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If I get to five : what children can teach us about courage and character /
Fred Epstein and Joshua Horwitz.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : H. Holt, c2003.
description
190 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
080507144X
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
New York : H. Holt, c2003.
isbn
080507144X
catalogue key
8290602
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Fred Epstein, M.D., is the founding director of the Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery (INN) at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He lives with his wife and two of his five children in Greenwich, Connecticut Joshua Horwitz is the president of Living Planet Books, a book-packaging firm in Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and three daughters
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Christopher Book Awards, USA, 2004 : Won
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
FromIf I Get to Five: The title of this book was inspired by one of my young patients. Naomi was only four years old when she arrived at the hospital. I had few surgical options, but I knew I had to do something quickly or she would certainly die. Naomi was a feisty kid with dancing eyes and a willfulness I've rarely seen in adults. During my first conversation with her, she announced defiantly: "If I get to five, I'm going to learn to ride a two-wheeler!" When I saw her each day on rounds, she'd update me on her plans. "If I get to five, I'm going to beat my older brother at tic-tac-toe." "If I get to five, I'm going to jump rope-backward!" I found myself drawing courage from this four-year-old girl. She understood intuitively that to get to five, she needed to look forward to the next level of mastery. She strengthened my resolve to never give up on a child, no matter how daunting the course in front of me appeared. Children like Naomi are geniuses at raising the bar for themselves, clearing the bar, and setting it one notch higher. Working with children raises the bar for me, and for everyone else whose lives they touch. Naomi got to five, and never looked back. Today she's a happy, twenty-nine-year-old woman who loves life. The lesson she taught me still guides me today.
First Chapter
From If I Get to Five:

The title of this book was inspired by one of my young patients. Naomi was only four years old when she arrived at the hospital. I had few surgical options, but I knew I had to do something quickly or she would certainly die.

Naomi was a feisty kid with dancing eyes and a willfulness I've rarely seen in adults. During my first conversation with her, she announced defiantly: "If I get to five, I'm going to learn to ride a two-wheeler!" When I saw her each day on rounds, she'd update me on her plans. "If I get to five, I'm going to beat my older brother at tic-tac-toe." "If I get to five, I'm going to jump rope-backward!"

I found myself drawing courage from this four-year-old girl. She understood intuitively that to get to five, she needed to look forward to the next level of mastery. She strengthened my resolve to never give up on a child, no matter how daunting the course in front of me appeared. Children like Naomi are geniuses at raising the bar for themselves, clearing the bar, and setting it one notch higher. Working with children raises the bar for me, and for everyone else whose lives they touch.

Naomi got to five, and never looked back. Today she's a happy, twenty-nine-year-old woman who loves life. The lesson she taught me still guides me today.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-03-15:
Epstein, a leading pediatric neurosurgeon and founder of the Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery (INN) at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, presents lessons learned from his many child patients. He begins with a portrait of himself as a boy who struggled with severe learning disabilities, then continues with a description of the INN, which was established with the integral components of love and topnotch technology. Taking its title from a comment by a four year old with a brain tumor, the book dedicates a good deal of space to what Epstein has learned from children while interweaving background on brain and spinal cord problems (he himself suffered a severe head injury, which inspired him to write this). While the narrative rambles somewhat, the life-and-death subject matter and the honest writing make it compelling and sometimes heartrending. Grieving families with seriously ill children will learn about real-life coping behaviors and an excellent medical facility to boot, consumer health collections could use the basic information on brain and spinal cord surgery, and medical professionals would find it inspiring to read about a facility that has found creative ways to provide a caring environment for patients, family, and medical staff. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Alice Hershiser, Reedville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-04-01:
Epstein, a pediatric neurosurgeon at New York City's Beth Israel Hospital, has written an inspiring book recounting the struggles of not only his patients, but himself as well. After a long career treating patients for brain injuries and cancer, Epstein recently had a near-fatal bicycle accident that turned the tables on him. Suddenly, the expert surgeon found himself on the receiving end of a scalpel. While the book touches upon his own challenges during the slow recovery and rehabilitation process, Epstein draws more upon the examples of his young patients to successfully banish fear from his life. He candidly examines the lives of not only those patients who have made brilliant recoveries under his care, but also the children who weren't so lucky. The book's title derives from words spoken by Naomi, a four-year-old whose brain tumor would eventually take two surgeries to eradicate. Though the child seemed to inherently understand the gravity of her situation, she made plans: "If I get to five, I'm going to jump rope-backward!" Epstein and Horwitz handle topics such as hope and spiritual awareness gracefully, without being preachy, and the book should serve as an important tool for families or individuals coping with grave illnesses. (Apr. 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
Dear Dr. Epstein, I admire and laud your "vision." Your concept of going beyond the scientific and technical boundaries in treating patients in your hospital is most encouraging. With prayers and good wishes, The Dalai Lama
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2002
Booklist, March 2003
Library Journal, March 2003
Publishers Weekly, April 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shares the lessons of courage, compassion, and resilience that he's learned from his exceptional young patients. Here, "Dr. Fred, " as he's known to patients, relates the unforgettable experiences he's shared with children--lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope.
Main Description
A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shares the lessons of courage, compassion, and resilience that he's learned from his exceptional young patients If I Get to Five is a one-of-a-kind book by a one-of-a-kind human being. The medical world knows him as Fred Epstein, M.D., the neurosurgeon who pioneered life-saving procedures for previously inoperable tumors in children. His patients and their families know him simply as Dr. Fred, the "miracle man" who has extended them both a healing hand and an open heart. "I simply can't accept the idea of kids dying," is how Epstein explains his commitment to saving patients. As a child, he had to overcome severe learning disabilities to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, as the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeon, he did whatever it took to rescue children that other doctors had given up on. Epstein credits his young patients as his most important teachers. "We tend to think of children as fragile, little people," he writes. "To me, they're giants." If I Get to Five relates the unforgettable experiences he's shared with children-lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope-that we can all draw on to overcome adversity at any stage of life. In If I Get to Five , Epstein meditates on these lessons at a time when they parallel his own experiences, as he recovers from a near-fatal head injury. If I Get to Five is a riveting profile of courage and compassion. No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children-or adversity-in the same way.
Main Description
A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shares the lessons of courage, compassion, and resilience that he's learned from his exceptional young patients If I Get to Five is a one-of-a-kind book by a one-of-a-kind human being. The medical world knows him as Fred Epstein, M.D., the neurosurgeon who pioneered life-saving procedures for previously inoperable tumors in children. His patients and their families know him simply as Dr. Fred, the "miracle man" who has extended them both a healing hand and an open heart."I simply can't accept the idea of kids dying," is how Epstein explains his commitment to saving patients. As a child, he had to overcome severe learning disabilities to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, as the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeon, he did whatever it took to rescue children that other doctors had given up on.Epstein credits his young patients as his most important teachers. "We tend to think of children as fragile, little people," he writes. "To me, they're giants." If I Get to Five relates the unforgettable experiences he's shared with children-lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope-that we can all draw on to overcome adversity at any stage of life. In If I Get to Five , Epstein meditates on these lessons at a time when they parallel his own experiences, as he recovers from a near-fatal head injury. If I Get to Five is a riveting profile of courage and compassion. No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children-or adversity-in the same way.
Main Description
A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shares the lessons of courage, compassion, and resilience that he's learned from his exceptional young patients If I Get to Fiveis a one-of-a-kind book by a one-of-a-kind human being. The medical world knows him as Fred Epstein, M.D., the neurosurgeon who pioneered life-saving procedures for previously inoperable tumors in children. His patients and their families know him simply as Dr. Fred, the "miracle man" who has extended them both a healing hand and an open heart. "I simply can't accept the idea of kids dying," is how Epstein explains his commitment to saving patients. As a child, he had to overcome severe learning disabilities to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, as the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeon, he did whatever it took to rescue children that other doctors had given up on. Epstein credits his young patients as his most important teachers. "We tend to think of children as fragile, little people," he writes. "To me, they're giants."If I Get to Fiverelates the unforgettable experiences he's shared with children-lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope-that we can all draw on to overcome adversity at any stage of life. InIf I Get to Five, Epstein meditates on these lessons at a time when they parallel his own experiences, as he recovers from a near-fatal head injury. If I Get to Fiveis a riveting profile of courage and compassion. No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children-or adversity-in the same way.
Main Description
If I Get to Five is a one-of-a-kind book by a one-of-a-kind human being. The medical world knows him as Fred Epstein, M.D., the neurosurgeon who pioneered life-saving procedures for previously inoperable tumors in children. His patients and their families know him simply as Dr. Fred, the 'miracle man' who has extended them both a healing hand and an open heart. 'I simply can't accept the idea of kids dying,' is how Epstein explains his commitment to saving patients. As a child, he had to overcome severe learning disabilities to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, as the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeon, he did whatever it took to rescue children that other doctors had given up on. Epstein credits his young patients as his most important teachers. 'We tend to think of children as fragile, little people,' he writes. 'To me, they're giants.' If I Get to Five relates the unforgettable experiences he's shared with children-lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope-that we can all draw on to overcome adversity at any stage of life. In If I Get to Five, Epstein meditates on these lessons at a time when they parallel his own experiences, as he recovers from a near-fatal head injury. If I Get to Five is a riveting profile of courage and compassion. No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children-or adversity-in the same way.
Table of Contents
Prologuep. 1
Hold Someone's Handp. 11
Live in the Momentp. 39
Face Your Fearsp. 75
Believe in Miraclesp. 99
Play to Your Strengthsp. 131
Love Without Boundariesp. 159
Epiloguep. 183
Acknowledgmentsp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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