Albert Whitman & Company has been located in the Chicago area for most of its 90-plus years in business. As such, we’ve been blessed – both professionally and personally – with a wonderful assortment of independent bookseller for decades. Happily, this remains true today. In a semi-regular blog series, we will visit “Chicagoland Indies” for your information and enjoyment.
Women & Children First has a long history in Chicago. Opened in 1979, it’s one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country and serves a diverse community with books and sidelines for both adults and children. When Wendy in Editorial and I arrived at the store on another lovely summer afternoon in Chicago, the store had shoppers in every department and our talk with co-owner Linda Bubon was interrupted (gladly) numerous times by people looking for just the right book for the children in their lives (including a very enthusiastic uncle looking at lift-the-flap books).
Of course, we checked out the Boxcar Children shelf — and right nearby were The Buddy Files. Linda says she did not prepare the shelves in the children’s department for our arrival, so it was lovely to see so many of our Fall 2010 books on the new arrivals shelves — and face out!
The store is very well known for its preschool storytime – in existence for 20 years! In addition, they do a “big kids” storytime for 5- to 10-year-olds during the summer. One of this year’s best big kids storytimes (according to Linda) was for The Boxcar Children. She had to do a little summarizing to finish in 45 minutes, but the kids loved it and some went looking for more titles in the series.
Owners and staff alike are very proud of the store’s feminist agenda, but really want the public to know that they will find all kinds of books on their shelves. In the children’s section, their feminist focus allows them to include any book they believe will appeal to and/or serve children and their caregivers. In addition to a great new books display and very complete fiction and board book sections, they have one of the largest “issues” section I’ve every seen in a bookstore. From adoption to bullying to divorce — there are books on every topic a kid (or parent) could need. I’m proud to say that a large number of those books come from Albert Whitman & Company.
Women & Children First is located in the Andersonville neighboorhood of Chicago and shares the neighborhood with a lot of great stores and restaurants. Visiting the store and its neighbors is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.