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What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris
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What the Fireflies Knew

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What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris
Paperback $17.00
Feb 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780593185360

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    Feb 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780593185360

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    Mar 22, 2022 | ISBN 9780593556580

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  • Feb 01, 2022 | ISBN 9780593185353

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  • Feb 01, 2022 | ISBN 9780593510971

    516 Minutes

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“Harris rewrites the coming-of-age story with Black girlhood at the center.”
New York Times Book Review

“[A] sensitive, realistic portrait of a ten-year-old trying to understand her world in the wake of her father’s death. Sent to spend the summer with a grandfather she barely knows, she contends with her losses and fears while learning more about her family, finding her own voice in the process.”
The Washington Post

“[What the Fireflies Knew] is not an easy read . . . but it feels authentic, and does what good fiction does: takes readers on a journey they otherwise wouldn’t travel.”
—Associated Press

What the Fireflies Knew is the best novel I have read in a long time, and Harris has brilliantly captured KB’s voice. She jumps off the page so strongly that I was invested not only from the first page but, indeed, the first sentence.”
—Free Lance-Star

“Harris’s story helped me remember what it was like to be a young Black girl on the border of adolescence.” 
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Combining complex characters, writing that instantly penetrates your heart, and the restorative power of nature, What the Fireflies Knew is a luminous reminder that sometimes the only true path to healing is through facing our painful histories, and that we don’t have to do it alone. With a debut novel this remarkable, Kai Harris is a writer I hope is around for a long, long time.”
—Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author of Black Buck

What the Fireflies Knew is a fabulous debut and truly a gem of a novel, full of the beauty, tenderness, and poignancy of Black girlhood.”
—Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

What the Fireflies Knew is sharp and graceful, poignant in its depiction of a family learning to acknowledge what’s been broken in order to piece itself back together. Kai Harris beautifully captures what it feels like to be out of place—in a city, in a body, in a family, in the turmoil of adolescence—and then just as gracefully reminds us what it can feel like to find your way back to yourself in spite of everything. This book introduces a bold and necessary new writer, generous in her capacity for holding onto hope without erasing trauma.”
—Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

“In this gorgeous and poignant novel, Kai Harris writes a stunningly crafted tale that explores the beauty and hard truths of life, loss, and survival through the lens of an unforgettable narrator. This story of a young black girl navigating the labyrinth of self and family secrets is told in an authentic voice, filled with well-observed details and elegant prose. Harris’s first novel showcases her gift as a superb storyteller.” 
—Nicole Dennis-Benn, bestselling author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun

“Kai Harris’s fierce, lyrical writing drew me in from the first page. KB is an unforgettable narrator whose voice comes vibrantly to life through her journey from childhood to adulthood, even as she grapples with the forces that tear families apart and the power that holds them together. This is an extraordinary, powerful debut, and I hope there will be more to come from Harris.”
Abi Daré, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl with the Louding Voice

“A story of Black girlhood from a promising new voice in fiction.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Kai Harris’s debut novel is a stirring story of a transformative summer for a Black girl growing up in 1990s Michigan. . . . This elegant and eloquent novel is perfect for readers who loved Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.”

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