It's springtime in Philadelphia, and Addy and her parents have moved from the garret into a boarding house. There Addy finds a wise and inspiring friend, M'dear. Like many people who grew up enslaved, Addy doesn't know when she was born. M'dear encourages Addy to claim a special day for her birthday, but no day seems just right. One day, M'dear falls ill. When Addy and Sarah take a streetcar to get medicine for her, they face prejudice - and danger. M'dear helps Addy overcome her anger and hurt and gives her a deeper understanding of freedom. When Addy finally claims a birthday, she has grown in many ways. Her birthday is a special day indeed, and the whole city celebrates.