The Thomsons - parents Thomas and Francie, and children Willa, Arthur and Beatrice (nicknamed Booky) - are a loving working class family living in Depression era Toronto. The Thomsons, like many families, have hit hard times as Thomas can't find steady work. Fifteen year old Booky takes the family situation in stride, being matter-of-fact about being poor. Beyond her loving family, there are some things about her life she likes, such as being the president of her local Deanna Durbin fan club, and going out with a boy named Lorne. But there are also some things she doesn't like, such as the food served in the free lunch program, and the potentially serious medical issue which sends her away to her Aunt Aggie's farm for a short while. Based on some encouraging words by her new English teacher, Mr. Jackson, Booky wants to become a writer. She gets a chance to meet famed Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, who offers her own advice to the young aspiring writer. However, Francie teaches Booky that although advice is good, passion and belief in oneself is more important. Booky also learns on her own that humility is a trait worth aspiring to.