Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Ages: 4 – 8 years
As a parent, it’s our job to help our children develop positive self-esteem and find the light within themselves…
…And in this modern world where children are bombarded with unrealistic imagery on a daily basis, this is no easy task.
In her debut picture book, Sulwe, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyongó has created a heartwarming story about colorism and self-esteem, inspiring children to be comfortable in their own skin.
The world needs more books like this! Books that teach children self-acceptance and diversity.
‘’Sulwe was born the color of midnight.’’
Her sister was the color of high noon, Baba the color of dusk, and Momma was the color of dawn. Sulwe looks nothing like her family or hardly anyone at school.
Sulwe was given names like ‘’Blackie’’ and ‘’Darkie,’’ but her sister was given names like ‘’Sunshine’’ and ‘’Beauty’’. So Sulwe hid away while her sister made friends.
She tried to make her skin lighter, but nothing she tried worked. She went to bed and turned to God for a miracle, asking in prayer to be ‘’as fair as the parents I’m from.’’
When she woke up, there was not a trace of daylight on her midnight skin. Sulwe gets upset and tells her Mama everything. Her Mama explains that brightness is not in your skin, it’s just who you are. Mama tells her she is beautiful but Sulwe still can’t see it.
That night, a shooting star appears and tells Sulwe to ‘’Come with me.’’
She learns of a story about Night and Day, who were sisters. They loved each other very much, but people didn’t treat the sisters the same. Night got fed up and left the earth. With only Day left behind, the days grew too long. Both Day and everyone else really began to miss Night.
Day goes to find Night and the people rejoice when she returns. Night learns that the darkest night is much needed. The stars point out that some light can only be seen in the dark and while Day has a golden glow, with Night everything had an elegant silver sheen.
‘’When you are darkest is when you are most beautiful. It’s when you are most you,’’ Day tells her sister.
The shooting star explains to Sulwe, ‘’we need them both, on their sunniest day and their darkest night, and every shade in between.’’
Sulwe rose the next morning feeling dark and beautiful, bright and strong. There would be no hiding anymore. Sulwe felt beautiful inside and out.
Lupita Nyongó is an Academy Award-winning Kenyan actress and producer. She hopes that more and more children begin their lives knowing that they are beautiful. ‘’That they can look to the beauty in the world and know they are a part of it.’’
Vashti Harrison has created stand-out beautiful illustrations that bring this story to life.
In her stand-out debut picture book, Sulwe, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyongó has created a heartwarming story about colorism and self-esteem, inspiring children to be comfortable in their own skin.
The world needs this book!