Windy City Blues” selected as Chicago’s One Book / One Community novel for Jewish Book Month 2017


Author Appearances and Book Discussions will be held throughout Chicago and the suburbs,
November 12 – December 12


CHICAGO (August 10, 2017) – For the 7th year in a row, Chicago will mark Jewish Book Month with One Book | One Community, in which a single title is selected for discussions and activities across greater Chicago. This year’s selection is Windy City Blues by Chicago author Renée Rosen (White Collar Girl and What the Lady Wants). Set in 1950s Chicago, it follows the musical and social revolution through the eyes of a young Jewish woman working at the legendary Chess Records.


Spearheaded by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, this local initiative of the international Jewish Book Month kicks off with a reception on Sunday, November 19 at 2:00 p.m. at Spertus (610 S. Michigan Ave.). Until then, readers can visit to sign up for program details, book and ticket giveaways, and a range of resources related to the book.


Windy City Blues features both fictional characters and real-life figures who were key to the rise of blues music in Chicago, from Leonard and Phil Chess of legendary Chess Records to Muddy Waters, Chuck Barry, and Etta James. This fast-paced and thoroughly researched novel gives readers a front seat to key events of the Civil Rights movement, touching on topics that continue to resonate including immigration, discrimination, and the power of music to cross communities.


Windy City Blues—released earlier this year—is available in paperback, ebook, and audio.




Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m.

North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park 


Reception and signing precede presentation

Tuesday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m.

Congregation Etz Chaim, Lombard 


Signing follows presentation

Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 p.m.

Spertus Institute, Chicago


Renée Rosen in conversation with Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich


About Windy City Blues

In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrives in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helps shape that music into the Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.


Leeba Groski is offered a job at Chess Records, after her passion for music and her talented piano playing captures the attention of her neighbor, Leonard Chess. What begins as a position answering phones and scheduling studio time, becomes much more. Leeba finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree. With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and shunned by Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family, Leeba and Red find themselves drawn into the Civil Rights Movement. There they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.


About Jewish Book Month

Jewish Book Month is an annual event on the American Jewish calendar dedicated to the celebration of Jewish books. It is observed during the month preceding Hanukkah, which begins this year at sundown on Tuesday, December 12.


About Spertus Institute
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
(610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago) offers dynamic learning opportunities rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and is open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs—including films, exhibits, speakers, seminars, workshops, and concerts—take place at the Institute’s Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

 More information can be found at

 Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.