Sunday, February 9, 2020

SULWE by Lupita Nyong'o. Illus. by Vashti Harrison.  New York: Sinon & Schuster Books, 2019.  42p.  ISBN 978-1534425361 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2      E PIC

Sulwe was very aware of her dark skin because the children at school called her names that made her feel ugly, while her lighter skinned sister was not singled out.  She tried to make her skin lighter by eating pale foods and by using cosmetics to lighten her look, but nothing worked  When she took the problem to her mother, she was treated to a story about mythical sisters - one who was light and one who was dark.  The two sisters learned to balance their relationship by appreciating the beauty and talents of each other.  Sulwe saw that she needed to accept herself inside and out.  Harrison's illustrations are vibrant with soft edges to convey the emotions of Sulwe.  The author's note gives readers a hint that Sulwe's story is partly biographical.  This book has the potential to help any child who is singled out because of appearance, no matter how light or dark their skin, the texture of their hair, or their physical structure.  Self acceptance is a life-long journey.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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