Lupita Nyong’o Hopes to Inspire Dark-Skinned Girls Through Children’s Book Set to Come Out in 2019

Lupita Nyong’o attends the 2018 National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on Jan. 9, 2018, in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Lupita Nyong’o is adding another title to her résumé as she works on writing a children’s book that will address the issue of colorism and the discrimination that those with darker skin often face.

The book is titled Sulwe, which means “star” in Luo, Nyong’o’s native language. According to the New York Times, the picture book will target readers between the ages of 5 and 7.


Nyong’o posted about her venture on Instagram, writing in the caption: “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.”

The Times notes that the titular character Sulwe, who is 5, has the darkest skin tone in her family, something that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to change her skin color. Sulwe then goes on an adventure that eventually helps her see her own beauty differently.

The book is, of course, inspired by Nyong’o’s own journey through struggling with her complexion and self-image growing up, something that she has candidly addressed, most notably during her 2014 speech at Essence’s Annual Black Women in Hollywood event. During the speech, Nyong’o addressed a young fan who had decided that she would not try to lighten her skin after seeing Nyong’o on the big screen:

I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also, get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

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Breanna Edwards

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi