.

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