Deza Malone, 12 years old, comes from a deeply loving close-knit family. Deza's family's journey "to a place called Wonderful" begins in Gary, Ind. Deza is the smartest kid in her class. Singled out for greatness by her teachers. But the Great Depression hits Gary hard and there are no jobs for black men.
In 1947, the year of the Boar in the Chinese calendar, Shirley Temple Wong (an American name she chose for herself) leaves with her mother from China to come to America. They are coming to live with Mr. Wong, who has been working and preparing a home for them. Everything is unfamiliar in coming to a new country.