What is The Poppy Story Book?
The Poppy Story Book is a beautiful, full-colour illustrated, paperback book aimed at children aged 4-7 years old and tells the story of the Poppy and Remembrance, with particular reference to Scotland.
The book is based around the famous poem, In Flanders Fields written by Lt Col John McCrae (Canadian WW1 doctor, soldier and poet) which prompted the use of the poppy as the national symbol of Remembrance after the First World War (1914 -1918). The book is designed to help adults and teachers explain the impact and significance of past and recent conflicts and the importance of the poppy from a Scottish perspective.
In October 2018, The Poppy Story Book was distributed free by Poppyscotland Learning to 1914 Scottish primary schools, 494 public libraries and 58 mobile libraries throughout Scotland.
The evocative and accessible illustrations within the book are by Alfredo Belli, who has illustrated many books such as Speed Bonnie Boat, charting Bonnie Prince Charlie’s flight from Culloden over the sea to the safe shelter on the Isle of Skye and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Since the publication of The Poppy Story Book we have translated the book into Gaelic and helped the Royal Blind School create their own Braille version.
The Poppy Story Online Flipbooks
How to Buy The Poppy Story Book
The paperback version of The Poppy Story book, ideal for 4-7 year olds, is now available to buy at £6.99 (+ postage) by clicking the button below:
You can also buy it on-board our ‘Bud’ truck as it tours around the country over the next 4 years.
We hope The Poppy Story Book will create opportunities for inter-generational engagement, whereby older family members can discuss with young people their or other family member’s experiences of conflict, either as a combatant or a civilian speaking about how they were impacted.
What is Remembrance?
Remembrance is not a simple concept, but a constellation of meanings, symbols, emotions, traditions, memories, histories and narratives, both tangible and intangible. To help understand, the poppy was developed as a simple but universally-recognised symbol: to help us comprehend the cost of war and remember and show compassion to those who were and continue to be affected. However, it also represents our capacity for hope and renewal, even in the most appalling circumstances and our desire for a positive future and peaceful world.
The Poppy Story Book in Braille
In October 2019 were contacted by Karen Osterloh, a librarian at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, who asked us if we could help her make a braille copy of ‘The Poppy Story’ – read the article here to learn more:
Thanks to our funders
We would like to thank the Historic Environment Scotland and the KMF Maxwell Stuart Charitable Trust for bringing this important project to fruition and for allowing us to bring the story of the poppy and the need for ongoing remembrance, to future generations.
This is a significant project was undertaken to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, offering a new resource to schools to help educate many young students across the country about the effects of war.
We would like to extend our thanks also to the Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC) who were hugely supportive of the project and have actively promoted the book on their website.
What you told us
The feedback we have received from teachers and the public about The Poppy Story has been hugely positive. A teacher from Fife told us:
“We used the book and thought it covered the relevant topics comprehensively and sensitively. To commemorate 100 years we worked closely with the ex-servicemen’s club next to the school – creating artwork for display in the club and holding a remembrance service there for children. Both the book and the community link added to the children’s and their parents understanding.”
Libraries also contacted us to pass on thanks for the donation of the book.
One response we received told us that the had book opened up conversations within families and brought stories to the fore, so that the impact of the Great War took on a personal resonance rather than just being an historical event long in the past:
“I want to thank you for the book. I gave it to my two nieces (ages 7 and 9) and my mum read the book to them. They loved it and were full of questions. One of the things my mum told them was that her grandad had lost an eye in WW1 – something that I had never known! Mum’s grandad was never talked about much because he was an alcoholic and walked out on his wife and children, leaving them living in a Leith tenement. This forced my grandad (aged 12) to become the man of the family at which point he got his first pair of shoes, went out and got a job! I asked more about my great-grandad and it turns out he was raised by Barnardo’s and then signed up as a regular solider when he was 16, eventually being deployed to France after the war started. After everything he had been through, it’s now hardly surprising that he would bury his pain in alcohol and that he wasn’t able to continue supporting his family after discharge. The family never acknowledged him after that and my grandad didn’t like to talk about him. As far as we know he never formed a new relationship of any significance – my grandad was sent his very limited personal effects (including his glass eye!) when he died. For the first time, I’m grateful to my great- grandad for the sacrifices he made.”