Twelve year old Bird Gardner lives a quiet and circumspect existence with his loving but broken father, a talented linguist now relegated to shelving books in Harvard's library. He knows not to ask too many questions, stand out too much, stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to re-locate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as un-patriotic -- including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him through the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, into an underground resistance network of librarians, into the lives of the many children who have been taken, and finally to New York, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can turn a blind eye to the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power -- and limitations -- of art to create change in the world, what being a good parent really means, and how any of us can survive with a heart beating inside.