Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
Narrated By: Jason Reynolds, Nile Bullock, Tatum Marylin Hall, JaQwan J. Kelly, DePre Owens
Imprint/Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audiobooks
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
ISBN: 9781797137544

In ten-sentences, Jason Reynolds explores the impact of racism, police brutality, and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as experienced by a Black family. Reynolds poetically expresses the fear and pain of the year 2020 while highlighting the importance of human connection.

This audiobook features two powerful readings of Reynolds’s poem. First, the author poignantly narrates the first reading with a sparse yet impactful performance. Reynolds beautifully conveys the pain and fear caused by the uncertainty of life in 2020. His simple narration makes the poem personal and relatable. The second reading is a full cast performance that illustrates the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all parts of society. The multiple narrators’ voices are perfectly woven together to show how this could be anyone’s experience and that everyone’s life has been touched by the chaos caused by the pandemic. The audiobook is emotionally haunting and perfect for fans of Amanda Gorman and Elizabeth Acevedo.

-Rebecca Baldwin

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.