If you’re looking for a new book your daughter, it must be Lupita Nyongo’s Sulwe.
The stunning 48-page picture book, beautifully written by the Oscar winner and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, centers on the beautiful Sulwe, a young African girl who embarks on a special journey to find her own beauty. See, little Sulwe is dark-skinned and is sadly struggling to see the amazingness that lives inside her.
“Sulwe has skin the color of midnight,” the book summary reads.
“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.”
For Lupita, this is a story that hits close to home.
“I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin color because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin,” she recently told BBC News host Emily Maitlis.
Adding that said her lighter-skinned younger sister was called “beautiful” and “pretty,’ adding “Self-consciously that translates into: ‘I’m not worthy.’”
But thankfully she turned those experiences into an affirming lesson of self-love and self-discovery. And like Hair Love, Sulwe makes sure that our girls, especially our super melanated ones, see themselves as worthy and beautiful. That, and they can be the heroes in the story, which we know isn’t as conveyed in pop culture as much as it should be.
Most importantly, Sulwe is the type of story that our girls truly deserve, and one that parents should read as well. Sometimes as adults, we can downplay our children’s feelings about colorism and what they experience because of our own baggage with the issue. Colorism is real and it impacts our girls (and boys) in more ways than we care to admit.
But Sulwe is here to help us heal, celebrate who we are and build our girls us!
Even better? it’s having an impact on its readers. Since it debuted on October 17, celebs such as Oprah and Ava DuVernay have taken to social media to sing the book’s praises, along with little Black girls from around the world posting pics of themselves enjoying Sulwe.
This is what the power of representation looks like.
Get your copy of Sulwe here.