Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
If I Get to Five

If I Get to Five

What Children Can Teach Us About Courage and Character

Fred Epstein, M.D., and Joshua Horwitz

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

"This book is a testament to the extraordinary depth, powers, and resiliency of children's spirits." —Marion Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund

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.

Throughout his career Epstein's young patients have been his most important teachers and trusted guides. They are children who—often by sheer force of will—have refused to relinquish life and all its gifts. In this inspiring book, these children teach us the lessons we all need to learn in order to live life to the fullest—lessons about seizing the moment and facing our deepest fears, about embracing the joy and wonder of everyday life. Most of all, they teach lessons about uncommon courage—the courage to do what's hardest, to believe in what we don't understand, to love without boundaries.

If I Get to Five takes us inside a world unlike any other, from the high-stakes, high-tech operating room where life and death are separated by a heartbeat to the sickrooms and recovery rooms where parents discover the limits and power of their faith. But most compelling of all is the journey inside the hearts, minds, and souls of the wisest children you will ever encounter.

No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children—or adversity—in the same way.

Christopher Awards - Winner, Christopher Awards - Nominee


From If I Get to Five:

Surgeons have a tendency to compartmentalize their professional and emotional lives. We're trained to believe that we can best serve our patients by remaining objective professionals. With so much fear and anxiety...


Praise for If I Get to Five

“To shake hands with Dr. Fred Epstein is to be touched by an angel in a scrub suit.” —Steve Dunleavy, New York Post

“A magnificent tribute to human resiliency and hopefulness. From Dr. Epstein's portrayals of children who have found meaning amid horror to his own superbly interwoven autobiography of a boyhood marred by academic failure, we see the emergence of a truly great man. Readers will feel energized by this remarkable portrayal of life's uphill battles.” —Mel Levine, M.D., author of A Mind at a Time

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Fred Epstein, M.D., and Joshua Horwitz

Fred Epstein, M.D., is the founding director of the Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Epstein lives with his wife and children in Greenwich, Connecticut. Joshua Horwitz is the president of Living Planet Books, a book-packaging firm that specializes in health, psychology, and spirituality titles. He is the co-author of Wrestling with Angels and lives in Washington, D.C.

Fred Epstein

Josh Horwitz

From the Publisher

Holt Paperbacks

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