Ain't Burned All the Bright
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.
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 Greatest; The Boy in the Black Suit; Stamped; As Brave as You; For Every One; the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu); Look Both Ways; Stuntboy, in the Meantime; Ain’t Burned All the Bright; My 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.
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.
*"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 ( Stamped; Long 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
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