Growing up in the Polish village of Tamogrod on the fringes of a deep pine forest gives Mala the happiest childhood she could have hoped for. But, when the German invation begins, her beloved village becomes a ghetto and her family and friends are reduced to starvation. She takes matters into her own hands, sneaking out to the surrounding villages to barter for food. It is on her way back she sees her loved ones rounded up for deportation and receives a smuggled letter from her sister warning her to stay away. With only her cat, Malach, and the strength of the stories taught by her family, she walks away from everything she holds dear.