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Tom White (1923-)


Tom White told SATA: "I drifted from ordinary newspaper and magazine journalism into the children's publishing field when I took a job with Highlights for Children magazine in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, in 1984. I hadn't by then written anything expressly for children, although a lot of my 'ordinary journalism' didn't aim tremendously high on the IQ barometer. At Highlights, I did do a few nonfiction pieces for the magazine and quite a lot of public relations in service of the magazine's mission as a subscription periodical, without advertisements, designed to provide 'fun with a purpose' (the magazine's motto) for kids from two to twelve.

"Bill W., a Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous combined a personal interest of mine with a push from Highlights editor in chief Kent L. Brown, Jr., who is also the publisher of Boyds Mills Press, to write into what he saw as an open niche. There were no books about the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous or the Alcoholics Anonymous movement for the kids most vulnerable to starting to drink, the age group from nine to twelve.

"As it has turned out, the book seems to appeal as well to an older group, including some Alcoholics Anonymous members. I have a second book in the works, may fate smile on my efforts to get it done soon. This one is about the other cofounder, Dr. Bob Smith, and I am fortunate in having Bob Smith, Jr., as a collaborator.

"What fascinates me about Bill W. and Dr. Bob S. is that the way to get and stay sober that they pioneered and hoped against hope would work to sober up some other drunks, ended up changing the lives of millions and causing the transformation of the entire world of treatment—medical, social, and governmental—for alcohol and drug habituation and addiction.

"As for me, when it came time for my college alumni magazine to report on my new book, they printed a remark of mine to the effect that I thought I should at least get an award from the Southwestern Geriatric Society (if one exists) for 'first book published at most advanced age.'"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 15, 2003, John Green, review of Bill W., a Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 1470.

Publishers Weekly, January 20, 2003, review of Bill W., a Different Kind of Hero, p. 83.

School Library Journal, February, 2003, Debbie Stewart, review of Bill W., a Different Kind of Hero, p. 171.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Carlos Watson Biography - Was a Student Journalist to Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) BiographyTom White (1923-) Biography - Personal, Career, Sidelights - Member, Writings, Work in Progress