Yesterday's Dead

Yesterday's Dead


By Pat Bourke


Meredith struggles to cope during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918...

Thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher but must leave school to help support her family. To find the best paying job for a young girl of her class, she travels to the city to work as household help in a doctor’s home. From the start, her life is made difficult by the cantankerous and prickly butler, and confrontations with Maggie, the doctor’s spoiled thirteen-year-old daughter.

As the deadly Spanish Flu sweeps across the city, members of the household fall ill one by one. With the doctor working night and day at the hospital, only Meredith, Maggie, and Jack, Maggie's handsome older brother, are left to care for them. Every day the newspapers’ lists of “Yesterday’s Dead” add to Meredith’s growing fears.

When Jack becomes gravely ill, Meredith must stop fighting with Maggie so they can work together to save him. As Meredith wrestles with questions of duty and responsibility, she opens the door to a future that she thought had been closed forever.    

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About the Author

Pat Bourke is a freelance business writer and editor whose previous careers included strategy consultant and high school math teacher. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tippet Foundation, a charitable foundation that funds not-for-profit arts, education, and community organizations primarily in the Greater Toronto Area. She lives in Toronto with her husband, son and daughter.

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Product Information

  • Release: April 16, 2016

  • $11.95 Paperback

  • 232 Pages

  • 5.25 x 7.5

  • Children's Fiction

  • Ages 9-14 / Grades 6-9

  • Guided Reading: Z+

  • ISBN: 9781926920320


  • Character Education
    > Empathy
    > Strong Female Characters

  • History/Social Studies
    > Canadian History

  • Language Arts
    > Historical Fiction


Awards for Yesterday's Dead

  • 2014 Silver Birch Fiction Award Finalist

  • 2014 Snow Willow Award Finalist (Saskatchewan's Young Readers Choice Awards)

  • 2014 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award (MYRCA) Finalist

  • 2013 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People Nominee

  • Shortlisted for the 2013 IODE Violet Downey Book Award

  • Canadian Children's Book Centre's "Best Books for Kids and Teens" - Fall 2012

Praise for Yesterday's Dead

"A gripping depiction of a tragic epidemic and the sometimes heroic responses of those affected." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pat Bourke has crafted a fantastically detailed novel that would satisfy any young reader’s desire to find out about the past." - Canadian Children's Book News

"Bourke ultimately brings home the vital message: in disease, all social classes are rendered equal." - Booklist

"The story’s pacing is pitch-perfect, and Bourke advances the plot at just the right clip. She uses dialogue to great advantage, both as a tool for defining her characters and for introducing different opinions on the epidemic. ... Yesterday’s Dead is a well-written story with an engaging protagonist. Both witness and survivor, Meredith pulls readers through the crisis and touches the lives of everyone around her. Bourke does a great job of calling attention to a brief but important moment in history." - Quill & Quire

"Bourke quietly conveys the impact of the Great War and the Spanish flu on our then fledgling country of just over 8 million people. Many of our ancestors were scarred by these tragedies. Yet the historical elements never overwhelm the human story of Meredith and her friends. Realistic dialogue, skilled pacing and evocative detail bring them to life and make the reader sorry when the novel ends. Yesterday's Dead truly deserves praise and prizes." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"This book was an amazing read, and I knew right after our librarian, Ms. Kubiw, had explained it to us, that it would be the first one I read and probably the one I would most enjoy. Thank you so much for writing this awesome book, and I sincerely hope there will be a series or more books to come like this. Sincerely, Grace D. Age 12" - CanLit for Little Canadians