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4.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,590 ratings  ·  380 reviews
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
48 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Sabree Koonce The story is very short but sweet. Each page has a few words to a few sentences. I would say that it would work well for that age range.…moreThe story is very short but sweet. Each page has a few words to a few sentences. I would say that it would work well for that age range. (less)

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Average rating 4.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,590 ratings  ·  380 reviews

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POWERFUL —seems too easy of a word to describe the debut children’s book by Lupita Nyong’o. Yet, powerful, may not do it enough justice. Colorism is an extremely challenging subject to broach and tackle, especially among people of color. However, Sulwe approaches the issue with such honesty and candor that it invites a much needed discussion.

Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are”

With the beautiful illustrations, provided by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe speaks to
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Of COURSE I loved this. The story was so perfect for the mind of a young dark skinned girl. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and anyone that experiences them will be able to appreciate them.

I’m so honored to have experienced this story. Even as the 32 year old that I am. As a young black girl, while I’m not the darkest, I certainly wasn’t the lightest. And I was outside a lot, so I was darker as a kid. I remember the names “moose”, “monkey”. I remember running to my mom when some boy
Breathtaking illustrations with a positive message in self esteem.
I found the writing kind of hollow and wish more feeling had been injected into the phrasing.
The author's note at the end held so much more emotion than the actual book.
Nicole Hewitt
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This book isstunning in just about every way imaginable. The story follows little Sulwe, who struggles to see her own beauty because of the darkness of her skin. Sulwe wishes she could look more like her parents, more like her sister, more like the other boys and girls at her school. Like most children, she doesn't want to feel different---and her dark skin doesn't make her feel special or unique, no matter what her
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I bought this for my mother and sister to read to their young students, but I wanted to read it too! This book is perfect for helping young kids find the beauty in their dark skin. And the illustrations are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a children’s book.
Stephanie Anze
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Brightness is not in your skin...Brightness is just who you are”

Sulwe is darker than everybody else around her. Darker than her sister, parents and the kids at school. Sulwe does not like bbeing different or standing out. She longs to be lighter so she can be beautiful too. Her mother assures Sulwe that she is already beautiful but it will take a special journey for her to believe it and embrace it.

Lupita Nyong'o is the author of this gorgeous book. Captivating and strong this is a great debut
Tonja Drecker
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book and tale, which takes a problem many children can relate to and then sweeps it off into the world of imagination and dreams in a lovely fairy tale.

While Sulwe believes every single one of her family members is beautiful, she's convinced that her own darker skin makes her uglier than them. The teasing and taunting at school doesn't help matters. Sulwe tries everything she can to make her skin lighter, but nothing works. Mother, of course, tries to explain how gorgeous she
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeously illustrated. Sulwe, the color of midnight, believes she is too dark compared to her family of dusk, dawn, and high noon, and yearns to be fair, beautiful, and befriended. Her mother tells her, "When you are darkest is when you are the most beautiful. It's when you are the most you." She learns to accept and celebrate the darkness and lightness within and without. Empowering book for a child unhappy with the color of his or her skin.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stunningly beautiful illustrations accompany a deceptively simple story of a girl with skin much darker than everyone else in her family, and who feels ashamed for it. After a wonderful visit by a shooting star, she comes to see the value and beauty in herself and her dark skin.
The idea that being dark means one is inherently bad or stupid is incredibly damaging, and this lovely little story shows young children feeling the same way as Sulwe that there is beauty within oneself, regardless of
❤❤Dee's Love of Books ❤❤
REREAD: This book written by actress, Lupita Nyong'o gives an uplifting tale of a little girl named Sulwe,"born the color of midnight" learning how to accept the color of her dark skin... truly a beautiful picture book!

"Sulwe dreamed of being the same color as her sister. She wanted real friends too." So she got the biggest eraser she could find and tried to rub off a layer or two of her darkness. That hurt!"
"Dear Lord, Why do I look like midnight when my mother looks like dawn?"

"Brightness is
Rod Brown
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 as it should have.
Jillian Heise
Beautiful book & Vashti Harrison's endearing characters illustrations which elevate to stunning in the mythology section. Will recommend it and buy it. Just wish author/editor had trusted it enough to let it end on the second to last page which felt more natural and less didactic of an ending than the last line on the last page.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Colorism and/or Self Esteem
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 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 ...more
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-easy
This book is GORGEOUS and so is the message ...more
Renée | Book Girl Magic
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this to Tenley and it is absolutely the most beautiful book! Not only were the illustrations breathtaking, but the message of loving the brown skin you’re in was just as beautiful too. Had no idea what the book was about when I originally received it but wanted it specifically because I knew Vashti did the illustrations and who doesn't love Lupita? A great message on how beautiful dark skin is and how much light(ness) can't survive without darkness. Left my little brown ...more
Tasha Birckhead
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book made me almost cry. I remember feeling and doing the same thing Sulwe did as a child. Feeling less by being made fun of because of my darker skin. I wish this book had been around for me then but I'm glad I can share this book with my family. To let them know they are beautiful inside and out no matter what others say. The art work is beautiful and the storytelling is magical. A wonderful addition to any collection.
David Schaafsma
My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #19 (of 20) of 2019, and we liked it. It was written by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and digitally illustrated (in her second nominated book this year), Vashti Harrison. The story is about Sulwe, who grows up wanting to be lighter-toned as her mother and sisters are. So it’s about colorism and self-esteem, including a dream/fantasy sequence about Night and Day that helps Sulwe believe in herself

Harry (15,
This was an incredibly beautifully written picture book.

Dear Lord,
Why do I look like midnight,
when my mother looks like dawn?
Please make me as fair
as the parents I'm from.
I want to be beautiful,
not just to pretend.
I want to have daylight.
I want to have friends.
If you hear me, my Lord,
and would like to comply,
may I wake up as bright
as the sun in the sky.

Sulwe was born with skin that is darker than the rest of her family and friends. Sulwe desperately wishes that her skin was lighter
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity
A magnificent celebration of the beauty of dark skin is told through the story of little Sulwe, a girl whose skin color is darker than anyone else in her family. Sulwe tries to do anything she can to change the color of her skin, but nothing works. Sulwe finds comfort from a story shared to her by a shooting star, a story that reveals the importance of both dark and light.

This is a story that should be shared with others.
The illustrations are beautiful, and the text manages to make a "child is Different in some way, wants to erase their difference, learns to love themselves" story not feel simplistic/didactic.

Sulwe is darker than everyone in her community, including the other members of her family. And while people really like her lighter-skinned sister, Sulwe gets called disparaging nicknames.

She tries lots of things to make her skin lighter, and while her mother reassures her that she's beautiful just as she
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This really warmed my heart. I wish as a kid I had more children's books like these that inspired little black girls to grow and achieve their dreams, and find beauty in themselves. I looked up to lupita nyong'o since I was in high school and still do now as a college student. The illustrations are beautiful and the message is heartwarming.
David Turko
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not only is this the best kids book this year. But it maybe one of my favorite kid's books ever. Lupita gives a powerful message in this story about skin color and not feeling like she belonged at school. Over the course of the book Lupita tells a magical story that is very similar to something Neil Gaiman would write. I got goosebumps by the end of this book, it was really moving. Definitely worth reading.
Lauren Smagacz
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I sobbed like an infant. Must read. Must read to yourself. Must read to your children. Must read to your best friend. Must read to anyone who will listen.

You are beautiful.

Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read! In a world where so much attention is given to the color of a person’s skin, this beautiful story explores the journey that many of our little black girls go through. Sulwe is dark as midnight and stunning but doesn’t feel that way. Drawing on her own personal experience Lupita Nyong’o has written a story that is both heartbreaking and triumphant. It is sure to empower anyone who has felt less than because of their beautiful black skin. And Vashti Harrison’s ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I love the story of Sulwe and I love the dream she has with the story of night and day. It's a folk tale and a modern day story in one. Beautiful illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this magical and the heartfelt afterword by Lupita Nyong'o will be a comfort for anyone who has ever felt not pretty enough (aka just about everybody).
Jill Rogers
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most beautiful picture book I’ve ever read. ...more
Brindi Michele
These illustrations are just SO STUNNING! Every page is absolutely breathtaking.

And the story touched my heart. A much needed message for every little girl.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, to-buy
Just gonna be over here having a happy sad feeling.

This was adorable. And such a needed message
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I would definitely read this to a child.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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