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Ain't Burned All the Bright

Illustrated by Jason Griffin


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About The Book

A Caldecott Honor winner!

Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.

Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin, had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.

And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Adedayo "Dayo" Kosoko

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 UK Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, an Odyssey Award Winner and two-time honoree, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors and the Margaret A. Edwards Award. He was 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 (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu); Look Both WaysStuntboy, in the MeantimeAin’t Burned All the Bright (recipient of the Caldecott Honor) and My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. (both cowritten with Jason Griffin); and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. His debut picture book, There Was a Party for Langston, won a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at

About The Illustrator

Jason Griffin won a Caldecott Honor for his artwork in Aint Burned All the Bright, written by Jason Reynolds, and also illustrated Reynolds’s My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. 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

  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (January 11, 2022)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534439467
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 12 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

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

Artful, cathartic, and most needed.

– Kirkus Review STARRED REVIEW, 11/01/2021

There's nothing Reynolds can't do, and his readers know it. This creative, timely reflection will be particularly admired by teens seeking change. It’s essential reading.

– Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*, 12/1/2021

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

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.

– Shelf Awareness, *STARRED REVIEW*

Griffin’s art is the linchpin of the book. 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.

– Bookpage, *STARRED REVIEW*

The poem and images 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.

– Horn Book Magazine, *STARRED*

Reynolds’s breathtakingly poetic prose melds seamlessly with Griffin’s effective multimedia images to capture a story of our time that should be read by everybody. This is a must read.

– School Library Journal, *STARRED REVIEW*, 5/13/2022

Awards and Honors

  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
  • Iowa Teen Award Nominee
  • Florida Teens Read Master List
  • Capital Choices Noteworthy Books for Children's and Teens (DC)
  • NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
  • Boston Globe/Horn Book Award
  • Charlotte Award Ballot (NY)
  • TAYSHAS Reading List (TX)
  • ALA Caldecott Honor
  • ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults - Top Ten
  • ALA Notable Children's Recording
  • In the Margins Top Ten List
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Multicultural Books List
  • Rhode Island Middle School Book Award Nominee
  • ALA/YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults List
  • Dogwood Reader Award Final Nominee (MO)
  • White Raven Award

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Jason Reynolds

More books from this illustrator: Jason Griffin