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FIRST GENERATION:
36 TRAILBLAZING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES WHO MAKE AMERICA GREAT

Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace celebrate the genius, diversity, and grit of immigrants and refugees in this boldly illustrated guide to 36 American trailblazers. The courage, determination, and achievements of these change-makers have helped make America — their new country — a stronger place.


"BEAUTIFUL … A deeply patriotic look at how immigrants’ application of the American ideals of hard work and perseverance can have lasting effects."
(Kirkus, starred review)

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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.


"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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BOUND BY ICE:
A TRUE NORTH POLE SURVIVAL STORY

In this thrilling and terrifying true story of the 1879 search for the North Pole, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace follow the frightening fates of the Jeannette crew as disaster strikes and the men battle to survive 2 years bound by ice.


"GRIPPING … Highly appealing narrative nonfiction for anyone who loves true adventure."
(Kirkus, starred review)

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BLOOD BROTHER:
JONATHAN DANIELS AND HIS SACRIFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

In this astonishing story of the first white civil rights worker in Alabama’s bloodiest county, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace weave a heart-pounding portrait of the danger Daniels faced, the teenager whose life he saved, and how his 1965 murder changed southern justice.


“America needs to hear this story.”
(Cornell William Brooks, past president, NAACP)

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BABE CONQUERS THE WORLD

Sports TV pioneer Sandra Neil Wallace’s first biography Babe Conquers the World (co-authored with Rich Wallace) captures the personality of sports legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias and the turbulent times she challenged.


“This exemplar text should be a staple for all collections.”
(School Library Journal)

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MUCKERS

Inspired by the true story of a racially divided town and a team who must find a way to win, Muckers delves into the rocky terrain of war, Communism, and segregation in 1950 Arizona.


“Fans of Friday Night Lights and other football stories will appreciate this inspiring tale.”
(School Library Journal, starred review)

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LITTLE JOE

“Sometimes a first heartbreak doesn’t involve humans.” Little Joe is about a farm boy who faces parting with the calf he loves at the fair auction. A state awards finalist and a U.S. Dept. of Ag and American Farm Bureau pick, Little Joe has been translated into 3 languages. Now in paperback and ebook editions.


"A skittish new calf and a boy who dreams of winning the blue ribbon at the County fair ... a fine story of a young boy’s choices.”
(Midwest Book Review)

  • Sandra as a child with family
  • Sandra NBA promo picture
  • Sandra Wallace headshot
  • Sandra with Outstanding Woman of NH award with Keene State Colleg team

About Sandra

SANDRA NEIL WALLACE IS AN AUTHOR AND ADVOCATE for change. Known for her investigative journalism and original narrative style, her books for young readers focus on people who break barriers and change the world. As the daughter of a refugee and concentration camp survivor, Sandra became a changemaker herself. The first generation in her family to attend university, she became a journalist, anchoring the network news before shattering the glass ceiling in sports television as the first woman to host an NHL broadcast on national TV. Her books have won national awards including, NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction, SCBWI’s Golden Kite Honor Award, ILA’s Social Justice Literature Award, and been chosen as Best Books by Kirkus, Booklist, and the New York and Chicago Public Libraries.

Sandra became a U.S. citizen in 2016 and advocates for social responsibility as a founding-year member of the Keene Immigrant and Refugee Partnership and advisor to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. In 2019, she was a recipient of the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award as a champion of peace & nonviolence. She lives in New Hampshire and Maine with her husband, author Rich Wallace.

Upcoming Appearances

  • FIRST GENERATION SCHOOL VISITS
    New York, NY
  • Author presentations and book signings
    SALIBURY UNIVERSITY CHILDREN’S and YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE FESTIVAL Salisbury University Salisbury, MD MORE INFO HERE
  • BLOOD BROTHER SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS about Jonathan Daniels to Regional Schools
    Keene, NH
  • ALA Annual Convention (American Library Association)
    Washington, D.C. MORE INFO HERE
  • NCTE Convention (Nat’l Council of Teachers of English)
    Book signings for BETWEEN THE LINES ORBIS PICTUS Awards Luncheon Baltimore, MD MORE INFO HERE

FIRST GENERATION: 36 TRAILBLAZING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES WHO MAKE AMERICA GREAT

"BEAUTIFUL … A deeply patriotic look at how immigrants’ application of the American ideals of hard work and perseverance can have lasting effects."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"ENGAGING ... A fascinating and robust collection. Readers will be eager to explore the various subjects and their accomplishments across all fields."
—School Library Journal
"A book all children should read or have read to them."
—The New York Times

Awards

  • Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of the Year
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books
  • NCSS CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • Nerdy Book Club Nerdies Winner, Long Form Nonfiction
  • (Cybils) Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Award Nominee, Middle-Grade Nonfiction

Praise + Press

BETWEEN THE LINES: HOW ERNIE BARNES WENT FROM THE FOOTBALL FIELD TO THE ART GALLERY

"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)
"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)
“EXPRESSIVE ... A visually striking, enlightening picture-book biography."
—Booklist, (starred review)
"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

Awards

  • Winner of The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction
  • Winner of The SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book Award for Nonfiction for Young Readers
  • An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
  • Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth
  • Booklist Top 10 Arts Books for Youth
  • 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
  • Texas Library Association, TEXAS TOPAZ Nonfiction Reading List selection
  • A Fuse 8 Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
  • Nonfiction Detectives Best Books of 2018
  • Nerdy Book Club Nerdies Winner, Nonfiction Picture Books
  • Illinois Bluestem Readers’ Choice Award Nominee
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee
  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Nominee
New York Times Live Art Screenshot
The New York Times LIVE ART with BETWEEN THE LINES illustrator Bryan Collier
Washington Post

Best Children’s and YA books to read this month

Between the Lines Cover

Go ahead and judge Between the Lines (Simon & Schuster, ages 4 to 8) by its wonderful cover. Rightfully front and center is the picture book’s subject — football player turned artist Ernie Barnes — handsomely wrought by illustrator Bryan Collier. Barnes is flanked by a football scene on one side and by Collier’s version of “Sugar Shack,” Barnes’s most famous painting, on the other. The jacket-cover borders provide another nice preview of what’s inside; they look and feel slightly rough, like the wooden fence-posts that Barnes used to frame his paintings. Author Sandra Neil Wallace, a former ESPN reporter, tells this story with details that will resonate with children, such as how young Ernie loved whenever it rained near his North Carolina home; he would find a stick and draw lines through “the slippery soil.” Wallace and Collier show how Barnes got recruited into the world of football but kept pursuing his artistic dreams. Collier has his own distinctive style, mixing collage with warm watercolors, and the book also features several reprints of Barnes’s paintings. Young readers will be able to see for themselves how deftly Barnes captured both football and ordinary life — in all their movement, power and beauty.

— Abby McGanney Nolan

BOUND BY ICE: A TRUE NORTH POLE SURVIVAL STORY

"VIVID... A gripping account of a disastrous 1879 American expedition to find the North Pole. Highly appealing narrative nonfiction for anyone who loves true adventure.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
"EXEMPLARY... Readers of historical adventure will be drawn to the story and appreciate the crew’s bravery."
—Booklist (starred review)

Awards

  • Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of the Year
  • A Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • NCSS CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • California Reading Association, EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Gold Award
  • The Kirkus Prize 2017 nominee, Young Readers
  • Nerdy Book Club Nerdies Winner, Long Form Nonfiction
  • (Cybils) Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Award Finalist, Junior High Nonfiction

BLOOD BROTHER: JONATHAN DANIELS AND HIS SACRIFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

"POWERFUL... An unusually inspiring story, skillfully told."
—Kirkus (starred review)

"RIVETING ...a thoroughly researched, meticulously documented biography."
—Booklist (starred review)

“This well-told tale of Jonathan Daniels—one of the most courageous figures of an earlier civil rights movement—comes at a generational moment when America needs to hear this story.”
—Cornell William Brooks, past president, NAACP
“Everyone, young and old, should read this book and find a trace of themselves in the life of Jonathan Daniels. His story reminds us that we can all be heroes.”
—Sy Montgomery, National Book Award finalist and Sibert Medal winner
“One of the most heroic Christian deeds of which I have heard in my entire ministry and career for civil rights was performed by Jonathan Daniels.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Blood Brother Trailer
“Jonathan Daniels has been an important figure in my life—his sacrifice and his work. His extraordinary heroism and commitment to realizing equality in practice, not just in law, remind us to light a candle in the darkness and say we are not going to give up; we’re going to do something.”
—Ken Burns, filmmaker
“Jonathan Daniels was inspired to get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble. He wanted to do something about making things right.”
—John Lewis, U.S. Congress

Awards

  • An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
  • Parents' Choice Gold Award
  • Booklist Editors' Choice Award
  • Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth
  • A Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books
  • NCSS CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, Official nominee
  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • The Kirkus Prize 2016 nominee, Young Readers
  • California Reading Association, EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Honor Book
  • Nonfiction Detectives Best Books of 2016
  • Nerdy Book Club Nerdies Winner, Long Form Nonfiction
  • (Cybils) Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Award Finalist, Young Adult Nonfiction
  • Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Book

BABE CONQUERS THE WORLD

“This exemplar text should be a staple for all collections looking to diversify their biography, sports, and women’s history offerings.”
—School Library Journal
“This energetic biography is at its best when it reveals how Babe’s drive changed so many areas in women’s sports even as society resisted their inclusion. The Wallaces handle the abrasive aspects of Babe’s personality as frankly as they highlight her successes. … Offers the combination of sports, entertainment, and celebrity that will interest young readers, and the Wallaces play it well.”
—Kirkus
“Part sports journalism, part narrative nonfiction, and part proof that professional athletes can be exemplary role models for young people.”
—Booklist
“The Wallaces do an excellent job of giving readers a great sense of Babe and who she was, warts and all.”
—Booklist “Bookends”

“She was brash, she was impossible, she was a winner for the ages. Only a great book could capture the legend of Babe Didrikson Zaharias--and this is it.”
—Jerry Spinelli, Newbery winning author of Maniac Magee and Newbery Honor Wringer

Awards

  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
  • A Mighty Girl Best Book of the Year

  • (Cybils) Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Award Nominee, Middle-Grade Nonfiction
  • A Kansas & Missouri Reading Circle Recommended Book
  • A Nebraska Library Commission Best Teen Book

  • A Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup selection

  • Finalist, Arizona's Grand Canyon Reader Award, Tween Nonfiction

  • Runner-up, New Hampshire Literary Awards, Outstanding Work of Nonfiction

MUCKERS

“Fans of H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights and other football histories will appreciate this inspiring tale.”
—School Library Journal (starred review)
“Wallace deftly depicts the atmosphere of an era when segregation—between Mexicans and “Anglos”—was standard … provides enough emotional drama to create a rich work of historical fiction that will draw in even those without an interest in the sport.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Wallace, a former ESPN correspondent, captures a vivid sense of atmosphere and well-wrought characters, all while showcasing balls-to-the-wall football action.”
—Booklist
“[A] richly textured portrayal of a small town coping with the economic, political and racial realities of post–World War II America.... Distinctive characters and finely drawn specifics of locale and landscape set this football story apart.”
—Kirkus

Awards

  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • Booklist Top 10 Sports Books for Youth
  • A Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • A Booklist “Bookends” Best Book of the Year
  • A Maine State Library Cream of the Crop
  • Finalist, New Hampshire Isinglass Teen Reads Award
  • Finalist, Arizona’s Grand Canyon Reader Award, Young Adult

LITTLE JOE

“This thoughtful, tender book will appeal to those readers who are familiar with the Stegners’ world, and many more will be able to identify with the highs and lows of familial love.”
—School Library Journal
“[Eli’s] determination to win and carry on a family tradition gets in the way of a blossoming affection for an animal friend in this fine story of a young boy’s choices.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Animal lovers will be fascinated by the details of raising beef cattle as well as the economic realities of modern farm life.”
—Booklist
“Though heartwarming and engaging to the reader, this book remains an accurate, in-depth account of life on the farm.”
—USDA’s Agriculture in the Classroom

Awards

  • Finalist, South Carolina Children’s Book Award
  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Nominee
  • A U.S. Department of Agriculture curriculum selection
  • An American Farm Bureau curriculum selection

EDUCATORS + LIBRARIANS

“You inspired me to write my own book.” – Dylan, grade 5

Sandra Neil Wallace has inspired thousands of young students and burgeoning writers as a guest author and writing workshop leader. Sandra enjoys visiting schools along with her husband, author Rich Wallace. Find out about their school visits on Sandra’s SCHOOL VISIT GUIDE.

Sandra with classroom
“Because of their range of titles and experience, Sandra and Rich captivated their audiences from grades K-8.” Jessica Klinker Immaculate Conception School

RESOURCES:

  • Common-core aligned Educator Guide to Bound By Ice: A TRUE NORTH POLE SURVIVAL STORY
  • Common-core aligned Educator Guide to Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights
  • Common-core aligned Educator Guide to Babe Conquers the World
  • Common-core aligned Educator Guide to Muckers
  • The “real story behind the story” of Muckers
  • Educator Guide to Little Joe by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Ag in the Classroom (complete with a chapter-by-chapter vo-cow-bulary journal!)