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.)Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
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, VACopyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.