by Lupita Nyong'o

Hardcover, 2019



Call number



Simon & Schuster Canada (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 48 pages


When five-year-old Sulwe's classmates make fun of her dark skin, she tries lightening herself to no avail, but her encounter with a shooting star helps her understand there is beauty in every shade.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o makes her children's book debut with Sulwe, a lovely picture-book about a young girl who struggles with issues of self worth because of her dark skin. Wishing she were lighter skinned like her mother and father, convinced she would have more friends if
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she was more like her sister, Sulwe attempts to lighten her skin herself, until her mother steps in and reminds her that her name means "star," and that she has a light all her own. But what does that mean? When a real star shows up and takes her on a fantastical voyage, sharing the story of the sisters Day and Night, Sulwe finally begins to gain some perspective...

Although often skeptical when it comes to celebrity-authored children's books, which I frequently find to be rather lackluster, I am sometimes pleased to be proven wrong, discovering a gem in the process. Sulwe is such a gem, pairing an engaging, poignant and ultimately heartwarming story from Nyong'o with luminously beautiful artwork from illustrator Vashti Harrison. As the author's note makes plain, this is a story rooted in the Lupita Nyong'o's own life experiences, and that really shines through, giving the story an undeniable emotional depth and immediacy. Highly recommended to anyone looking for children's stories about colorism and self esteem.
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LibraryThing member villemezbrown
Goodreads Choice Awards Project: Read as many of the Best Picture Book nominees as possible. 6 to go!

Terrific sentiment and beautiful art, but the story-within-a-story lost me (it's basically a dream sequence, which I hate), so the change in the girl's thinking in the end didn't land as well for me
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as it should have.
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
lovely story of self acceptance.
author's note at the end of the book makes it ever more true.
Beautiful illustrations.
LibraryThing member gthomp7
This was a great read! The pictures and illustrations throughout this story were beautiful. It is apparent that the illustrator put in a great amount of effort and time into creating beautiful illustrations to accompany the storyline. The story really encourages children to not listen to others'
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opinions about themselves. The central message of this story is all about self-acceptance and beauty. The authors get the message across, that we should not let others define what beauty means to us. In reading this book, readers learn/are reminded that everyone is beautiful, regardless of skin color. This story is really personal and hits home for me. In the Black community, colorism is an issue that we face way more than necessary. Individuals in the Black community are often comparing themselves to one another, where they tend to associate fair/lighter skin with beauty and darker skin as not so beautiful. This greatly impacts students' self-esteem, which is why I really appreciate the message this book relays. Every child, every adult, every person should feel and know that they are beautiful, regardless of shade. Students can learn a lot from this book and some may even be able to relate, which is always a great experience for readers— being able to relate to the text.
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LibraryThing member campbell_m76
A beautiful book that discusses skin color and the relationship between words used to describe day and night. Sulwe is sad because people call her names for having darker skin, she doesn't love how dark her skin is and wants to have a lighter tone like some of her family. Read to learn how Sulwe
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learns to love the beautiful dark color of her skin and embrace her own beauty.
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LibraryThing member Linyarai
I read this for the "An Author's Debut Book" part of my 2020 reading challenge. I loved it, the artwork was phenomenal and the story was beautiful and moving. It was a perfect way to show diversity and that we are all beautiful and bright.
LibraryThing member RochelleJones
This book was everything I hoped it would be. Beautiful illustrations and an even more beautiful message. Every child should have this book read to them.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

11.38 inches


1534425365 / 9781534425361
Page: 1.7715 seconds