Three kids (Joe, Sarah and Pattie) leave Earth in a space ship with their Dad, just before the planet is destroyed by a natural disaster. Each person on the ship is allowed to bring just one book. It is a four-year voyage, which the passengers mostly spend sleeping and reading. After a few weeks, people start trading books. Everyone makes fun of Pattie, the youngest child aboard, when they discover she brought an empty book as her choice.
Finally the refugees arrive at their new home. The air and water are good, but the vegetation is all very strange and crystalline. Pattie is given the honor of naming their new village. She calls it Shine.
By various experiments, the humans figure out ways to build houses and make lamps to light them. However, all their animals die after eating the local grass. Their earth plants won't grow, either, except for wheat, but even that has a weird look to it. Nobody is sure if they will have enough to eat, and their ship has no fuel to take them anywhere else.
Luckily, Pattie and the other kids, discover that there are "candy trees" with a sweet, edible sap. They also discover that the humans are not alone. A strange moth-people hatch out and hover around, curious but totally unable to communicate.
The wheat harvest comes in. All the grains look like glass beads. Sarah, Pattie's sister, steals a bunch of the grain and makes pancakes with it. The kids all eat them. Everyone is afraid they will die, but they suffer no ill effects. At last, they know they will be able to survive!
The grown-ups need a way to keep track of who gets how much wheat. They want Pattie to give them her blank book, but she protests. In the end, her father takes it and finds it is not blank. Pattie used the book as a diary and wrote down all their experiences in settling Shine.
This report prepared by Deby Fredericks