Sulwe
From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.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.In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty. fferently.

Sulwe Details

TitleSulwe
Author
ReleaseOct 1st, 2019
PublisherSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books

Sulwe Review

  • LaDonna
    January 1, 1970
    POWERFUL —seems too easy of a word to describe the debut children’s book by Lupita Nyong’o. Yet, powerful, may not do it enough justice. Colorism is an extremely challenging subject to broach and tackle, especially among people of color. However, Sulwe approaches the issue with such honesty and candor that it invites a much needed discussion. Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are” .With the beautiful illustrations, provided by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe speaks to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️♾ POWERFUL —seems too easy of a word to describe the debut children’s book by Lupita Nyong’o. Yet, powerful, may not do it enough justice. Colorism is an extremely challenging subject to broach and tackle, especially among people of color. However, Sulwe approaches the issue with such honesty and candor that it invites a much needed discussion. Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are” .With the beautiful illustrations, provided by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe speaks to every woman of color who has felt marginalized or consumed by doubt. Although marketed as a children’s book, this book is ageless!!!In sharing her story Ms. Nyong’o speaks to the Sulwe in each of us. ”Don’t wait for anyone to tell you what is beautiful. Know that you are beautiful because you choose to be”.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    Of COURSE I loved this. The story was so perfect for the mind of a young dark skinned girl. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and anyone that experiences them will be able to appreciate them. I’m so honored to have experienced this story. Even as the 32 year old that I am. As a young black girl, while I’m not the darkest, I certainly wasn’t the lightest. And I was outside a lot, so I was darker as a kid. I remember the names “moose”, “monkey”. I remember running to my mom when some boy Of COURSE I loved this. The story was so perfect for the mind of a young dark skinned girl. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and anyone that experiences them will be able to appreciate them. I’m so honored to have experienced this story. Even as the 32 year old that I am. As a young black girl, while I’m not the darkest, I certainly wasn’t the lightest. And I was outside a lot, so I was darker as a kid. I remember the names “moose”, “monkey”. I remember running to my mom when some boy in my class said I looked like a moose, during our annual Halloween fair. I remember my mom telling me not to listen. So I think about the young girls of today, the brown skin girls that are constantly being told that they are ugly. They are dark. They resemble animals.I’m so glad this story exists for children today. Even though, I’m not a young girl anymore, I still appreciated this story. It spoke to the young black girl that I once was, the young black girl that still lives inside me. She’s grateful.
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  • MissBecka
    January 1, 1970
    Breathtaking illustrations with a positive message in self esteem.I found the writing kind of hollow and wish more feeling had been injected into the phrasing.The author's note at the end held so much more emotion than the actual book.
  • Nicole Hewitt
    January 1, 1970
    This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction AddictionThis book isstunning in just about every way imaginable. The story follows little Sulwe, who struggles to see her own beauty because of the darkness of her skin. Sulwe wishes she could look more like her parents, more like her sister, more like the other boys and girls at her school. Like most children, she doesn't want to feel different---and her dark skin doesn't make her feel special or unique, no matter what her This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction AddictionThis book is stunning in just about every way imaginable. The story follows little Sulwe, who struggles to see her own beauty because of the darkness of her skin. Sulwe wishes she could look more like her parents, more like her sister, more like the other boys and girls at her school. Like most children, she doesn't want to feel different---and her dark skin doesn't make her feel special or unique, no matter what her mother might tell her. It takes a beautiful fable about day and night to make her see how she brings beauty to the world. As a reader, your heart goes out to Sulwe, and it soars with hers as she discovers her true worth.The depth and detail of every illustration in this book is incredible. I'm amazed at how well Vashti Harrison was able to use such a lush and extensive palette when many of the images are (necessarily) dark; in fact, the darker images were my favorites---I so appreciated the subtlety of the details. The illustrations of Sulwe's trip into the stars and the fable of day and night truly took my breath away.This story is both important and utterly beautiful; what a wonderful combination!!***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this for my mother and sister to read to their young students, but I wanted to read it too! This book is perfect for helping young kids find the beauty in their dark skin. And the illustrations are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a children’s book.
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  • Stephanie Anze
    January 1, 1970
    "Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are”Sulwe is darker than everybody else around her. Darker than her sister, parents and the kids at school. Sulwe does not like bbeing different or standing out. She longs to be lighter so she can be beautiful too. Her mother assures Sulwe that she is already beautiful but it will take a special journey for her to believe it and embrace it.Lupita Nyong'o is the author of this gorgeous book. Captivating and strong this is a great debut "Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are”Sulwe is darker than everybody else around her. Darker than her sister, parents and the kids at school. Sulwe does not like bbeing different or standing out. She longs to be lighter so she can be beautiful too. Her mother assures Sulwe that she is already beautiful but it will take a special journey for her to believe it and embrace it.Lupita Nyong'o is the author of this gorgeous book. Captivating and strong this is a great debut as author for Nyong'o. The illustrations are just too beautiful and the message is one that needs to be said as much as possible. Though the target audience is children, this book appeals to everybody. The book deals with colorism and loving yourself with finesse and charm. Empowering and powerful, the words on these pages celebrate beauty in its full splendor. Though a simple concept, this is an impacting message. A wonderful book overall.
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  • Tonja Drecker
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautiful book and tale, which takes a problem many children can relate to and then sweeps it off into the world of imagination and dreams in a lovely fairy tale.While Sulwe believes every single one of her family members is beautiful, she's convinced that her own darker skin makes her uglier than them. The teasing and taunting at school doesn't help matters. Sulwe tries everything she can to make her skin lighter, but nothing works. Mother, of course, tries to explain how gorgeous she This is a beautiful book and tale, which takes a problem many children can relate to and then sweeps it off into the world of imagination and dreams in a lovely fairy tale.While Sulwe believes every single one of her family members is beautiful, she's convinced that her own darker skin makes her uglier than them. The teasing and taunting at school doesn't help matters. Sulwe tries everything she can to make her skin lighter, but nothing works. Mother, of course, tries to explain how gorgeous she really is, but Sulwe isn't convinced. And then, a shooting star enters her bedroom, and she's swept away on an amazing story, which might help show what true beauty is.Already the cover grabbed my attention with the lovely big eyed girl and the magical stars. And that's what this read is—magical. The story starts with a very modern day setting and family, allowing the listener/reader to get to know Sulwe and sympathize with her plight. While not every listener will have the same problem as Sulwe, the idea of not fitting in or not liking a part of oneself is something many listeners can relate to. And Sulwe's desire to change just touches the heart. It's so bitter sweet and sad, making the reader wish they could reach out and hug her. After this introduction, the story takes a sudden shift into the world of fantasy and lore. It jerks a bit, but the tale of the two sisters is so wonderfully done, that the reader/listener is quickly swept away. It's beautiful and presents the message loud and clear. True beauty isn't always immediately recognized, but that doesn't lessen it. The most lovely beauty comes from within and is as bright as a star.The illustrations are simply a treat. Not only are Sulwe and her family well depicted, but the flight into the folk tale is as wondrous as the story itself. It's the type of book listeners will want to hear again and again, and not easily forget the tale after the last page has been read. In other words, it's a lovely read young listeners (and older ones) are sure to enjoy.I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed this one so much that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeously illustrated. Sulwe, the color of midnight, believes she is too dark compared to her family of dusk, dawn, and high noon, and yearns to be fair, beautiful, and befriended. Her mother tells her, "When you are darkest is when you are the most beautiful. It's when you are the most you." She learns to accept and celebrate the darkness and lightness within and without. Empowering book for a child unhappy with the color of his or her skin.
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    Stunningly beautiful illustrations accompany a deceptively simple story of a girl with skin much darker than everyone else in her family, and who feels ashamed for it. After a wonderful visit by a shooting star, she comes to see the value and beauty in herself and her dark skin.The idea that being dark means one is inherently bad or stupid is incredibly damaging, and this lovely little story shows young children feeling the same way as Sulwe that there is beauty within oneself, regardless of Stunningly beautiful illustrations accompany a deceptively simple story of a girl with skin much darker than everyone else in her family, and who feels ashamed for it. After a wonderful visit by a shooting star, she comes to see the value and beauty in herself and her dark skin.The idea that being dark means one is inherently bad or stupid is incredibly damaging, and this lovely little story shows young children feeling the same way as Sulwe that there is beauty within oneself, regardless of skin colour.
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  • ❤❤Dee's Love of Books ❤❤
    January 1, 1970
    REREAD: This book written by actress, Lupita Nyong'o gives an uplifting tale of a little girl named Sulwe,"born the color of midnight" learning how to accept the color of her dark skin... truly a beautiful picture book!"Sulwe dreamed of being the same color as her sister. She wanted real friends too." So she got the biggest eraser she could find and tried to rub off a layer or two of her darkness. That hurt!"""Dear Lord, Why do I look like midnight when my mother looks like dawn?""Brightness is REREAD: This book written by actress, Lupita Nyong'o gives an uplifting tale of a little girl named Sulwe,"born the color of midnight" learning how to accept the color of her dark skin... truly a beautiful picture book!"Sulwe dreamed of being the same color as her sister. She wanted real friends too." So she got the biggest eraser she could find and tried to rub off a layer or two of her darkness. That hurt!"""Dear Lord, Why do I look like midnight when my mother looks like dawn?""Brightness is not in your skin ... Brightness is just who you are." "Real beauty comes from your mind and your heart. It begins with how you see yourself, not how others see you." _____________________________________________________________What a beautiful and inspiring story for any POC kid or even adults learning to love yourself, your color, inside and out! #colorismisreal
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  • Rod Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads Choice Awards Project: Read as many of the Best Picture Book nominees as possible. 6 to go!Terrific sentiment and beautiful art, but the story-within-a-story lost me (it's basically a dream sequence, which I hate), so the change in the girl's thinking in the end didn't land as well for me as it should have.
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  • Jillian Heise
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful book & Vashti Harrison's endearing characters illustrations which elevate to stunning in the mythology section. Will recommend it and buy it. Just wish author/editor had trusted it enough to let it end on the second to last page which felt more natural and less didactic of an ending than the last line on the last page.
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  • Abigail
    January 1, 1970
    Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o makes her children's book debut with Sulwe, a lovely picture-book about a young girl who struggles with issues of self worth because of her dark skin. Wishing she were lighter skinned like her mother and father, convinced she would have more friends if she was more like her sister, Sulwe attempts to lighten her skin herself, until her mother steps in and reminds her that her name means "star," and that she has a light all her own. But what does that Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o makes her children's book debut with Sulwe, a lovely picture-book about a young girl who struggles with issues of self worth because of her dark skin. Wishing she were lighter skinned like her mother and father, convinced she would have more friends if she was more like her sister, Sulwe attempts to lighten her skin herself, until her mother steps in and reminds her that her name means "star," and that she has a light all her own. But what does that mean? When a real star shows up and takes her on a fantastical voyage, sharing the story of the sisters Day and Night, Sulwe finally begins to gain some perspective...Although often skeptical when it comes to celebrity-authored children's books, which I frequently find to be rather lackluster, I am sometimes pleased to be proven wrong, discovering a gem in the process. Sulwe is such a gem, pairing an engaging, poignant and ultimately heartwarming story from Nyong'o with luminously beautiful artwork from illustrator Vashti Harrison. As the author's note makes plain, this is a story rooted in the Lupita Nyong'o's own life experiences, and that really shines through, giving the story an undeniable emotional depth and immediacy. Highly recommended to anyone looking for children's stories about colorism and self esteem.
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  • Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
    January 1, 1970
    This book is GORGEOUS and so is the message This book is GORGEOUS and so is the message❤️
  • Renée | Book Girl Magic
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished reading this to Tenley and it is absolutely the most beautiful book! Not only were the illustrations breathtaking, but the message of loving the brown skin you’re in was just as beautiful too. Had no idea what the book was about when I originally received it but wanted it specifically because I knew Vashti did the illustrations and who doesn't love Lupita? A great message on how beautiful dark skin is and how much light(ness) can't survive without darkness. Left my little brown Just finished reading this to Tenley and it is absolutely the most beautiful book! Not only were the illustrations breathtaking, but the message of loving the brown skin you’re in was just as beautiful too. Had no idea what the book was about when I originally received it but wanted it specifically because I knew Vashti did the illustrations and who doesn't love Lupita? A great message on how beautiful dark skin is and how much light(ness) can't survive without darkness. Left my little brown skinned girl feeling beautiful about the skin she's in! Highly recommend. Would make great Christmas gifts for the little ones.
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  • Tasha Birckhead
    January 1, 1970
    This book made me almost cry. I remember feeling and doing the same thing Sulwe did as a child. Feeling less by being made fun of because of my darker skin. I wish this book had been around for me then but I'm glad I can share this book with my family. To let them know they are beautiful inside and out no matter what others say. The art work is beautiful and the storytelling is magical. A wonderful addition to any collection.
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  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #19 (of 20) of 2019, and we liked it. It was written by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and digitally illustrated (in her second nominated book this year), Vashti Harrison. The story is about Sulwe, who grows up wanting to be lighter-toned as her mother and sisters are. So it’s about colorism and self-esteem, including a dream/fantasy sequence about Night and Day that helps Sulwe believe in herselfHarry (15, My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #19 (of 20) of 2019, and we liked it. It was written by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and digitally illustrated (in her second nominated book this year), Vashti Harrison. The story is about Sulwe, who grows up wanting to be lighter-toned as her mother and sisters are. So it’s about colorism and self-esteem, including a dream/fantasy sequence about Night and Day that helps Sulwe believe in herselfHarry (15, today, his birthday!): 4. Inspiring, and I liked how her mom comforts her. I like the story of Night and Day to encourage Sulwe.Tara: 3.5. I liked the story within the story about Night and Day more than the story about the girl. N not bad, though.Rosanne (Grandma): 3. The eyes in the illustrations are wonderful!Dave: 2.5/3. I actually did not like the Night and Day fantasy sequence as a way of helping resolve the struggle Sulwe has with herself, but it is in keeping with the dreamy, dramatic atmospheric digital illustration style adopted here that I actually thought was just okay, thought I thought the art was better than the writing. The theme of colorism reminds me of the similar theme in Spike Lee’s School Daze and the YA novel by Sharon Flake, The Skin I’m In.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This was an incredibly beautifully written picture book. Dear Lord,Why do I look like midnight, when my mother looks like dawn?Please make me as fairas the parents I'm from. I want to be beautiful,not just to pretend.I want to have daylight. I want to have friends.If you hear me, my Lord,and would like to comply, may I wake up as brightas the sun in the sky.Amen. Sulwe was born with skin that is darker than the rest of her family and friends. Sulwe desperately wishes that her skin was lighter This was an incredibly beautifully written picture book. Dear Lord,Why do I look like midnight, when my mother looks like dawn?Please make me as fairas the parents I'm from. I want to be beautiful,not just to pretend.I want to have daylight. I want to have friends.If you hear me, my Lord,and would like to comply, may I wake up as brightas the sun in the sky.Amen. Sulwe was born with skin that is darker than the rest of her family and friends. Sulwe desperately wishes that her skin was lighter and does whatever she can to change the color of her skin to no avail. Her mother tries to comfort her by telling her that she's beautiful but that didn't help (afterall, a mother is supposed to say that, right?). One night, a shooting star enters her room and tells her the story of day and night - and of how the world needs light and dark and every shade in between. First of all, the writing was poetic and beautiful. The story was also wonderfully empowering and important. Finally, the pictures that accompanied the text were absolutely stunning. 10/10 would recommend this book to every single little girl out there, regardless of their skin color. It is important for every single little girl out there is beauty in being different!
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    A magnificent celebration of the beauty of dark skin is told through the story of little Sulwe, a girl whose skin color is darker than anyone else in her family. Sulwe tries to do anything she can to change the color of her skin, but nothing works. Sulwe finds comfort from a story shared to her by a shooting star, a story that reveals the importance of both dark and light. This is a story that should be shared with others.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations are beautiful, and the text manages to make a "child is Different in some way, wants to erase their difference, learns to love themselves" story not feel simplistic/didactic.Sulwe is darker than everyone in her community, including the other members of her family. And while people really like her lighter-skinned sister, Sulwe gets called disparaging nicknames.She tries lots of things to make her skin lighter, and while her mother reassures her that she's beautiful just as she The illustrations are beautiful, and the text manages to make a "child is Different in some way, wants to erase their difference, learns to love themselves" story not feel simplistic/didactic.Sulwe is darker than everyone in her community, including the other members of her family. And while people really like her lighter-skinned sister, Sulwe gets called disparaging nicknames.She tries lots of things to make her skin lighter, and while her mother reassures her that she's beautiful just as she is (and notes that real beauty is on the inside), this doesn't track with Sulwe's lived experience.(view spoiler)[Sulwe's name means "star," and we get a nice folk tale about the sisters Day and Night back at the beginning of Time -- "They loved each other very much. But people didn't treat the sisters the same." Eventually Night leaves, but of course Night is important.Night returned and the people rejoiced. "We need the darkest night to get the deepest rest. We need you so that we can grow and dream and keep our secrets to ourselves."That bit about the value and beauty of the dark goes on for a bit, but possibly my favorite moment is when Day says to her sister, "When you are darkest is when you are most beautiful. It's when you are most you."The star who has taken Sulwe on this magical journey explains, "You see, we need them both, on their sunniest day and their darkest night, and every shade in between. Together they make the world we know, light and dark, strong and beautiful."Sulwe is convinced. "And if she ever needed a reminder of her brightness, she could look up at the sky on the darkest night to see for herself." (hide spoiler)](Low-key wish Lupita looked darker on the back cover author photo, though.)
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  • Lala
    January 1, 1970
    This really warmed my heart. I wish as a kid I had more children's books like these that inspired little black girls to grow and achieve their dreams, and find beauty in themselves. I looked up to lupita nyong'o since I was in high school and still do now as a college student. The illustrations are beautiful and the message is heartwarming.
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  • David Turko
    January 1, 1970
    Not only is this the best kids book this year. But it maybe one of my favorite kid's books ever. Lupita gives a powerful message in this story about skin color and not feeling like she belonged at school. Over the course of the book Lupita tells a magical story that is very similar to something Neil Gaiman would write. I got goosebumps by the end of this book, it was really moving. Definitely worth reading.
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  • Lauren Smagacz
    January 1, 1970
    I sobbed like an infant. Must read. Must read to yourself. Must read to your children. Must read to your best friend. Must read to anyone who will listen.You are beautiful. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
  • Keela
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a must-read! In a world where so much attention is given to the color of a person’s skin, this beautiful story explores the journey that many of our little black girls go through. Sulwe is dark as midnight and stunning but doesn’t feel that way. Drawing on her own personal experience Lupita Nyong’o has written a story that is both heartbreaking and triumphant. It is sure to empower anyone who has felt less than because of their beautiful black skin. And Vashti Harrison’s This book is a must-read! In a world where so much attention is given to the color of a person’s skin, this beautiful story explores the journey that many of our little black girls go through. Sulwe is dark as midnight and stunning but doesn’t feel that way. Drawing on her own personal experience Lupita Nyong’o has written a story that is both heartbreaking and triumphant. It is sure to empower anyone who has felt less than because of their beautiful black skin. And Vashti Harrison’s illustrations are breathtaking. 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤
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  • Effie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I love the story of Sulwe and I love the dream she has with the story of night and day. It's a folk tale and a modern day story in one. Beautiful illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this magical and the heartfelt afterword by Lupita Nyong'o will be a comfort for anyone who has ever felt not pretty enough (aka just about everybody).
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  • Jill Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    The most beautiful picture book I’ve ever read. The most beautiful picture book I’ve ever read. ❤️
  • Brindi Michele
    January 1, 1970
    These illustrations are just SO STUNNING! Every page is absolutely breathtaking.And the story touched my heart. A much needed message for every little girl.
  • Gabrielle
    January 1, 1970
    Just gonna be over here having a happy sad feeling. This was adorable. And such a needed message
  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book. I would definitely read this to a child.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful!
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