In the wake of the Night of Broken Glass in November 1938, the Finkelsteins, a Jewish couple, decide to flee Germany and manage to get hold of first-class tickets onboard a ship to Shanghai for themselves and their nine-year-old daughter Inge. What is a terrifying ordeal for her parents spells great adventure for Inge. She encourages her parents to get to grips with their new home country, the strange people and the impossibly difficult language – not to mention the writing. And her efforts are not entirely in vain. Her father gets a job in a German pastry shop and Mrs Finkelstein opens a small sewing shop.
While her parents struggle to make ends meet, Inge conquers the city, its inhabitants and the language in the company of her friend Sanmao. At the end of the war, the Finkelsteins leave Shanghai and set off for the USA, but Inge remains in the city with Sanmao, as she has come to love them both.
Includes maps of the city, an time chart, an explanation of Chinese calligraphy and a glossary.