Northern Afghanistan, 2001.
When the Taliban takes her brother and father to be soldiers and the bombing of her tiny village kills her mother and baby brother, Najmah makes a dangerous journey over the mountains to Pakistan.
Here she meets Elaine, an American woman waiting for her doctor husband to return from the front.
Najmah joins Elaine’s refugee school under the persimmon tree, until, sure that both their families are dead, Elaine tries to persuade her to go to America.
But when Najmah’s brother arrives at the school, still alive, she bravely decides to return with him to the village of their birth.