Sulwe

By Lupita Nyong'o, Vashti Harrison (illustrator),

Book cover of Sulwe

Book description

From Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colourism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe's skin is the colour of midnight. She's darker than everyone in her family, and everyone at school.

All she wants is to be beautiful and bright,…


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Why read it?

4 authors picked Sulwe as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Sulwe is a little girl with skin the ‘color of midnight’. But she just wants to be like her mother and sister, who are lighter skinned. This is an emotional read with stunning illustrations that teaches us to love ourselves just as we were made and embrace our own unique beauty. 

I really love Sulwe because of how it delves into a theme that is hardly ever addressed in children’s books: that of skin tone. The story illuminates how all skin shades, whether dark, medium, or light, are equally beautiful. I also find the aesthetics of the book very attractive, the wonderful illustrations with all the little nuances in the rendering of the attires, the props, and environment. This book offers an enchanting glimpse into life in contemporary Kenya, one not to be missed.

"Sulwe felt beautiful inside and out."

As kids become socially involved with other kids, it's natural for them to notice similarities and differences. Navigating our kid's feelings and curiosity are critical through communication. As a parent, I am adamant about establishing a parent-child relationship built on positive words. Journey with Sulwe as she learns the importance of self-love and appreciating differences. Lessons such as these are invaluable.

From LaTasha's list on empowering books for kids.

Lupita Nyong’O is a stunning Academy Award-winning actress who has faced discrimination because of the beautiful darkness of her skin, “the color of midnight.” In Sulwe, the title character is bullied at a young age and given nicknames that lead her to self-isolate, though she longs for friendship and to belong. She attempts to change the color of her skin via various dubious methods, before a magical journey with a namesake star, causes her to accept, “some light can only be seen in the dark,” and the world needs her to remain just as beautiful and perfect, as she…

From Charlotte's list on life-affirming books for Black children.

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