After her family with Native American roots moves to a segregated rural town in Georgia, ten-year-old Lena Hopkins wishes for a better life. She disagrees with her younger brother’s exploration of the forbidden swamp and deep ditches for treasure. She especially objects to his imitation of older boys’ cussing and rude behaviors.
Lena, wants to be a scientist in a world that does not educate females and has little regard for the poor. The kids attend a tiny county school lacking sufficient teachers, books, and ambition. Lena struggles with asthma, segregation, history, and crime in a town whose residents refuse to accept diverse military families. Lena starts to believe that moving to Georgia was a mistake. Still, she is determined to save her new friends. The children cope with vandals, prejudiced town folk and a polio pandemic that leads to a chain of events changing their lives.
In this juvenile novel, a military family moves to a rural Georgian town where the children seek friends, fight discrimination, and help others with kindness and respect.