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Children's Fiction General

Yesterday’s Dead

by (author) Pat Bourke

read by Michelle Ferguson

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2021
Recommended Age
9 to 14
Recommended Grade
4 to 9
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


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 authors

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.

Pat Bourke's profile page

Michelle Ferguson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“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, January 1, 2012

“Meredith is a likable character — young, intelligent, outspoken, caught in a negative situation, but not too rebellious. She suits both the time period and the readers' expectations of her behavior. Pat Bourke makes real to younger readers the terror of being struck with an epidemic little understood by the public at the time.” — Susie Bookworm, March 12, 2012

“Enjoy the book....I certainly did and benefited from the history lesson. I definitely enjoyed the interaction among the characters. This would make a great discussion in a classroom in terms of how today’s youth would feel about the way the characters reacted to each other and how illnesses are treated differently today.” — Silver’s Reviews, March 20, 2012

“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 Magazine, January 20, 2012

“The main characters are finely drawn, especially Meredith, who chafes at being treated as a servant, and Maggie, who is the epitome of a pampered, self-centered young teen.” — School Library Journal, April 1, 2012

Other titles by Pat Bourke