The year is 1942. Manami, a ten-year old Japanese American girl, lives with her family on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington state. She is very close to her grandfather and her dog, Yujiin. She is happy and has very few worries.
Her life changes drastically after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. There is much distrust of people who do not look American. Manami and her family are made to leave their home and live in a prison camp. Dogs are not allowed, but Manami cannot bear to leave Yujiin and tries to take him with her.
"You cannot pass!"
When Manami loses Yujiin, she also loses her will and ability to speak. Her teacher at the prison camp, Miss Rosalie, befriends her and gives her paper and pencils that she uses to write and draw messages and images to Yujiin. She longs for the return of the life she knew.
As tension builds in the prison camp, Manami's brother, Ron, is arrested for trying to help some of the wild boys. The arrest places stress on every member of the family and forces them to pull together and support each other in the difficult time. The family also support Miss Rosalie who Ron loves. Because it will be dangerous for Ron in the camp, he is transferred.
Not long after Ron's transfer, Manami adopts a stray dog. The dog, Seal, comforts Manami and helps her deal with the absence of her brother. As a result of continued tension, Manami and her family request a transfer to her brother's camp. Manami, who has been silent since she lost Yujiin, finds her voice and speaks when the guard tells her to leave Seal behind.
Manami's family is soon reunited at a new camp. Although life is still different, they are together and they are able to support each other through the challenges that they will face until they are able to return home.