After a long stay in a refugee camp, eight-year-old Tanans from Congo arrives at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The boy has fled to the Netherlands with his family. They go by bus to their new home in Spijkenisse, a small town near Rotterdam.
There, a whole new world opens up: from escalators to jars of candy, from children riding bikes to the weird Dutch language with its menacing guttural sounds. Tanans doesn’t understand a word, and he also stares in amazement at all the other new impressions: different colored people, different houses, different food. Fortunately, his classmates and the girl next door help him learn the new words, and maybe he’ll even be able to ride a bike some day!
We follow Tanans closely as he explores his new neighborhood, on his first day of school, meeting new people—right up to the moving conversations with his kind neighbor. As they play with clay and draw together, he gradually gains the courage to tell her more about his background.