Academy award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has been outspoken about her personal experiences with colorism, and now she’s furthering her efforts to bring attention to the issue by creating a children’s book, CNN reported.
The book—titled Sulwe—is for readers between the ages of 5 and 7, the news outlet said. It chronicles the experiences of a 5-year-old Kenyan girl who has the darkest shade of skin in her family. The story mirrors some of what Nyong’o experienced while coming of age in Kenya.
“Sulwe is a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty,” Nyong’o wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”
I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! It’s called “Sulwe”! 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. Coming January 2019!!
Nyong’o said it was crucial to empower the youth to have a positive self-image at an early age and hoped her book inspires youngsters to embrace their differences and have a stronger sense of self-confidence. Sulwe is being published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and was slated to be released in January 2019.
Aside from the creation of the book, Nyong’o is gearing up for the highly-anticipated February release of one of her latest films, Marvel’s Black Panther.
Many Black celebrities have been dedicated to creating projects designed for children of color where they see themselves reflected. Actress Karyn Parsons—best known for her role as Hillary on the beloved ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—has been focused on creating animated films through her non-profit organization Sweet Blackberry that highlight the untold stories of African-American cultural figures.
There is a need for more diversity in children’s literature. A recent study from Bates College revealed that characters of color in children’s books are often stereotyped and connected to a narrative of oppression.