Kay Honeyman recently penned a book for young adults about a Chinese girl whose immigration to the United States is fraught with heartbreak, desperation and struggle, yet empowered by a Mulan-esque doggedness and resolve, and instances of human kindness. In “The Fire Horse Girl,” the Lake Highlands resident and Fort Worth native displays a seemingly intimate understanding of the immigrants’ journey to America via Angel Island off the coast of San Francisco, which includes languishing for months and even years — enduring medical examinations and interrogations — on the so-called “Ellis Island of the West.” The subject became particularly interesting to Honeyman, a teacher in the Highland Park school district, when in 2010 she began the process of adopting a child from China. “I started thinking about migration and looking into the stories of Angel Island, which were truly captivating.” As for her main character, Jade Moon, the fiery child born under the dreaded Chinese zodiac sign Fire Horse, Honeyman says the girl resembles some women she knows. “She’s like a lot of women in my family,” Honeyman says, citing the protagonist’s strength and strong will. There’s nothing wrong with a certain amount of willfulness, this middle-school teacher believes. In fact, when her adoption caseworker sent a photo of 3-year-old Jack, Honeyman warmed to the fact that orphanage staffers had checked the box “obstinate” on his paperwork. “I knew he was perfect for our family of pot-stirrers,” she says. Last year Honeyman and her husband adopted a second child from China, and she is working on a second book, which will be about small-town Texas politics.
THE FIRE HOUSE GIRL BY KAY HONEYMAN
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
$17.99 on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or other major book stores.