New Book Proves Fairy Tales Carry Wisdom for All Ages, Especially Older Adults


Once upon a time, two seventy-something gerontologists and a seventy-something psychoanalyst realized that aging is an exciting adventure leading to growth and self-awareness, and decided to find a project to celebrate the wisdom they have attained.

William L. (Bill) Randall and his friends Barbara Lewis and W. Andrew (Andy) Achenbaum spent five years collaborating on the delightful book, FAIRY TALE WISDOM: Stories for the Second Half of Life, in which they revisit stories that had previously made a profound impact on them such as fairy tales, Aesop Fables, the works of the Brothers Grimm, and parables from the Bible. Their goal was to find fresh insights and to encourage older adults to celebrate the wisdom that lurks between the lines of their own lives.

In an interview, the authors can answer such questions as:

  • What is narrative gerontology and how is it redefining aging?
  • How were the parables and fairy tales featured in the book chosen?
  • In what ways are well-known stories portals into our own lives?
  • How can readers find new meaning from childhood tales?
Praise for Fairy Tale Wisdom

Fairy Tale Wisdom contains the personal reflections of three sensitive and intelligent people on a few of the great stories. I like most the sincere probing that goes on in the reflections of these extraordinary authors.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Soul Therapy

“What a pleasure to think about how life has changed us and what matters to us most now. An important and fun contribution to the conscious aging genre.” — Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., author of The Making of an Old Soul

“Fairy tales are for all of us. I am simply thrilled by your book and can’t wait to share some of the stories with our granddaughters. An indispensable contribution to this field of work.” — Harry (Rick) Moody, Ph. D., retired VP for Academic Affairs, AARP 

About the Authors

William L. (Bill) Randall is a retired professor of gerontology from St. Thomas University in Canada, where he helped to pioneer an innovative approach to the study of aging known as narrative gerontology, a topic he has spoken about at international workshops and conferences. He is the founding co-editor of the Narrative Works journal and the author of eight books on aging.

W. Andrew (Andy) Achenbaum, Ph.D., is a semi-retired professor of history in the Texas Medical Center’s Consortium on Aging in Houston. He was deputy director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan and chaired the National Council On Aging.

Barbara Lewis is a retired psychoanalyst and retired Episcopal priest who graduated with an M.Div. from the General (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City. She studied philosophy at Mt. Holyoke College and Columbia University and received a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.