This is the inspiring story of two friends who live through the dark days of World War II. Nina and Gordon were born in the San Joaquin Valley town of Merced. Their story begins in this quiet setting of rural California as the clouds of war with Japan threaten the nation.
Nina's mother is a teacher in a local elementary school. Her father is a county social worker. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her father enlists in the U.S. Army Air Corps and is sent to training camps across the country before being stationed in England.
Nina's story is typical of the disrupted life visited upon millions of families because of the war. The measures her mother and grandparents take keep the family together and safe. Nina and her mom travel by train to be near her father during his training. When he departs for England, they return home to live out the war with her grandparents.
Gordon's parents are established farmers in the area. His father, a Japanese immigrant, is married to an American-born daughter of Japanese parents. Following Pearl Harbor, his family is forcibly evacuated and imprisoned in an internment camp in Colorado. His story encompasses the upheaval caused by the evacuation, the humiliation of being identified as enemy aliens, and the weight of life ringed by barbed-wire fences and guard towers.
Nina's and Gordon's story is ultimately about friendship, with each standing up for the other during hard times. Nina and Gordon remain close through letter writing and reunite near the end of the war. But just as Gordon begins to thrive in school, Nina suffers a life-changing upheaval of her own.
While their lives are dramatically different during World War II because of racial prejudice, their friendship holds together, in part, through the presence and power of their mothers.