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Ain't Burned All the Bright by [Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin]

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Ain't Burned All the Bright Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 448 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A profound visual testimony to how much changed while we all had to stay inside and how much—painfully, mournfully—stayed the same.

Reynolds’ poetry and Griffin’s art perform a captivating dance on pages of mixed-media collage and emotive reflection on the pronounced threats facing a contemporary Black family. In “Breath One,” the opening of the verse narrative, the unnamed boy protagonist struggles with the onslaught of TV news coverage of the systemic violence and death experienced by Black people—coverage that is both overwhelming and insufficient. The television then forms the backdrop of the narrator’s concerns for his bedridden father, who is struggling with an acute respiratory illness while isolated in a bedroom. The art is sometimes spare and monochrome before shifting to a bright and striking palette as Griffin deploys aesthetics that enliven the rich flow and rhythm of Reynolds’ words. The two skillfully go back and forth like rap duos of old, each with a distinct voice that enriches the other. The result is an effective critique of the ways we’ve failed as a society to care for one another. By “Breath Three,” however, a complicated optimism shines through for a family that perseveres through closeness and connection despite what is broadcast from their TV. While grounded in 2020, many of the issues touched on explicitly are very much not over and not even new, making this remarkable work both timely and timeless.

Artful, cathartic, and most needed. -- Kirkus Review STARRED REVIEW —
11/01/2021

Reynolds and Griffin’s searing indictment of the status quo is expressed in the voice of a young, unnamed Black man, whose timely comments resonate beyond the personal to the universal.[…] Reynolds’ text—printed on strips of white paper affixed to notebook pages—comments on a seemingly changeless world on fire, on protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and on the seeming omnipresence of COVID-19—all of which reflect a world without the freedom to breathe. It’s a bleak picture but not one without hope of change. Griffin’s remarkable mixed-media collage pictures that employ a palette largely of black and red are a perfect complement to the text, capturing its tone and style exactly while expanding and enhancing the words of the poetic text. The result is an important combination that expresses the zeitgeist of a troubled time. It’s essential reading. -- Booklist *STARRED* —
12/1/2021

Author Reynolds and artist Griffin, friends and previous collaborators (My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.), explore recent events in America through a poetic multimedia partnership told in three “breaths.” […] As Reynolds’s lines depict Black people facing police brutality, Covid-19, and general concerns regarding safety, Griffin’s captivating collages literally and metaphorically capture a constant state of worry and panic, leading to visual moments that encourage the reader to find solace and inspiration in the everyday. -- Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW —
11/15/2021

*"Reynolds’ wrenching and hope-filled poem is divided into three steadying “breaths,” marking the family’s isolated, wheel-spinning activities; the father’s physical crisis; and the family’s reunion. As the poetry makes its way from anguish to hope and recovery, Griffin traces the same emotional journey through mixed media artwork... spreads built of gritty texture and turbulent imagery and fiery red blazes fracture just enough to let in streaks of blue sky; then scenes widen for bright, homey quilts and are soon dominated by a family cozied on a sofa on a verdant field of grass. This powerful title may become the memory book for how we made it through troubled times." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, **STARRED REVIEW**

*"Ain't Burned All the Bright is a gripping, emotional look into the life of a Black family living through what is evidently the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Artist Jason Griffin (
My Name Is Jason, Mine Too) has designed this book as a notebook-style journal, separated by author Jason Reynolds (StampedLong Way Down) into three parts: "Breath One," "Breath Two" and "Breath Three." In the first breath, a Black first-person child narrator grapples with the protests he sees on the news about people who look like him fighting for "the freedom to breathe." With breath two, the child observes his family members in the living room while his father coughs incessantly in his bedroom. His father, despite the "rattling hack," reaches out to his son with optimism. In the third breath, the boy becomes overwhelmed with worry: "It feels like I'm the only person who can tell we're all suffocating." As the news makes him spiral, he sees "the beginning/ of a laugh" on his mother's face. Though the boy still wonders about the world, he is able to take a breath "in through the nose/ out through the mouth."

Griffin ... shows his creativity and range by also including abstract pages full of stark red and black paint and realistic figures like George Floyd or illustrations of hands. Reynolds's spare free verse appears as text printed out then taped down on top of the art. Together, the two creators channel the weight of uncertainty and chaos that Black people endure, as well as the hope they carry with them on a regular basis." -- Shelf Awareness, starred review

*"In the summer of 2020, amid an unending news cycle of fear and death, millions of people took to the streets to protest the murders of not only George Floyd but also many more Black people by police officers. In Ain’t Burned All the Bright (Caitlyn Dlouhy, $19.99, 9781534439467), author Jason Reynolds and artist Jason Griffin portray this claustrophobic spiral from the perspective of a young boy. “And I’m sitting here wondering why / my mother won’t change the channel,” the narrator begins, “and why the news won’t / change the story.” In sections titled “Breath One,” “Breath Two” and “Breath Three,” his desire to change the channel transforms into fearful imaginings of his family being consumed by smoke, water or illness. Griffin’s art is the linchpin of the book. Dynamic and visceral, it is composed with paint, pencil and lined paper, as well as with Reynolds’ text itself, which Griffin has cut out in strips of short phrases and placed into each spread. He skillfully juxtaposes vast spaces of black and white with color and texture; canvas tape and speckled paint make images feel urgently dimensional, while the blank spaces feel expansive. Many of the illustrations recall the densely saturated colors and silhouette figures of artist Kerry James Marshall. In the book’s final pages, Griffin depicts a large leaf growing out of a pot, its delicate green reaching the top of the page. ... As it ends, Ain’t Burned All the Bright doesn’t offer any platitudes, and the narrator still wants to change the channel. But he does, despite everything, remember to breathe." -- Bookpage, starred review

*"Reynolds’ wrenching and hope-filled poem is divided into three steadying “breaths,” marking the family’s isolated, wheel-spinning activities; the father’s physical crisis; and the family’s reunion. As the poetry makes its way from anguish to hope and recovery, Griffin traces the same emotional journey through mixed media artwork... spreads built of gritty texture and turbulent imagery and fiery red blazes fracture just enough to let in streaks of blue sky; then scenes widen for bright, homey quilts and are soon dominated by a family cozied on a sofa on a verdant field of grass. This powerful title may become the memory book for how we made it through troubled times." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

*Reynolds’s introspective narrative poem shares the stage with Griffin’s emotive collage-like illustrations to create an authentic young adult narrator trying to grapple with the confusion and fear of the double pandemic (COVID-19 and systemic racism) he is facing. -NICHOLL DENICE MONTGOMERY -- Horn Book Magazine, *STARRED*

About the Author

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. He’s also the 2020–2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); When I Was the GreatestThe Boy in the Black SuitStampedAs Brave as YouFor Every One; the Track series (GhostPatinaSunny, and Lu); Look Both WaysStuntboy, in the MeantimeAin’t Burned All the BrightMy Name Is Jason. Mine Too. (with Jason Griffin); and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

Jason Griffin created the artwork for 
My Name Is Jason. Mine Too, written by Jason Reynolds. He’s an artist and master collaborator, who has shown his art in major cities all over the world. His most recent projects include a commissioned mural for the children’s cancer wing at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, as well as a residency at the new contemporary art museum in Amsterdam, Het HEM. He currently creates in Queens, New York.  

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09841LD8D
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (January 11, 2022)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 11, 2022
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 306526 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Not enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 376 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 448 ratings

About the author

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The first name bits:

What Jason knows is that there are a lot — A LOT — of people, young, old, and in-between, who hate reading. He knows that many of these book haters are boys. He knows that many of these book-hating boys, don't actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you're reading this Jason's master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that Jason totally feels you. He REALLY does. Because even though he's a writer, he hates reading boring books too.

So here's what he plans to do: NOT WRITE BORING BOOKS.

That's it, and that's all.

Now, for the last name bits:

Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Recently named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
448 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Biily
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 13, 2022
Nina
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, sparks interesting conversations
Reviewed in Germany on March 23, 2022
Julie L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece of art. Shocking.
Reviewed in Canada on March 14, 2022
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