The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans
Written by: Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
Illustrated by: Layne Johnson
Calkins Creek Books, 2012
Suitable For Ages: 5-9
Themes/Topics: Memorial Day, veterans, poppies, Flanders Fields
Opening: “March 1917. German U-boats had sunk another American ship – and the nation was outraged! Would the president call for war? Would Congress agree? Moina Belle Michael prayed not…”
Watch the Book Trailer
Brief Synopsis: An earnest tribute to the dedication of Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia who was inspired by a poem to launch a national campaign establishing the red poppy as the symbol of sacrifice and courage of America’s soldiers.
While searching through her father’s WWII memorabilia, ten year old Barbara Elizabeth Walsh found a postcard addressed to her mother with a red poppy pinned to one corner. Her father explained who “The Poppy Lady” was and how kind she had been to him and his soldier buddies during the war. Decades later, Barbara was inspired to research Moira’s story and write this beautiful, moving book for children. Layne Johnson’s light-bathed illustrations are soft and luminous.
Links To Resources:
Make red paper poppies
Read the poem In Flanders Fields
Monday, May 26, 2014 is Memorial Day in the United States.
Participate in a parade, visit a cemetery, and thank a veteran.
Why I Like This Book:
It’s an multi-award nominee!
Bank Street College of Education for Best Books (2013), TriState Young Adult Book Review Committee for Books of Note (2013), Eureka! Silver Award (California Reading Association (2013).
A portion of the book’s proceeds will support the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple®, which benefits children of the U.S. military.
As a child, I loved buying and wearing red poppies on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. It was as much a part of our family tradition as attending the town parade and planting geraniums at the cemetery. Sadly, it has become far less common to find poppies being sold, and I have often resorted to asking local friends on Facebook to let me know where I can buy them! I am grateful for Barbara’s lovely book telling Moina’s story and ensuring that the red poppy tribute will endure.
For a complete list of great books with resources, please visit Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Happy Memorial Day!