Books August 22, 2012 By Jennifer Pappas

Philippine grandmothers, forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military during World War II, are still working to get reparations, an apology and a place in Japanese history books so sex slavery will not happen again. Grandmothers in Senegal are helping their communities reach decisions to abandon long- entrenched, harmful traditions: early marriage, teen pregnancy and female genital mutilation.

The work these grandmothers are doing requires courage, tenacity, and moral clarity. Because I am a grandmother too, I met these grandmothers as peers – but immediately they became my heroes.

What’s the most important thing you’ve taught your own grandchildren?
My granddaughters are still very young. Right now, I think they would say that I taught them about tea parties! But if you asked them years from now, I hope they would say I helped encourage their curiosity, creativity, and their sense of connection to – and responsible citizenship in – the world.

What do you think is the most important message readers should take away from this book?
Today’s grandmothers are younger than, better educated than, more professionally experienced than, and despite the economic downturn, relatively better off than grandmothers have ever been. My dream is that they will ask themselves how they can best use their experience, energy, wisdom and creativity – their power – to create a better future for grandchildren everywhere who deserve to live in a better world.

Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon will be released September, 2012 by powerHouse books.

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