Sulwe is the new heartwarming and insightful story from the Academy award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. In a time where the world seems to still be in a state of unrest, where indeed our own country of South Africa seems to still falter on the principles that established our democracy twenty years ago now, the important message that Sulwe brings needs to be shared with our children.
Sulwe is a little girl, but born with skin the colour of midnight she longs to be the same colour as her family. Teased for her dark skin she dreams of a day when she can have friends too, and so she sets out to change her colour. When nothing works she turns to her mother to share her secret hurt, but her mother’s reassurance that she is beautiful and that her name in fact means star does little to change her mind.
“Brightness is not in your skin, my love. Brightness is just who are you.” “But you can’t rely on what you look like to make you feel beautiful, my sweet. Real beauty comes from your mind and your heart. It begins with how you see yourself, not how others see you.”
Sulwe’s journey to finding true happiness from within begins with a magical adventure through the night sky. She is shown how Night and Day both have important roles to play in life, and that they are equally beautiful in their own ways.
Sulwe gives us an insight into the aching sadness a child, or even an adult, may feel about the colour of their skin. It also allows us to gain understanding of these feelings, and most importantly it gives us the opportunity to discuss these feelings with our children and encourage them to love themselves for who they are and to embrace their uniqueness.
It’s not only the message that is beautiful in Sulwe, your children will delight at the stunning colour illustrations by Vashti Harrison too. This new picture book deserves a spot on your book shelf, and a copy should be in every school library to help share these important lessons with the youth of today, for they shall be the leaders of tomorrow.
Sulwe is available in hardback from bookstores and online retailers for a recommended retail price of R180. It’s recommended for children aged six to eight years.
Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing this inspiring book with us.