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Journey to New Beginnings

What the Fireflies Knew

Dr. Kai Harris



Told from the perspective of 11-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB), this coming-of-age novel follows KB and her teenage sister, Nia, as they are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan after their father passes away from a drug overdose. Over the course of a single, sweltering summer, KB attempts to get her bearings in a world that has turned upside down. Pinballing between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, KB is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. As she examines the jagged pieces of her recently shattered world, she learns that while some truths cut deep, a new life--and a new KB--can be built from the shards.

About the Author

Dr. Kai Harris is a writer and educator from Detroit, Michigan, whose critically acclaimed debut novel, What the Fireflies Knew, is a Marie Claire Book Club pick, Book of the Month add-on, and has been long listed for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Kai’s writing, which centers on the Black experience, has appeared in Guernica, Lit Hub, Kweli Journal, Longform, and the Hilltop Review, amongst others. In addition to fiction, Kai has published poetry, personal essays, and peer-reviewed academic articles on topics related to Black girlhood/womanhood, the slave narrative genre, and Black identity. Kai currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Santa Clara University. Follow Kai on social media @authorkaiharris for a healthy dose of #blackgirlmagic.

Dr. Kai Harris

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