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Lupita Nyong’o is coming soon to a library near you.
The actress is dipping her toes into the world of children’s literature with a new book titled Sulwe, which is due out in January 2019 from Simon & Schuster for Young Readers. According to The New York Times, which broke the news Thursday, the picture book is about a 5-year-old Kenyan girl named Sulwe (which means “star” in Nyong’o’s native language), who, as the darkest-skinned member of her family, wants to lighten her skin. Words of wisdom from her mother, however, eventually help Sulwe look at the idea of beauty from a new perspective.
Nyong’o confirmed the project on Instagram on Thursday, writing, “I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children’s book! … 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.”
Nyong’o has long been a champion of embracing one’s natural beauty despite conventional standards. In 2014, she spoke about her own difficulties learning self-love and the importance of representation in that quest. Late last year, she called out Evening Standard magazine for photoshopping her natural hair on its cover.
“As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.”
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