Say "Grandma," and many of us envision a white-haired old lady in an apron.
But the grandmothers of today are younger, healthier, better educated, and better off than grandmothers have ever been. Half of all U.S. grandmothers are between the ages of 45 and 64 -- too young even to retire. As of 2012, there are about 40 million grandmothers in the United States and, thanks to the boomers, thousands more every day.
Photojournalist Paola Gianturco explores this potent demographic through her book Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The book highlights 120 activist grandmothers in 15 countries on five continents who are fighting courageously and effectively against poverty, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and human rights abuse. Their goal is to create a better world for grandchildren everywhere.
Here are stories of grandmothers who learned to be solar engineers at India's Barefoot College, about the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, and about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.
All of the author royalties from Grandmother Power go to the Grandmother-to-Grandmother campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Toronto, which helps grandmothers in 15 African countries who are caring for AIDS orphans.
Gianturco has created five books about international women's issues, among them Women Who Light the Dark, Viva Colores: A Salute to the Indomitable People of Guatemala, Celebrating Women, and In Her Hands, Craftswomen Changing the World.
Her photographs have appeared in Marie Claire, Essence, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and the Washington Post. Her work has been shown at the United Nations, Chicago's Field Museum, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.