Color Me In by Natasha DíazColor Me In by Natasha Díaz

Color Me In

byNatasha Díaz

Hardcover | August 20, 2019

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Debut YA author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to inform this powerful coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.

Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can't stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh's dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she's always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It's only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom's past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?
Natasha Díaz is a freelance writer and producer. As a screenwriter, Natasha has been a quarterfinalist in the Austin Film Festival and a finalist for both the NALIP Diverse Women in Media Fellowship and the Sundance Episodic Story Lab. Her personal essays have been published in the Establishment and the Huffington Post. Color Me In is ...
Title:Color Me InFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:384 pages, 8.56 × 5.88 × 1.13 inShipping dimensions:8.56 × 5.88 × 1.13 inPublished:August 20, 2019Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525578234

ISBN - 13:9780525578239


Read from the Book

I have lived trapped in that moment ever since.   In the dreaded ambiguity   That follows me everywhere I go.   Even here,   In this grimy mirror,   and bitter fluorescent glow.     The electric hiss, like bees caught in a plastic casing, sends shock waves from the sterile lightbulbs in the bathroom of Mount Olivene Baptist Church. The sound travels over the damp off-white tiles, back to my reflection in a mirror so streaked and blurred with soap scum my skin almost blends into the walls behind me. If it weren’t for the burst of brown freckles that swarm around my nose and across my cheekbones, I’d be the way I am most of the time: invisible--swallowed up whole by the imaginary bugs and the all-encompassing beige.   Cloudy Pepto-Bismol-pink gel squirts onto me like projectile vomit from the rusted soap dispenser and sends a foamy streak across my light yellow shirt. I go to grab a handful of waxy paper towels piled up on the side of the sink and bump my phone and church program, which I’ve covered with poetry scribbles, sending them to the ground.   “Damn it!”   My shout echoes through the empty space and I stand with my eyes pinched shut, ready for Jesus Christ to float into the ladies’ room and smite me for using foul language in his house. But no one comes. The organ upstairs begins to play, accompanied by the choir. They drag these hymns out for like, twenty minutes. Four sentences that repeat over and over and over, gaining in volume and excitement and conviction with each go-around.     Take me to the water   Take me to the water   Take me to the water   There to be baptized     This is the song before closing remarks. I need to get moving before the Gray Lady Gang rushes in here for their weekly gossip session, which, for the record, is way scarier than the reincarnation of the lord and savior.   Every Sunday, the posse of eighty- to one-hundred-year-old ladies shows up in matching skirt suits and refined wigs, ready to talk shit and bully folks in the name of Christ. The whole congregation knows that they kick out anyone who dares use the bathroom during their regularly scheduled meeting with a swat of a cane and a glare so rigid that their victim is liable to cross over right here in the bathroom.   “Did you see what she had the nerve to wear today, Eveline? She’s a two-bit hussy, if you ask me. Stuffed into that getup like a breakfast sausage . . .”   Their raspy voices rush under the bathroom door with the breeze from the fans in the hallway. I’m too late.   Currently, the talk of the town is Miss Clarisse, a woman in her sixties who owns a clothing boutique that specializes in form-fitting, outlandish attire best reserved for ’90s Lil’ Kim videos. She is back on the prowl for love after her fling with Pastor Davis ended abruptly a few weeks ago--the Grays threatened to circulate a petition for his retirement, deeming it inappropriate for a community leader to be seen with her in public. Miss Clarisse isn’t exactly helping her case, showing up to church every Sunday in outfits so tight it’s a miracle when she doesn’t pop right out of them.   Their murmurs move closer, so eager to dive into the juicy updates that they can’t even wait to get inside the room. The pounding from their thick heels against the floor counts down to our impending faceoff. I have to save myself.   I burst through the door just before they arrive and walk past them without making eye contact as I rush to the stairs.   “Humph!” grunts the oldest and roughest GLG member, Miss Eveline. Her straight, chin-length black wig sways ever so slightly under a wide-brimmed lavender hat adorned with netting and an embroidered silver rose.   “They can’t be satisfied takin’ our houses, now these white folks got to come up here into our churches too?” Oretha, a light-skinned woman who is the tallest and spriteliest in the bunch, asks.   Miss Eveline smacks Oretha’s hand with a guttural “Shush!”   “That there is Nevaeh, Pastor Paire’s granddaughter,” Miss Eveline says. “The Jewish one,” I hear, before the bathroom door closes behind them with a sharp click.

Editorial Reviews

“A riveting testament to the power of knowing where you come from to figure out where you’re going . . . an emotional roller coaster you won’t want to get off of. Absolutely outstanding!” —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin“[A] beautifully told and compelling coming-of-age story about not just finding your voice, but learning the important lessons of when and how best to use it.” —Julie Buxbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things “[A] tender and brave story that challenged every simplistic idea I have ever had about race and identity. . . . It is impossible not to root for Nevaeh Levitz as she navigates two cultural communities to find a true home in her own heart.” —Attica Locke, Edgar Award-winning author of Blue Bird, Blue Bird"In Díaz' skillful hands, the many aspects of Nevaeh's intersectional identity are woven together so that they are, as in real life, inextricable from each other. Broadly appealing." —Kirkus Reviews“Fills a gap in teen fiction. . . . Recommend to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X.”—School Library Journal". . . highly relatable. . . .Nevaeh learns that identity is as beautiful as it is complicated, and readers will chear her on as she gradually becomes empowered to stand up for herself and others." -- Jewish Book Council