It is the end of the First World War, and thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher. But she must leave school to help support her family, moving to the city to work as a maid in a wealthy doctor's home. 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 and the doctor's children, Maggie and Jack, 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.
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.
A gripping depiction of a tragic epidemic and the sometimes heroic responses of those affected.
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.
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.
Yesterday’s DeadIt is the end of World War I, and 13-year-old Meredith moves to Toronto to work as a maid in a wealthy doctor’s home. As the deadly Spanish flu hits, and members of the household fall ill, Meredith struggles to cope with responsibilities beyond her years. If Meredith handles this crisis properly, a door to a future may open, which she thought had been closed forever.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.