Eleven-year-old Ruthie has been placed into a children's home, due to her mother's illness. She is a girl with a strong and loving heart, even though she was abandoned by her father when she was just a baby. While in the home, Ruthie longs to be reunited with her mother and finds it hard to adjust to life in the home. Pamela, who is thirteen, makes friends with Ruthie, which makes living in the home a lot easier. Then Ruthie meets Joe, who is 12 years old, and discovers that he has plans to run away. This idea is very interesting to Ruthie. She has many adventures with Pamela, Joe and other children in the home, all under the watchful eyes of Miss Johnson, the head matron, and overseer. During this time, with the supervision of a friendly social worker, Mrs. Teaman, she is allowed to visit with her mother and an ailing old aunt, who lives in a rest home. She accidentally finds out, from this aunt, that she has living grandparents. Her mother had never told her of them, because they were her father's parents. Ruthie finds out where they live and writes them a letter, which results in some life changing events for herself, and her mother.