It's 1917, and nine-year-old Emma is growing up in the Montana Hill Country with Mama, Dad, and two brothers. She helps Mama make bread, feeds the chickens, and hauls armloads of wood to the big box by the kitchen stove. But she's small for her age, and her bossy big brother won't stop teasing her. Now Mama is ill, and Emma is scared. Without Mama, their little house would be lonely and sad. One day she climbs up to her special seat in the old bent pine tree on the hill. To her amazement, she sees in the clouds a golden palace with shining towers, and she knows it's in heaven. Right then, she decides that if Mama goes to heaven, she wants to go too. This story was inspired by a memoir the author's mother wrote about her childhood in Montana.