Lupita Nyong’o has announced that she’s writing a children’s book with an important message about being comfortable in your own skin.
Titled Sulwe, which means “star” in Nyong’o’s native language of Luo, the story will follow a 5-year-old Kenyan girl who’s desperate to change her dark complexion but eventually finds self-acceptance with the help of her mother.
“I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children's book!” she shared on Instagram on Thursday. “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!!”
These issues of complexion and self-image hit close to home for Nyong’o, who grew up with a lighter-skinned sister who was often called “brown and pretty” by people outside of their family.
”I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin,” she said in a powerful speech at the at the 2014 Essence “Black Women in Hollywood” Luncheon. “And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter skinned.”
Nyong’o recalls that reading with her mother as a child had a major impact on her own journey toward self-acceptance, and hopes that by addressing the heavy themes of complexion and beauty in Sulwe that the story will have the same impact on others.