In Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, twelve-year-old Dit hopes the new postmaster will have a son his age, but instead he meets Emma, who is black, and their friendship challenges accepted ways of thinking and leads them to save the life of a condemned man.
In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.
When eleven-year-old Violet runs away from home in 1918 and takes the train to New York City to find her older sister who is a suffragist, she falls in with people her parents would call "the wrong sort," and ends up in Nashville, Tennessee, where "Suffs" and "Antis" are gathered, awaiting the crucial vote on the nineteenth amendment.
When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Joe Hamada and his family face growing prejudice, eventually being torn away from their home and sent to a relocation camp in California, even as his older brother joins the United States Army to fight in the war.
After twelve-year-old Sumiko and her Japanese-American family are relocated from their flower farm in southern California to an internment camp on a Mojave Indian reservation in Arizona, she helps her family and neighbors, becomes friends with a local Indian boy, and tries to hold on to her dream of owning a flower shop.