A New York Times bestseller! Featured in its own episode in the Netflix original show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices! Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award Recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work
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 mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.
In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.
Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan actress and producer. Her first feature film role was in the film 12 Years a Slave, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as multiple accolades, including the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the Independent Spirit Award, and the NAACP Award. She has since starred in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ryan Coogler’s record-breaking box office hit Black Panther, and most recently in Jordan’s Peele’s critically acclaimed horror film Us. Nyong’o earned a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed. She lives in Brooklyn.
Vashti Harrison, author and illustrator of the bestselling Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, is an artist, author, and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. She earned her MFA in film and video from California Institute of the Arts, where she snuck into animation and illustration classes to learn from Disney and DreamWorks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now she uses her love for both film and illustration to craft beautiful stories for children.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 15, 2019)
Length: 48 pages
Grades: P - 3
Ages: 4 - 8
Lexile ® AD580L
The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
Fountas & Pinnell™ O
These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System
"A thoughtfully layered text and powerful illustrations address this sensitive topic [of colorism] in a uniquely nurturing way."
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"By turns beguiling (as when Sulwe’s mother counsels her tearful daughter) and magical (a shooting star darts into Sulwe’s room to share the story of Night and Day), the volume also clearly conveys that colorism is real, and it hurts. Sulwe’s story confronts it head-on, with words and images that celebrate the 'dark and beautiful, bright and strong.'"
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A welcome celebration of Black girls, an important lesson for all kids (and grownups), and a necessary message for any child who has been made to feel unworthy of love on account of their looks."
Awards and Honors
Kansas NEA Reading Circle List PrimaryTitle
Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
Beehive Award Master List (UT)
Georgia Children's Picture Book Award Finalist
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
Comstock Read Aloud Book Award (MN)
ALA Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
California Young Reader Medal finalist
Show Me Readers Award Final Nominee (MO)
Picture This Recommendation List
Ladybug Award Nominee (NH)
Colorado Children’s Book Award Nominee
ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List Selection
Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Title
Manhattan Country Day School MLK Living the Dream Award