Dominic Cantori is an orphan. Ashamed of his situation, he avoids making friends for fear of exposing his terrible secret. One day on a class trip to Ellis Island, a tour guide asks everyone about their families. Terrified of having to answer, Dominic immediately flees from the class and hides in a closet, where he falls asleep for hours.
When he wakes up, the museum is deserted. Lonely and afraid, he picks up one display telephone after another, listening to the recorded voices of immigrants who describe their lives in faraway countries and their journeys to Ellis Island. To Dominic's surprise, the voice of an old Italian immigrant speaks directly to him! Before he knows it, he's transported back in time—to Italy in 1908. There, he unlocks the door to his past and discovers just what it feels like to be loved by his own family.