Lupita Nyong’o announced on Instagram and Twitter that she will be publishing a children’s book that challenges today’s beauty standards. The book is about a “dark skinned girl” who, shortly after embarking on an adventure, “awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty.”
The book 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, which is the actress’ native language, according to a New York Times article that announced the book’s publication.
I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children's book! It's called "Sulwe"! Sulwe is a dark skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. 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. Coming January 2019!!
Nyong’o has previously spoken about her difficult childhood experiences, being teased for the color of her skin, and even being ashamed of her own complexion.
“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,” said Nyong’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 noted that each morning she “experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as […] the day before.”
According to the Times, the book’s target audience is children between the ages of 5 and 7. “You learn all the things that you spend the rest of your life trying to unlearn.” Nyong’o also aims to have all children rethink “what it means to be beautiful.”