The Night Of The Fireflies

  • Written by Karen B. Winnick
  • Illustrated by Yoriko Ito
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563977251, hardcover
  • Ages and Grades: 6 - 8; 1-3;

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Nominee for the 2009-2010 Georgia Children’s Book Award

It’s Miko’s first time to experience the joy of chasing fireflies. She has never seen one but she imagines their magical glow. With her older brother, Toshio, she walks to the park to watch the principal of their school open a box to release fireflies into the night. For Miko they are a wonderment. But her fascination with the small blinking lights sets in motion a dilemma and Miko must decide what to do.

  • Have you ever seen a firefly? Where were you? Describe the experience.
  • What makes a firefly light up? Research and find out. Is a firefly’s light warm or cold? Why? What other insects do you see on a summer’s night?
  • Why are there so few fireflies left in many places? Is there something that can be done to help our environment? Find out.
  • Write a letter to someone in government with suggestions on how to make our environment cleaner. Volunteer at a local organization that works to help our environment.

Download the School Curriculum Activities for The Night of the Fireflies.

My story takes place in Japan where in days past fireflies once lit up the summer skies in abundance. But sadly, because of pollution to the air and water, fireflies are no longer plentiful. Today, the government has a program where they breed, raise, and release fireflies every year on a summer evening in July for the children to chase. Reading about this in a newspaper inspired me to write this story.

Today, fireflies live in protected habitats and have become the cultural symbol for river protection and environmental conservation.

“Ito’s soft-edged illustrations beautifully capture the velvet darkness of the evening, the magical glow of the fireflies, and Miko’s fascination with the festival. Children will enjoy this gentle story, which may prompt questions about why the fireflies no longer appear on their own in Japan.”—Booklist