Actor Lupita Nyong'o attends The National Board Of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 9, 2018 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images for National Board of Review
By Sarah Begley
January 19, 2018

Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o will soon expand her creative skills; the star of 12 Years a Slave and the forthcoming Black Panther will write a children’s book exploring the issue of colorism.

The picture book, Sulwe, will examine the widespread prejudice in favor of lighter skin, an issue Nyong’o – who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya – says she experienced as a child. The title character is a five-year-old girl in Kenya with darker skin than her family members and classmates. She wishes to make her skin lighter. But with help from her mother and a special journey in the night sky, she sees that her skin is beautiful just as it is.

“As a child, much like Sulwe, I was teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin,” Nyong’o wrote in a statement from publisher Simon & Schuster. “It made me feel unbeautiful, unaccepted, and impacted my confidence. It is painful to see that the preference for light skin prevails. My goal in writing Sulwe is to provide young children with a path towards seeing their own beauty, regardless of what society tells them.”

Sulwe is expected to arrive in January 2019.

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