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Many of Miss Kiet's pupils are refugees who have just arrived in Holland. Everything is new and confusing. Some are quarrelsome and headstrong. But Miss Kiet's firm but loving hand brings calm and awakens interest. She not only teaches her pupils to read and write Dutch, but also helps them learn to solve problems together and respect one another.
Slowly the children gain skills and confidence. Haya is at first impetuous, yet fearful. Little by little, Miss Kiet helps her to find her friendly side. Leanne is quiet and lonely. But after a few months she able to tell everyone, in Dutch, that she loves Branche. Jorj has trouble sleeping and is unruly. His little brother Maksim has terrible nightmares.
Miss Kiet's tenacity helps Jorj discover that learning can be worthwhile and even fun.