Cover image for Between the lines : how Ernie Barnes went from the football field to the art gallery / Sandra Neil Wallace ; illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Title:
Between the lines : how Ernie Barnes went from the football field to the art gallery / Sandra Neil Wallace ; illustrated by Bryan Collier.
ISBN:
9781481443876
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
48 unnumbered pages : colour illustrations ; 32 cm
General Note:
"A Paula Wiseman Book."
Audience/Reading Level:
Ages 4-8.
Added Author:
Holds:
Copies:

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1
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796.332092 BAR WAL Book Junior Collection
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Summary

Summary

"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.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This rich portrait of an innovative and determined artist begins with Ernie Barnes as a child in the segregated South. Despite a desire to pursue art, football was Barnes's ticket to college, where he visited museums for the first time and was dismayed to find no black artists represented ("Your people don't express themselves in that way," a docent told him). But Barnes refused to abandon his artwork, even after being drafted as a professional footballer. Collier's multidimensional collages are a dynamic mix of gridiron action and quiet moments of Barnes with his brushes and canvases. It's a well-sourced, stirringly told account of an artist drawing inspiration from and finding beauty in the immediate surroundings of his world. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street Literary. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

How should adults present the grave injustices throughout black history to young readers? Biographies can help. HISTORY IS A STORY like any other, but black history is a story so devoid of logic that it frustrates the young reader. The young readers in my house, told of slavery and segregation, asked in disbelief: "What? Why?" We - the parents of black children, the parents of all children - still need to tell that story. It comforts the adult conscience to remember that amid history's grave injustices there were still great lives. Hence, I suspect, the preponderance of biographies for children published to coincide with Black History Month. Among that genre's newest arrivals are names familiar to adults, as in THE UNITED STATES V. JACKIE ROBINSON (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99, ages 4 to 8), written by Sudipta BardhanQuallen. This picture book is more interested in young Robinson's less-known act of resistance during his Army days than in his later, trailblazing career as a baseball player. It's nice to have an athlete celebrated for personal integrity over physical prowess, and R. Gregory Christie's pictures bolster this, evoking a Robinson who is strong and sure, but also smiling, warm, and ultimately, triumphant. Ella Fitzgerald is more than a familiar name; understanding this, Helen Hancocks has called her new picture book ELLA QUEEN OF JAZZ (Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto, $17.99; ages 4 to 8). Hancocks's illustrations are superb - bright and suitably retro in style. But her tale takes a turn that is not the one Fitzgerald deserves. The focus is mostly on how Fitzgerald's friendship with Marilyn Monroe helped her career, and the movie star, alas, upstages the singer. BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET (Holiday House, $17.95; ages 4 to 8) is a straightforward picture-book biography of the exceptional Harriet Ttibman. In minimalist verse, Lesa Cline-Ransome begins with the woman in her dotage, then walks readers back through her years as suffragist, spy and liberator - but also, importantly, as a woman who simply wanted to be free. James E. Ransome's lovely watercolor illustrations capture Ttibman's daring, her joy and her dignity. Sandra Neil Wallace's BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $17.99; ages 4 to 8), illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a beautiful testament to a quintessentially American life. Wallace and Collier celebrate both Barnes's success on the gridiron and his subsequent reinvention as an artist. As in "The United States v. Jackie Robinson," athleticism is a secondary concern; early on, we see the young Barnes in a museum, wondering where the black painters are, and the story ends with contemporary young museumgoers being shown Barnes's art. This choice makes the story so satisfying, and just what you want at bedtime. In LET THE CHILDREN MARCH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 6 to 9) Monica Clark-Robinson tells one girl's story of the 1963 children's march on Birmingham. Frank Morrison's illustrations are loose and modern in spirit, enlivening the history lesson. It's understandable to want to channel Martin Luther King Jr.'s oratorical gifts when writing about him, but sometimes the metaphors strain. Still, the book's message is clear and bracing: King understood that it's children who will lead the way, and the man's faith in the future is reassuring even now. Two biographical compendiums, Vashti Harrison's LITTLE LEADERS: Bold Women in Black History (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 8 to 12) and Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins's YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK (Wide Eyed Editions/Quarto, $22.99; ages 7 to 10) are, by contrast, not bedtime reading but texts that belong in any home library, to be revisited again and again. Wilson's book celebrates a variety of black achievement; there are biographical sketches of Kofi Annan and Stevie Wonder, Solange Knowles and Naomi Campbell, accompanied by Andrea Pippins's illustrations, full of verve but also quite dignified. The candy-colored pages and straightforward stories are hard to resist, and will doubtless forever shape the way many readers think about Wangari Maathai and Langston Hughes. Harrison's book focuses on great black women, and it's lovely to see Lorna Simpson and Gwen Ifill ascend to the ranks of Marian Anderson and Bessie Coleman. Harrison wants readers to imagine themselves in such august company; her adorable illustrations depict all of these figures as a little black girl, an everygirl, in a variety of costumes and backdrops. Harrison and Wilson have similar projects. But which book is better? I'd like to point out that my sons own around 40 volumes on the subject of trucks. Young readers deserve both these books. FOR OLDER READERS The person most qualified to tell the tale of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the man himself, as gifted an intellect as he is an athlete. Written with Raymond Obstfeld, his autobiography, BECOMING KAREEM: Growing Up On and Off the Court (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 10 and up) is aimed at middle grade readers but could and should be read aloud to younger kids. It's a tale by a wise elder - about basketball, sure, but also about cultural, political, social and religious awakenings, big stuff narrated in a very accessible way. MARTIN RISING: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, $19.99; ages 9 to 12) is a collaboration by two of children's literature's most well-known names, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (who happen to be married). It's a work of verse, with some prose end matter to help elucidate the poems, and it will reward a reader sophisticated enough to grapple with language and metaphor. Andrea Davis Pinkney frames her poem cycle about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last months with the figure of Henny Penny, the bird who either worried or prophesied, and she makes King's death feel as significant as the falling of the sky above. It is, of course, a terrible and sad story, but one in which Brian Pinkney's illustrations manage to find beauty. King is an evergreen subject, so significant and complex that the story of his life and death can withstand repeated tellings. James L. Swanson's CHASING KING'S KILLER: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin (Scholastic, $19.99; ages 12 and up) is a departure, less classroom text than airport thriller. It's a bit like sneaking kale into brownies: Swanson offers plenty of context on King's activism and his turbulent times, but frames the book as a manhunt for James Earl Ray. This approach makes education feel more like entertainment, and will prove seductive to even a reluctant older reader. My children are too young, yet, for Swanson's thriller and the Pinkneys' elegiac tribute, or maybe I simply want to believe that they are. They have a lifetime of reading ahead, particularly if they are to meet Dr. King's expectations for them. For now, my boys can suspend disbelief and accept that Pippi Longstocking can lift a horse and plays with pistols. But they won't be able to believe what happened to Dr. King in Memphis. Who among us can? RUMAAN alam is the author of two novels, "Rich and Pretty" and "That Kind of Mother," which will be published next month.