Renowned author Kia Harris visits Loy Norrix to speak about her moving book, “What the Fireflies Knew”


Credit: Josephine Velo

Kia Harris and Loy Norrix librarian John Krieder pose with “What the Fireflies Knew”.

Aanje' K. Greymountain, Graphics Editor

What the Fireflies Knew book cover. Written by Kai Harris, published 2022.

It was a chilly morning on Thursday, Nov. 3.  Students from across the school gathered in the library at 8:49 am, each grabbing their own copy of the hardcover novel, “What the Fireflies Knew.”  Sitting quietly in their excitement and curiosity, they thought up all the questions they could ask.  

Doctor, professor and author Kai Harris entered the room with her entourage, welcomed by applause from her crowd and sat down and introduced herself. The room was almost tense from the arrival of this stranger, but she immediately was able to defuse the awkward air with light-hearted banter.  

Senior and executive board member Jaydon Kelley’s attention had peaked when Harris mentioned that she was a Detroit native. Kelley and Harris proceeded to rhapsodize about their Detroit pride and with that, Harris was able to naturally and skillfully get her audience invested in not only her book, but her life as well. 

 “I really had a connection with Miss Kai Harris, I believe we resonated with our connection with Detroit,” said Kelley. “I think she is a great author.  I look forward to looking into her book and reading into it.  Maybe even showing my own kids her book one day.”

The conversation then took a turn in focus towards the book.  Harris summarized the plot to the students.

“The book is a coming-of-age novel about a ten year old girl who is navigating the loss of her father as she spends the summer with her grandfather who she barely knows,” Harris said.

Harris relates to her characters’ life stories, and the process of writing allowed her an opportunity to introspect. 

”Writing the book was very meaningful to me,” said Harris. “It helped me to think about my own childhood in some ways and also just think about what childhood is like in general, and I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a young person that adults and young adults could read to hopefully see and understand themselves a bit better and maybe even remember that experience of being a child and what it’s like.”

Harris and the students deeply discussed the story of her book and her journey as an author, which conjointly imbued the students with wisdom for their own life journeys.  The enlightening conversation left both the students and the author inspired and ready to chase their life passions.