Lida is the main child.
Manchuria is China and hard. Many peoples refugee there and Japan controlled. Lida and her mother are Russian and escape violence in Russian Revolution. Lida sings good and loves Jimmy from U.S. They will have marry some day and mail letters, but Lida stops getting them. When traveling to sing. Lida sees friends in Harbin and Shanghai. She sees the Platova, Mother Abbess, and Mme. Militza. Mainly Lida worrys for Jimmy, because must marry to be happy. Glafira marrys George and they are happy with brothers in Australia. Mother Abbess even wants to marry, but she dies. Jimmy has accident in hospital and Lida sad and sick but Leon downstairs send her letters. Lida writes Jimmy how that Leon asked her to marry and Jimmy doesn't write until he leaves so she choose. Leon is in Spain and Mrs. Clark finds out about Jimmy to help Lida to go to U.S.
Before Lida leave, her home flooded. Piano can't be sold. Rooms Mother rent are full of peoples without house, so Lida has no money to leave. Lida's friend Alla is sick because her mother did not like her husband. They stay with Lida but Alla dies. "Fate deprived Alla of many pleasures in life now refused her even the traditional accessory of death." (Fedorova 340). The city was under water. People moved in boats and tubs and rafts. With no place to bury Alla. Mother sew her in sackcloth and she in General took body on boat to Hei-ho river and push her in. Japan soldiers sit in boats over fences because of blockade. The town is almost dry when Second World War happens. Russians have party for Lida because Miss Clark pays for boat. Lida travels with Mr. Rind and Professor Kremenetz, but she is careful without Japanese permission. Mr Rind is American but Professor Kremenetz is Russian and says "A Russian girl is almost ridiculous in her devotion. A Russian heart is the pathetic heart of a child rushing for an illusion, hurting himself and others - still refusing to take reality as it is." (Fedorova 375). Lida gets to Seattle and Jimmy buys her oranges.
Everyone is child and Russian child have to learn. Many learn in The Children. The Shanghai student are get impressed by Lida and come see her sing. The boys stop changing Mme. Militza's sign and bring her flowers because a book told them how. Nikitka's mother rents him to Mrs. Pitcher and she sends him to school with English. He learns with younger child and then he cheats. No other English students like him and Nikitka gets beat for cheating so he runs away. Comrade Dasha is Communist. She read newspapers for Mr. Rind in Harbin. When Lida watches the frozen river at Christmas, she talks that God means she is never lonely. Dasha laughs because she is atheist. Dasha take Mr. Rind to Communist meeting where she is dead. Dasha saves the speaker from a bullet and has a big funeral because she was a worker. Lida tells Mother Abbess and the mothers pray because Dasha was atheist. Sinner Vera is a liar about everything. Her parents are killed at six years old. Mother Abbess says "To lie is perhaps her way to believe that one can change the facts." (Fedorova 145).
Lida's cousin Dima in England. He can go to U.S. but stays to fight for Mrs. Parrish in England. Dima has plan for children. He writes to Lida and her Mother to tell them about plan. He takes all from all fighting countries and they go to island.