Lupita Nyongo has written a children’s book to challenge the way children see beauty

Lupita Nyong'o attends the 2018 National Board of Review Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on Jan. 9, 2018, in New York City.
Image: Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Lupita Nyong’o dropped a bombshell of the most wonderful kind on her Twitter and Instagram. She’s written a children’s book about a “dark skinned girl” who, after embarking on an adventure, “awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty.” 

The Academy Award-winning actor’s debut novel will be released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in January 2019. 

“I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! It’s called Sulwe!” wrote the Kenyan-Mexican actor on Instagram. 

The word “sulwe” means “star” in Luo, Nyong’o’s native language, according to a New York Times article announcing the book. 

“She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning,” writes Nyong’o. “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.”

Nyong’o has previously spoken about her relationship with her skin colour during childhood. In a 2014 speech, the actor said she felt “un-beautiful” growing up because every time she turned on the TV she “only saw pale skin.”  

“I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin and my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter skinned,” saidNyong’o. “The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin, that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first.” 

She added that each morning she “experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as […] the day before.” 

Per a New York Times report, Nyong’o wants to appeal to children aged between 5 and 7 years; an age range in which “you learn all the things that you spend the rest of your life trying to unlearn.” The report states that Nyong’o hopes her book will make all children rethink “what it means to be beautiful.” 

We can’t wait to read Sulwe!

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