Between the Lines

How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery

Between the Lines

Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
For Ages: 4 - 8
“A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography.” —Booklist (starred review)

“An absolutely indispensable illustrated biography that will remind readers of all ages that it’s never too late to pursue their dreams.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“A well-sourced, stirringly told account of an artist drawing inspiration from and finding beauty in the immediate surroundings of his world.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A biography with appeal for sports fans and budding artists alike, it will also beckon to any reader who appreciates a well-told, artfully illustrated story.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Discover the remarkable true story of NFL star Ernie Barnes—a boy who followed his dreams and became one of the most influential artists of his generation—with this beautiful and fascinating nonfiction picture book illustrated by four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier.

“An artist paints his own reality.” —Ernie Barnes

Ernie Barnes was an NFL football player who longed to make art. Finally his dream came true.

When Ernie Barnes was growing up in North Carolina in the 1940s, he loved to draw. Even when he played as a boy with his friends he drew with a stick in the mud. And he never left home without a sketchbook. He would draw families walking home from church, or the old man on the sofa. He drew what he saw.

But in the segregated south, Ernie didn’t know how to make a living as an artist. Ernie grew tall and athletic and became a football star. Soon enough the colleges came calling. Still, in his heart Ernie longed to paint. Would that day ever come?

Ernie Barnes was one of the most important artists of his time known for his style of elongation and movement. His work has influenced a generation of painters and illustrators and can be found in museums and collections, such as the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the California African American Museum.

Between the Lines is a story of inspiration, spirit, and of an American original who pursued his dream. This enchanting picture book includes pieces of artwork created by this little known artist who captured the truth and beauty of the world he saw around him.
  • Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books | 
  • 48 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481443876 | 
  • January 2018 | 
  • Grades P - 3
List Price $17.99 (price may vary by retailer)
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day

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About the Author

Sandra Neil Wallace
Will Wroebel

Sandra Neil Wallace

Sandra Neil Wallace hopes that her stories inspire readers as much as they inspire her. Her most recent book, Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, was an ALA Notable Book and a Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best.” Her novel, Muckers, was named a Booklist Top 10 Sports Book for Youth. Formerly, Sandra was an ESPN reporter and was the first woman to host an NHL broadcast. She lives in New Hampshire with her family. You can visit her at SandraNeilWallace.com.

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