After being adopted by Michael's family and moving from Mexico to Dallas, Javier tries to adapt to life in the United States but realizes he misses his old life in Vera Cruz, Mexico.
While spending the summer on his grandparents' Texas cotton farm, Michael sees a teenage boy on the other side of the Rio Grande in Mexico. He starts to write letters to Javier, and then helps him cross the river to come into the United States.
Doreen, a young Gypsy girl, struggles with both her own prejudices and those of others when she becomes separated from her family and is cared for by two sisters who insist she attend school regularly.
When the secret that Patrick can't read comes to light, he begins to conquer his learning disability using his imagination and interest in race cars.
Cassie, who is spending the summer with her aunt while her parents go through a divorce, becomes friends with Joey, a boy in a wheelchair who lives nearby with his grandmother.
Gabby finds herself in a courageous situation when she is exploring the causeway and thinking about things that are bothering her. Someone needs help and she's the only one around who knows the causeway well enough to save the person.
Embarrassed by his father's deafness and bullied by kids at school, P.J. Ramos finds strength in a new friendship, a chessboard, and an army of tiny soldiers.