Janet Mbugua on how Lupita’s Sulwe helps children overcome self-doubt

Janet Mbugua on how Lupita’s Sulwe helps children overcome self-doubt

Janet Mbugua recently had a conversation with award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o about her book Sulwe that was recently translated to German.

During the virtual-reading session held a few weeks ago, the Inua Dada Founder said Lupita brought her book to life.

“She (Lupita) talked to me about still getting emotional when she reads her book, plus how it is helping so many children and adults heal their wounds of self-doubt,” she said.

Janet, who is also the author of a book My First Time, describes Sulwe as a magical and poignant story about a little girl who struggles to love herself because of how she looks and how that makes her feel.

“She goes on a magical journey of self discovery and comes back to love her self and love the skin she’s in. My sons, Huru and Mali, absolutely love the story and it has, of late, become our go-to night time reading. It has lessons for us all but more than that, the fantasy and magical experience is really captivating,” she added.

— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) April 30, 2021

Lupita has had several interviews after she wrote the book, saying she hopes that children like the character Sulwe may “know that they have the answer within them.”

The Kenyan-Mexican actress said one of the things she wanted for the story was for Sulwe to have the agency within herself, liberate herself.

“I also did not downplay how hard it is when the world does not offer you a right to the term beautiful. But it is so important that amidst that, you are able to bestow it on yourself, first and foremost, because then you can bolster yourself up to challenge the world,” she told Oprah Winfrey.

— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) April 17, 2021

Sulwe – a New York Times bestseller – has been featured in its own episode in the Netflix original show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices!

The book has also won several awards including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work.

Simon & Schuster, an American publishing company, describes Sulwe as “a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.”

“Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty,” company said on its website.


inua dada Sulwe

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