Dear Canada: A step back in time


If I Die Before I Wake

If I Die Before I Wake
The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor

By Jean Little

ISBN: 978-0-439-98837-3 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4431-2402-7 Ebook
240 pages | Ages 9-12 | 5 3/8" x 7 5/8"

Fiona comes from a large and loving family where she, her older sisters and her mother are all twins. But soon her loving family is torn apart as the Spanish flu is brought to Canada by soldiers returning from fighting overseas in World War I. Fiona turns to her diary, pouring out her fears as her sisters fall ill with the deadly disease. Will Fee lose those dear to her?

Read an excerpt Read the reviews Send us a reveiw

From Fiona's diary:


My bones were right. Fanny is here. She is alive but terribly ill. She got brought home from Aunt Jessica's a week or so ago because their son George caught the Flu and was sent home from university. We don't know how he is today. But Fanny got feverish a few days after she arrived home. Soon after that, she was burning up. Grandmother, who likes to make things sound as bad as possible, told me this and added that the doctor said fever was the first stage of the Flu. Next Fanny would start choking on phlegm and come down with pneumonia. "I am sorry to have to tell you this, Fiona, but you need to be prepared," she began. "There isn't much hope . . . "

I pushed her out of the way, Jane, and rushed up to our room. They said I must not go in but Fanny fixed that by calling out my name in a hoarse voice. I marched right past Aunt, who was doing her best to stop me in my tracks. I did not take time to think. I just did what I knew I should.

The worst moment, almost, was when I came to her bedside and she did not know me. She stared at me with big glassy eyes and called out, "Fee. I need Fee."

I wanted to hug her but Aunt would not let me get close until I put on a mask. She wears one every time she goes near Fan. Of course, I did not look like myself in the mask, but at last she knew my voice and gripped my hands with her thin fingers. Oh, Jane, her pretty hands are like claws.

They tried to order me out but Fanny cried out for me again. It was terrible. She seemed to quiet a bit while I held her hands in mine. Aunt still tried to argue with me but she is too tired to do battle. Theo is not allowed even in the doorway of her room.

The doctor told us he thought Fanny was nearing the crisis. "It might be tonight," he said. "Once their faces . . . "

He did not finish but it was bad news, I could tell. Her face had turned a greyish colour. He sounded so like the doctor in Little Women, but this is not just a story.

Jane, I sit here in Fanny's room. I can hardly bear to look at her. She is grey and her breath rasps and gurgles and wheezes. She has lost pounds. Her face is all hollow and a dark colour. A bluish grey. That is one of the symptoms of this Flu, Aunt said. Nobody is saying the word but we all know. So many have died, but not my Fan. I will not leave her whatever anyone says. I am giving her some of my strength. I can't make them understand, Jane, but I must stay or she might leave me. I vow, here and now, that I will not let her go.

From Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake, copyright © 2007 by Jean Little.


I loved this book sooooo much. When I read it the first time I could not put it down. I have reread this book many times and even shared it with my Mom, and Grama. They both loved it to! I have read the whole entire Dear Canada series and loved them all. This book was my favorite! I collect as many of the books as I can and wait anxiously for the next book in the series.
Emily B., Age 15, British Columbia, Rating: 10

This was one of the best books I've ever read! So exiting, it made me stand up out of my seat. So sad, it made me cry. I loved it!
Anna R., Age 9, Alberta, Rating: 10

I love this book. I've read it about 3 times! It taught me so much about that time and about Fiona. Now in social I'm learning about the flu so it's really cool. And in a couple of years my sister is going to read it.........I LOVE YOU Jean Little!! sincerely, Chantal T
Chantal T., Age 11, Alberta, Rating: 10

SPOILER ALERT If I Die Before I Wake was an amazing book. I got it at the school library. It was sad because Fiona's sister dies, but I would recommend it completely. A great job, Dear Canada!
Maya R., Age 9, Rating: 10

SPOILER ALERT THIS IT THE BEST BOOK I EVER READ! I love how Fiona isn't afraid to stand up to her grandmother and Dulcie. It is very sad that her sister Jemma DIED, and how Fanny almost died. The best Dear Canada book I've read. Yet…
Asia L., Age 10, Nova Scotia, Rating: 10

I like this book because Fiona puts a lot of emotion into her diary and I am an emotional person.
Taylor W., Age 10, Ontario, Rating: 7

I have read three Dear Canada books so far Brothers Far From Home, To Stand On My Own and my favorite out of all of them would have to be If I Die Before I Wake. This particular Dear Canada book has an amazing story line from the perspective of a girl named Fiona Mcgregor. I love love love this book so much and I think every one should read it. It is the best book I have ever read in my whole entire life, I am only eleven years old but still that is pretty old. Well anyways I recommend this book to everyone.
Laura P., Age 11, Ontario, Rating: 10

If I Die Before I Wake is my favourite Dear Canada. I'm reading it right now. Today in the book it said THE WAR IS OVER and I thought that it was so cool. Thank you so much for making Dear Canadas and I think I am going to make my first Dear Canada book ever. Good-Bye.
Jessie W., Age 9, Newfoundland and Labrador, Rating: 9

I really liked this book because there was a lot going on and it was very touching to me.
Jordanah N., Age 11, Alberta, Rating: 9

I cried for days after I read this!!!!! Out of all the Dear Canada Books I have (24) I have to say No Safe Harbour and If I Die Before I Wake are by far the best and saddest! When I found out that the H1N1 revolved from the Spanish flu I cried because of the thought that so many people died from it when to us now it is just like the common cold... lol crying right now!
Darcey P., Age 11, Ontario, Rating: 10

This book is very touching and amazing i just love it !!!!!!!!!!! <3333 I love all the Dear Canada books.
Lisa G., Age: 13, Ontario, Rating: 10

This was a great book! I got it for my birthday and I immediately started reading it. I really like how Fiona really fights to keep her sister alive, and that she stands up to Dulcie Trimmer. I really wish they could make Dear Canada books into movies! I really great job from Dear Canada!
Addison E., Age: 13., Ontario Rating: 10

I love Dear Canada books! But I think this book is one of best books I ever read.....Please NEVER stop making these books
Camryn C., Age: 11, Ontario, Rating: 10

I have read many Dear Canada books but this one was my favorite. It was so interesting and had so many things going on. Thanks for making such great books I plan on reading the whole series :) never stop writing!
Sarah M., Age: 13, British Columbia, Rating: 10

Maybe I've never had a sibling die or a war break out in my country, but these books mean so much to me. I find they make history a lot more real; showing the feelings of girls our age who were going through these times. Especially this one, If I Die Before I Wake, shows me in such vivid details how that time really was.
Carmen G., Age: 12, Rating: 10

I never thought I would read a better book and love a part of history so much. Jean Little has a true gift for writing.
Chloe D., Age: 12, Nova Scotia, Rating: 10