A peaceful, tropical world is the setting for Morning Girl, a simple yet rich glimpse into the lives of a young sister and brother. Morning Girl and Star Boy grapple with timeless, universal issues such as experiencing simultaneous anger and love toward family members and the quest to discover the true self. As all siblings do, these children respond to, play off of, and learn from each other. Precisely where Morning Girl and Star Boy are growing up is not revealed, but it's clearly a place where the residents have no modern amenities.
Living in harmony with nature is a necessary priority here, and--given the descriptive names of the characters--a Native Indian culture seems likely. But not until the epilogue do readers discover that the story takes place in 1492. Suddenly we realize that the strange-looking visitors Morning Girl welcomes to shore are not as harmless as they may appear. The excerpt from Christopher Columbus's journal provides an ominous footnote: these gentle people, who seem so very much like us, will not be permitted their idyllic existence much longer.