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Sulwe

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4.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,452 ratings  ·  555 reviews
A New York Times bestseller!

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
...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Jeri Silfies Start at her current age and read it many times until she stops asking for it or learns to read it for herself. Good for mother daughter bonding.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,452 ratings  ·  555 reviews


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Chloe
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The art. The story. The message. Wow this brought a tear to my eye. <3
Calista
Wonderful! This is one of my top 5 new 2019 picture books of the year. This is a little biographical we find out in the author’s note.

Sulwe has dark skin like midnight while the rest of her family has lighter tones and her sister has a golden tone to her skin. Sulwe prays for lighter skin and the ability to make friends and not be teased. Her mama tells her the most beautiful story or legend of daylight and nighttime. The people love the sun and hate the night, until nighttime leaves and then
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LaDonna
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE


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
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Christina
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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,
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MissBecka
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.
Stephanie Anze
"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
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Nicole Hewitt
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
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Deborah
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Renee
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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Lata
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
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Marzie
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With gorgeous illustrations, Sulwe, a name from the Luo word for star, encourages children who are uncomfortable with the color of their skin to love themselves as they are and to find beauty within themselves. This is a beautiful children's picture book about colorism.
Dee's Reading Zone
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
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Rod Brown
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
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.
Licha
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The cover on this book is beautiful. The illustrations inside are more of the same beautiful artwork. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. There is also a gorgeous picture of Lupita Nyong'o in the back. This is her story about dealing with accepting the color of her skin.

I picked up this book based on an interview I saw where she tells about not being aware of her skin color until her sister, who is lighter skin-colored than her, was born. She started noticing how others around her would
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Abigail
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ⭐
This book is GORGEOUS and so is the message ...more
Renée | Book Girl Magic
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
Kai
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist-as-fuck
Beautiful message, lush illustrations, and all the feels. I do think it could have been a little more subtle - it might be a children's book but not everything needs to be spelled out. Nevertheless, a joy to read.
Tasha Birckhead
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Different Is  Beautiful
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is about how you can be as dark as midnight and still be beautiful no matter what they say
Melhara
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.
Amen.

Sulwe was born with skin that is darker than the rest of her family and friends. Sulwe desperately wishes that her skin was lighter
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
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.
Skip
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Beautifully illustrated by Vashti Harrison, Academy-award winning actress Lupita Nyong'o has written about a young very dark-skinned girl (Sulwe), whose self-esteem is low. She thinks her fair-skinned sister is beautiful, and her mother tells her she is too, just because that's a mother's role. As she looks around and sees the beauty around her, Sulwe eventually figures out that real beauty comes from ... within. Nice story.
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Seems like such a good book... I can't wait to get a copy... I didn't know it was written by that beautiful actress in The Black Panther at first. Such books are important to anyone who ever felt uncomfortable or unbeautiful in their own skin.





Elizabeth
Nov 11, 2019 added it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: https://twitter.com/Colorlines/status...
Shelves: picturebooks, race
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
...more
David Turko
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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