The Poppy Lady : Moina Belle Michael and her tribute to veterans

The Poppy Lady : Moina Belle Michael and her tribute to veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh

Moina Belle Michael was teaching at the University of Georgia’s Normal School in 1917, when her country entered the first World War. Vowing to do what she could for the “lads” in uniform, she began by knitting socks and rolling bandages. Later she took a position in New York City, where she helped departing soldiers. Inspired by McCrae’s poem beginning “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” Michael launched a successful campaign encouraging people to wear poppies in honor of fallen soldiers. An epilogue brings the story up-to-date. Inspired by Walsh’s father’s contact with Michael when he was a solider in World War II, this informative picture book is based on original interviews as well as Michael’s book The Miracle Flower (1941), articles, and websites. Rich with color, Johnson’s narrative paintings portray Michael’s life and times with warmth, drama, and attention to detail. Teachers looking for a heartfelt alternative to the familiar, too-often-pedestrian children’s books on Veterans Day and Memorial Day may want to introduce their students to the compassionate, determined “Poppy Lady.” Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan