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

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

5.0 1
by Barbara Walsh, Layne Johnson
     
 

Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, successfully established the Flanders Field Memorial Poppy as a universal symbol of tribute and support for veterans and their families during World War I and II. Known as the Poppy Lady, Michael dedicated her life to servicemen and women, buying and placing fresh flowers in rooms where they would gather before

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Overview

Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, successfully established the Flanders Field Memorial Poppy as a universal symbol of tribute and support for veterans and their families during World War I and II. Known as the Poppy Lady, Michael dedicated her life to servicemen and women, buying and placing fresh flowers in rooms where they would gather before heading overseas. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts and primary documents, as well as Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans. To capture the impact Moina's Operation Purple, a program of the National Military Family Association, which benefits children of the U.S. military.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Since WWI, red poppies have been used to commemorate fallen soldiers; Walsh explains why in a glowing tribute to the woman behind the symbol, Moina Belle ?Michael, a professor at the University of ?Georgia who "wanted to do more" for the men in uniform, and who went on to contribute to the war effort in several ways. Johnson's oil paintings offer several dramatically lit, almost beatific portraits of Michael, as well as one scene of a somber WWI battlefield, covered with red poppies and white crosses, the source of Michael's inspiration (along with John McCrae's poem "We Shall Not Sleep"). Ages 7–11. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Since WWI, red poppies have been used to commemorate fallen soldiers; Walsh explains why in a glowing tribute to the woman behind the symbol, Moina Belle Michael. . . Johnson’s oil paintings offer several dramatically lit, almost beatific portraits of Michael" —Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Gr 4–5—Most children have seen red poppies for sale around Veterans Day, but how many of them know how they came to be associated with veterans? During World War I, many American soldiers died fighting near the border of Belgium and France. These men were buried, nameless, in a cemetery called Flanders Field that was memorialized in a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. Red poppies grew wild in the cemetery, and they inspired Michael to honor and remember the men buried there. She began to sell poppies as a way to assist veterans who came home wounded from the war and unable to work. Michael wanted these young men to be remembered and she worked tirelessly to see that they were. While this book is not one that children will necessarily be drawn to on their own, it is one that can be used to talk about Veterans Day, included in a study of World War I, and to foster talk about what it means to serve your country. Johnson's lush and vivid illustrations on oversize spreads depict the world at that time-the soldiers going off to war, the women working on the home front, and period dress. The copious back matter allows students to read further. A portion of the proceeds for this book will go to a charity that supports the needs of children of the military.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590787540
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/01/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
114,117
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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