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What the Fireflies Knew - a moving coming-of-age story.

In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Kenyatta Bernice, who goes by KB, is uprooted from her life in Detroit and is taken, with her older sister Nia, to their grandfather’s house in Lansing, Michigan. Their father has just died of a drug overdose, the family home has been lost and their mother is unable to care for them. The girls barely know their grandfather, who has a hard time warming up to his granddaughters. KB craves the support and companionship of her sister, yet Nia pulls further and further away. Escaping into her book Anne of Green Gables becomes one of the few sources of enjoyment for KB. As weeks go by, KB started getting to know her grandfather and he reveals a bit about the troubled relationship he has had with her mother. KB also faces racism for the first time.


What the Fireflies Knew is a moving coming-of-age story of a young Black girl, which takes place over the course of one defining summer. KB, who is the book’s narrator, is forced to come to terms with some very adult issues. This tender story is a powerful one which I found captivating. I hope author Kai Harris’s beautifully written book finds its way into high school reading lists.


Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Coming-of-Age Fiction.

Publication Date: February 1, 2022.


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