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Written by and illustrated by Vashti Harrison and Lupita Nyong'o
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Goodreads Rating - 4.6 / 5.0
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What's Sulwe About

Publisher Summary

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. 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.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

What Kind of Book is Sulwe

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Quotes from Sulwe

  • "Brightness is not from your skin, my love. Brightness is just who you are."
  • "Real beauty comes from your mind and your heart. It begins with how *you* see *yourself*, not how others see you."

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Sulwe felt alone because of how she looked, and it made her feel like she wasn’t good enough. Have you ever had similar feelings, where you felt like you didn’t fit in or weren’t good enough? How can you, like Sulwe, appreciate who yourself for who you are?

  • As the shooting star shares, Night and Day are both needed to make the world strong and beautiful. Do you know people who look different, have different cultures, or have different talents? How do all of your differences make the world beautiful and strong?

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Book Lists That Include Sulwe

Book Topics › self-esteem
Children's Books About Self-esteem
Book Topics › diversity
Children's Books About Diversity
Book Topics › self-discovery
Children's Books About Self-discovery
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Who Illustrated Sulwe

Vashti Harrison

Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, which is also a NAACP Image Award winner. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and picture book worlds.

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What Has Vashti Harrison Said About Sulwe

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Vashti know that you want more details about Sulwe!

What Has Lupita Nyong'o Said About Sulwe

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Lupita know that you want more details about Sulwe!

Vashti Harrison's Book Dedication

For Lupita

Lupita Nyong'o's Book Dedication

For Sekai, the newest star in our night sky

What Do Critics Say About Sulwe

  • The School Library Journal

    “Though a bit uneven in its storytelling, this beautiful book covers an important topic rarely addressed for young audiences, with tenderness and joy. Sure to gain attention in picture book collections.”

    Read full review >>
  • Kirkus Reviews

    “After learning how Night and Day are both needed, Sulwe knows that she is “dark and beautiful, bright and strong.” Harrison’s glossy illustrations faithfully render the features of black people, allowing the beauty of different skin tones to shine, with deep purple tones in the darkness, reinforcing the story’s message.” (starred review)

    Read full review >>
  • Publishers Weekly

    “By turns beguiling . . . and magical . . . the volume also clearly conveys that colorism is real, and it hurts. Sulwe’s story confronts it head-on . . .”

    Read full review >>

Did Sulwe Win Any Awards

You bet it did. Check it out below!

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Book Details

Publication Date:
October 15, 2019
Text Details:
The text for this book was set in Young Finesse 9.
Illustration Details:
The illustrations for this book were rendered using Adobe Photoshop.

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