Between the lines How Ernie Barnes went from the football field to the art gallery

Sandra Neil Wallace

Book - 2018

Discover the 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 beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book.

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Paula Wiseman Book."
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781481443876
1481443879
Main Author
Sandra Neil Wallace (author)
Other Authors
Bryan Collier (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Growing up in North Carolina during the 1940s and '50s, Ernie Barnes was a quiet black kid who loved to draw and paint. Though he had little interest in sports, he excelled at high-school football and earned a scholarship to college, where an art teacher inspired him to paint what he saw around him. He played in the NFL for five years before retiring to devote himself to art. Barnes painted what he knew, from neighborhood memories to football players in action. As a college student, he once asked to see paintings by African American artists at the local art museum and was told, "Your people don't express themselves in that way." He knew otherwise. Years later, the same museum exhibited his paintings. The book's lengthy, helpful back matter includes several of Barnes' paintings as well as notes by the author and illustrator. Coauthor of Blood Brother (2016) and Bound by Ice (2017), Wallace tells the story using specific details and a broad perspective that heighten its meaning. Collier's expressive, unconventional illustrations, created with watercolors and collage, use rich colors and overlapping images to portray Barnes growing from a shy child to a self-assured artist. A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 1–4—The pursuit of dreams and the resilience of the human spirit shine in this illustrated biography of one of the world's greatest sports artists. Growing up in the segregated south, Ernie Barnes loved to draw and rarely left home without his sketchbook. Shy, quiet, and often picked on, Barnes found his voice by painting what he observed in his surroundings: families walking, an old man snoring, the junk man peddling. When he grew to be six foot three, he was recruited for the high school football team and eventually earned a sports scholarship to an all-black university. Still, Barnes was discouraged: he wanted to be an artist instead of an athlete. His art teacher inspired him to paint what he saw, and suddenly his calling was realized: he will paint football, seeing the beauty in what before was ordinary. Barnes would go on to make the NFL, play for the Colts, and paint his first football painting, The Bench, a work that would define his career for years to come. After leaving football for good, his professional dream was fully realized when he was invited to become the official artist for the American Football League: "When I became an athlete, I didn't stop being an artist." Collier's illustrations are storytellers on their own, blending emulations of Barnes's work with dynamic, mixed-media imagery that enhances the book's historical relevance. VERDICT An absolutely indispensable illustrated biography that will remind readers of all ages that it's never too late to pursue their dreams.—Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Looks at the life and career of Ernie Barnes, a football star who became an influential painter.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Presents the 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 beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

'A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography.' 'Booklist (starred review)'An absolutely indispensable illustrated biography.' 'School Library Journal (starred review) 'A well-sourced, stirringly told account of an artist.' 'Publishers Weekly (starred review)'For sports fans and budding artists alike...a well-told, artfully illustrated story.' 'Kirkus Reviews (starred review)A 2019 Orbis Pictus Book Award Winner * An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book * A SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book Award * A Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth * A Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth * A New York Public Library (NYPL) Best Book for Kids * A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best BookDiscover 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 BarnesErnie 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography.” —Booklist (starred review)“An absolutely indispensable illustrated biography.” —School Library Journal (starred review) “A well-sourced, stirringly told account of an artist.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)“For sports fans and budding artists alike...a well-told, artfully illustrated story.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)A 2019 Orbis Pictus Book Award Winner * An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book * A SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book Award * A Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth * A Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth * A New York Public Library (NYPL) Best Book for Kids * A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best BookDiscover 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 BarnesErnie 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.