The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (PPBF)

Updating a classic from the archives. Memorial Day 2016 will be observed on Monday, May 30th. This book is a wonderful resource for young readers who are curious about the history of the red poppy tradition. With gratitude for all those who have served, and their families…

bildebok from Cathy Ballou Mealey


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…

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About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at or Twitter @catballoumealey
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17 Responses to The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (PPBF)

  1. Such a beautiful story and perfect for Memorial Day!

  2. I’m so glad to learn some back story to the red poppies tradition! Thank you Cathy!

  3. mariagianferrari says:

    Thank you, Cathy! This looks lovely! Just requested it from the library 🙂

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Cathy!! ❤

  4. What a great find for Memorial Day. I admire the poppy for the very delicate paper-like yet vibrant petals, and the great black center contrast. I’ll put this on my list too!

  5. How fascinating! I wonder why Canadians hand out red poppies on Remembrance Day (Nov 11…which is Veterans Day in the U.S.?) and Americans don’t. I guess all of it leads back to the poem “In Flander’s Field” (I can’t actually remember the title)? I need to read this book!

    • Hmm…not sure but I know Memorial Day has roots that go back to the Civil War – once it was called Decoration Day for the purpose of placing flowers in cemeteries. Veteran’s Day has roots in the Armistice ending WWI so perhaps less US – specific as a celebration? Happy weekend Teres1a

  6. LovableLobo says:

    I’m so fond of these poppies, mostly because my father (a veteran) used to give me his when I was little. Sadly, you don’t see many given out these days. Last year, I happened upon a booth that was handing them out and was thrilled to donate to the cause. The attached tag calls it a “Buddy Poppy” and says “Wear it proudly”. I do. I have read this book and adore the backstory to this tradition.

  7. I remember this one. A fantastic book.

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    Adore this book. I remember when old vets gave out poppies in the US too. Not so much anymore. I enjoyed reading the history behind the tradition and learning a woman had the idea and did so much for vets.

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