“Ain’t Burned All the Bright” Review

The new book from Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin explores the trials and tribulations of 2020, using just three long sentences to do so.


Oxygen is at the very core of our existence. It is what keeps us alive. It’s the fuel to the fire, which is explored in Jason Reynolds’ and Jason Griffin’s book, “Ain’t Burned All the Bright.”

The book consists of just three sentences in 388 pages. Each word rings with the passion of a story that will have you aching to your very core with sorrow, making you forget all the book’s and’s and or’s that come along with each new chapter being a run-on sentence. The striking colors presented on every page, each its own work of art that paints a picture of emotion, could easily be the most touching book to come from Covid-19.

The book is told from a young boy’s perspective of what the world became in 2020. Through Black Lives Matter protests to Covid-19, he doesn’t understand it all. Like many others during the pandemic, his father has Covid-19 and can’t bring himself to understand how masks and not shaking hands will save lives.

Oxygen is the cement in this reliving of 2020. Oxygen is what brings the young boys’ family together, yet tears it apart all at once. His mother, father, sister and brother are all coping in different directions, and all in need of one thing in the trying times: oxygen.

“Ain’t Burned All the Bright” is a tragically beautiful story that is told not just through text, but through fervorous drawings, depicting the life of a Black family in America during the pandemic. Although it is a quick and easy read of only 10 to 15 minutes, its impact will have the impact of reading it one million times.