Bronia is only three years old when her father, Joseph Balicki, is arrested and taken to a Nazi prison camp and her mother, Margrit, is taken away by German soldiers.
Bronia and her two siblings, Ruth and Edek, then find themselves at the mercy of the elements and the Nazi occupation forces. Edek takes to stealing food and necessities for his siblings until he is arrested for having butter in his possession. This leaves Ruth and Bronia to survive as best they can without him; however, with Ivan, the Russian sentry's help, both girls are soon able to trace Edek to a refugee feeding station at Posen.
Together at last, all three siblings make their way to Berlin by train; a long journey and many treacherous adventures transpire before they are eventually reunited with their parents.
The story tells us that, after the war, the Balickis become house parents for the Polish House in an international children's village in Switzerland. It is during this time that Bronia starts drawing pictures. Her pictures initially constitute drawings of 'ruined buildings, soldiers, and field kitchens.' As time progresses, her artistic endeavors focus on happier subjects such as 'the lake and the Swiss mountains.'
It is apparent that Bronia's drawings are a form of therapy for her. They allow her to process her fears and other negative emotions deriving from the war and her traumatic experiences. Art becomes a cathartic and healing element in her life.