Twelve-year-old Ko Bo Bo lives with his uncle U Ba in Kalaw, a town in Burma. An unusually perceptive child, Bo Bo can read people's emotions in their eyes. This acute sensitivity only makes his unconventional home life more difficult: His father comes to visit him once a year, and he can hardly remember his mother, who, for unclear reasons, keeps herself away from her son.
Everything changes when Bo Bo discovers the story of his parents' great love, which threatens to break down in the whirlwind of political events, and of his mother's mysterious sickness. Convinced that he can heal her and reunite their family, Bo Bo decides to set out in search of his parents.