Chinese immigration explored in educational, entertaining 'Fire Horse Girl'
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Almost everyone knows about immigration. It's happening all over the U.S. at any given time.
Most people think of Ellis Island in New York City when they think about immigration, but that's not the only place for it. One of the biggest immigration stations was Angel Island off San Francisco, which is where most of the Chinese immigrants in the 1920s came in.
"Fire Horse Girl" by Kay Honeyman is set in the 1920s, at first in China, then in Angel Island and San Francisco. Jade Moon, her father and a boy named Sterling Promise wish to immigrate to America to start their new life.
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse Girl, which is considered the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for a girl. She is spirited, headstrong and what is considered too outspoken for a Chinese girl in the 1920s.
This makes her a great character because she often does things without thinking, which makes the story more interesting. She is also more outspoken than her family thinks she should be, so she is an outcast in both her family and her village in China. This gives her a reason to want to go to America, where she could start over and where she wouldn't just be a Fire Horse Girl.
Sterling Promise is witty, cunning and slightly untrustworthy. He is the one who gets the trip to America started. He sets it all up for them.
Honeyman vividly describes what went on at Angel Island for Chinese immigrants and how they got to go to America. By reading the book, you can learn, without realizing it, about Angel Island and Chinese immigration into America. And you can do it in a fun way without it even feeling like it is learning.
Honeyman makes Jade Moon's journey to America both thrilling and educating. Her excitement, worry and fear are all felt by readers as if it were their own. As the reader, you share the journey with Jade Moon, and you feel how she feels.
All of the facts that Honeyman uses in "Fire Horse Girl" are historically correct and particularly interesting. I didn't know about a lot of the things that Jade Moon goes through trying to get to America.
"Fire Horse Girl" is interesting, educational and a very good read. It's exciting and full of wonder about whether Jade Moon will get into America, and if so, if she will do well. I recommend it to anyone who likes history, a little romance and a little bit of action.