Between the Lines

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

Former ESPN sportscaster Sandra Neil Wallace and Caldecott Honor illustrator Bryan Collier tell the true story of NFL star Ernie Barnes, who became one of the most influential artists of his generation. The inspiring story of a man who made his mark in two very different worlds is the 2019 ORBIS PICTUS winner for Outstanding Nonfiction.


  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction

  • SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book Award for Nonfiction for Young Readers

  • An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

  • Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth & Top 10 Arts Books for Youth

  • A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year

  • New York Public Library (NYPL) Best Books for Kids

  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books

  • NCSS CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

  • CCBC Choices Best of Year Children's Book

  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) Best Books of the Year

  • A Junior Library Guild selection

  • California Reading Association, EUREKA! Nonfiction Children's Honor Book

  • A Texas Topaz & A Wisconsin Nonfiction Reading List selection

  • A Fuse 8 Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

  • Nonfiction Detectives Best Books of the Year

  • Nerdy Book Club Nerdies Winner, Nonfiction Picture Books

  • Maryland Blue Crab Honor Book Winner

  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee

  • Illinois Bluestem Readers’ Choice Award Nominee

  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Children’s Book Award Nominee

  • Georgia Children’s Picturebook Award Finalist

  • Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee

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RICH … 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)
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FASCINATING … 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 (starred review)
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EXPRESSIVE ... A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography.

Booklist, (starred review)
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DYNAMIC ... 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 beautiful testament to a quintessentially American life.

The New York Times Book Review