Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.
Kenyan actress Lupita Nyongo has revealed the cover for her debut children’s book Sulwe. A powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.
In a post on her Instagram feed on April 1st 2019, Lupita shared the illustration cover of Sulwe that depicts an African girl reaching for what could be the stars.
I wrote Sulwe to inspire children (and everyone really!) to love the skin they are in & to see the beauty that radiates from within
Sulwe is a Dhuluo word meaning “Star.”
The Book’s cover illustration was done by Vashti Harrison, an artist and filmmaker from Onley, Virginia.
Harrison, who was recently shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, commented: “It was truly a very special experience to be a part of bringing Sulwe to life. The story has an incredibly moving and powerful message, while at the same time shares a fun and whimsical adventure.”
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In January 2018, Lupita revealed that she would be writing a book about the struggles she experienced with her complexion and self image in 2014.
“I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! It’s called “Sulwe”! Sulwe is a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”
“As a child, much like Sulwe, I was teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin,” Nyong’o wrote in a statement from publisher Simon & Schuster. “It made me feel unbeautiful, unaccepted and impacted my confidence. It is painful to see that the preference for light skin prevails. My goal in writing Sulwe is to provide young children with a path towards seeing their own beauty, regardless of what society tells them.”
Sulwe by Lupita Nyongo is available on pre-order and will be available on October 1st 2019.