THE POPPY LADY by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh


Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans
Age Range: 7 - 10
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Imbued with an unwavering sense of duty and patriotism, a woman conceives a lasting tribute to war veterans.

Georgia schoolteacher Moina Michael, deeply saddened at the outbreak of World War I, wanted to help departing soldiers. She rolled bandages, knitted socks and sweaters, and boosted morale by delivering books, food and goodwill. These efforts, even combined with waving farewell at train stations, weren’t enough; Michael yearned to do more. Working with the YMCA in New York City, she offered support and kindness to soldiers. A chance rereading of the famous wartime poem “In Flanders Fields,” with its images of poppies on graves, galvanized Michael into action, and she devoted herself to seeing that a red poppy became a symbol to memorialize the war dead. Her idea eventually led to the public distribution of paper poppies to raise funds for veterans and military families, a tradition that continues in some communities. Michael’s moral force and commitment are commendable and noteworthy, but this is a well-meaning, though only serviceably written, overwrought book that will resonate more with adults. Children of military families may take it more to heart than other youngsters, especially those unfamiliar with the tradition. The heroic oil paintings are colorful, and Michael looks nothing less than beatific.

Of possible interest where poppies are distributed around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. (prologue, epilogue, author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59078-754-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012


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