• Reviews & Comments

    Publishers Weekly - July 2012

    "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..."

    School Library Journal - October 2012

    "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
    Booklist - October 2012

    "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 soldier 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.'"

    Carolyn Phelan
    Youth Services Book Review - October 2012

    "Having been drawn into the book by such breath-taking imagery, I became incredibly moved by Walsh's story of the determined and inspiring Ms. Michael.  It was truly a rewarding experience to read about Ms. Michael, who having done so much to support the troops overseas and at home during the First World War, used the Poppy as a symbol for all to pay tribute to Veteran's and remember their fallen comrades."

    Kira McGann
    BrodartVibe - August 2012

    "When I was a schoolgirl in the 1940s and 50s, every October at Veterans Day we were either given or encouraged to donate a small sum and received a little artificial red poppy to wear in honor of those who had died in World War I. If this is still going on, I do not know, but Barbara Walsh's picture book The Poppy Lady certainly gives us reason to celebrate and hopefully revive this tradition."

    Cathi Rooth
  • Reviews & Comments


    "Moina Michael is really one of those unsung heroes. Her small act of patriotism has affected people all over the world. This beautifully illustrated book visually leading you through her story will introduce a whole new generation to her amazing life. This all started from a post card and Barbara Walsh worked as hard as Moina herself to make it a success."

    Tina Calhoun
    Producer - Georgia Women of Achievement
    Producer - Georgia Public Broadcasting

    "The enthusiasm, inspiration and service of Moina Michael, the Poppy Lady, have continued to influence and encourage more than half a century since her passing.  The remarkable writing of Barbara Walsh and beautiful illustrations by Layne Johnson revive this unique story for children learning it for the first time.  'The Poppy Lady'  (which I treasure) will propel the charm and the challenge of Moina Michael through future generations."

    Abit Massey
    President Emeritus, Georgia Poultry Federation
    Vice President, Georgia Women of Achievement

    "The Poppy Lady is a beautiful explanation of Miss Moina's efforts to promote the Poppy as a symbol of love and support for the Veterans of World War I. Barbara Walsh's book will instill in our children today the sacrifices veterans made for their countries in World War I and all other Wars. The Historical Society of Walton County applauds Ms. Walsh for the true history that this beautiful book expresses. Miss Moina Michael is proudly remembered as a citizen of Good Hope, Georgia and Walton County for all of her accomplishments in life."

    Gail Huie Smith
    Trustee – Historical Society of Walton County, Monroe, Georgia
    Goodreads - July 2012

    "This book uses simple, direct narrative and rich illustration to restore some of the terror and humanity of the people who went through this difficult time nearly a century ago. The writing skillfully selects episodes to keep the story spare and clean, while the illustrations are historically accurate, rich with color, and filled with human emotion that matches the text."

    Steven Brown
    Goodreads - July 2012

    "A Georgia woman I didn't know anything about, Moina Belle Michael was a determined woman who made her mark in education and serving her country with whatever means was available to her. Her lasting legacy is the establishment of the red poppy as the symbol to remember war veterans during World War I. There is a great deal documentation included in the back of the book for further study."

    Teresa Rolfe
  • Reviews & Comments

    Book Log - December 2012

    "The red poppy remains a strong symbol. The story behind it, its meaning, and the young woman whose motto was 'Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.' is well crafted in this moving biography."

    Southern Sonoma Country Life - November 2012

    "Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and prolific children's book illustrator, Layne Johnson have released a beautiful tribute to America's historic Poppy Lady, a humanitarian and school teacher from Georgia, Moina Belle Michael who singlehandedly launched a campaign to establish as a symbol the red poppy from the First World War torn Fields of Flanders."

    Through the Looking Glass

    "This powerful picture book biography serves as a moving tribute to a woman who did her best to help others. The author’s own father was one of the young men who met Moina and who was touched by her kindness. His stories about Moina encouraged the author to find out more about the 'Poppy Lady' who was beloved by countless soldiers."

    Marya Jansen-Gruber
    The Children's War - November 2012

    "What a wonderful introductory biographical account of Moina Belle Michael's work during and after World War I Barbara Elizabeth Walsh has written about this not well known lady who did so much. Layne Johnson's lavishly detailed oil on canvas painting do much to capture Moina's spirit."

    Catholic Media Review - January 2013

    "This is a very different kind of non-fiction picture book that will be appreciated by any parent who is trying to instill in their children a respect for the troops. The story is about Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, who wanted to do something for the soldiers fighting in World War I."

    Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller
  • Reviews & Comments

    Simply Stacie - April 2013

    "My husband and I think that it is important to teach our children to be respectful of the men and women who protect our nation in the armed forces. While talking about war with young children can be a sensitive topic, it is made much easier with excellent books like The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans."


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