Ain't Burned All the Bright is a book by American author Jason Reynolds. It was published in 2022 by Atheneum and Caitlyin Dlouhy Books. The three-part poem and visual illustrations explore the struggles of an African-American family coming to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic and mostly the George Floyd's protests.
In the first part, an African-American child watches racially-motivated protests on the news. He struggles to understand why people like him are fighting for the freedom to breathe.
In the second part, the child is keenly observing his family members as the civil unrest unfolds on the news. His father is coughing heavily in the other room while attempting to remain hopeful in his son's eyes.
In the third part, the child is completely distressed by everything that's going on. He feels suffocated and cannot understand why all this is happening. The child feels like he's the only one who is grasping the severity of the situation, but falls short of completely breaking down.
Ain't Burned All the Bright is a powerful documentation on the uncertainty and chaos that existed in the early days of the pandemic. More specifically, the horror that many African-American families had to endure in those unprecedented times is truly heartbreaking. American illustrator Jason Griffin brings to life the perspective of this young African-American in such a beautiful and disturbing way.