Nyong'o hopes the story, based on her own upbringing in Kenya, will instill life-long values in the minds of her young readers. 

By Lauren Pardee
January 18, 2018

You may know Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o for her major roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Jungle Book, and 12 Years a Slave but now the starlet is breaking away from the silver screen to write her first children’s book—Sulwe.

Nyong’o’s personal journey of accepting her dark complexion inspired the story of Sulwe, a 5-year-old Kenyan who is uncomfortable with the fact that she has the darkest skin in her family. On her voyage to lighten her skin, Sulwe (which means star in Nyong'o's native language Luo) finds truth and acceptance through the guidance of the night sky and words of wisdom from her mother.

According to the New York Times, Nyong’o wishes to instill the important message of self-worth and accepting beauty in all forms in the minds of children in hopes it is valuable information they can tap into later in life.

Nyong’o is often a voice for change through her public platform—her powerful speeches receiving viral internet attention. Nyong’o even encountered a young fan who confessed her presence as an actor deterred her from lightening her skin.

It is clear the Nyong’o goes above and beyond to uphold the dignity we expect from role models in 2018.

Sulwe for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 7—the picture book is set to debut next January.

During such a sensitive time in history when diversity, discrimination, and harassment will no longer be tolerated, it is pivotal we have ways to teach our children about empowerment and strength. We commend Nyong’o for her commitment to molding young minds and being a beacon for change.


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