Sulwe By Lupita Nyong’o, Illustrated By Vashti Harrison (2019) – hardcover
Recommended ages: 4 to 9
Reading Level: Lexile AD580L | Fountas & Pinnell O
Sulwe is born with darker skin than her family and classmates. She gets teased at school and called hurtful names while her sister is praised for her brighter skin. She longs to look more like those around her and tries everything to lighten her complexion. One evening, a shooting star darts through her window and takes her on a whimsical journey of self-discovery. This book truly is a must-have. The story has so much depth for a children’s picture book, and Vashti Harrison’s illustrations are so breathtaking; there are a few spreads that I’d love to have as art prints! And how can you not love that big, beautiful image of Sulwe on the cover?
Take-away message: Based on actress Lupita Nyong’o’s experiences, Sulwe teaches audiences to embrace the skin they’re in and that beauty also comes from within. Sulwe’s mom teaches her that “you can’t rely on what you look like to make you feel beautiful…Real beauty comes from your mind and heart. It begins with how you see yourself , not how others see you.”
TAGS: Black, nuclear family, brown skin, female lead, Vashti Harrison, Lupita Nyong’o, hardcover
Common Core Curriculum Guide from Simon & Schuster