*Lupita Nyong’o has narrated an audiobook of her award-winning 2019 story “Sulwe.”
The story centers on a darkskin 5-year-old girl who wants to be beautiful like her mother and sister. The book, illustrated by Vashti Harrison, was inspired by Nyong’o’s experiences with colorism.
“Listening to a book read aloud is such a personal, intimate way to experience the characters and story,” said Nyong’o in a statement. The “Sulwe” audiobook will be released by Listening Library on Feb. 23, per PEOPLE. “I wanted to narrate the audiobook for Sulwe myself in order to bring to life the characters as I had imagined them in my head when writing the book.”
It’s #Sulwe‘s 1st Birthday! 💜 Your embrace of this story has been one of my life’s greatest joys. I’m celebrating today that I can now hold in my two hands a copy written in Kenya’s national language, Swahili. ✨ pic.twitter.com/UiKUXHjlB1
— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) October 15, 2020
“The character of Mama, for one, is inspired by my own mother, and it was rewarding to emulate the warmth, calm and compassion that she continues to comfort and guide me with to this day,” she continued. “I had so much fun performing the voices for Sulwe, her family, Night, and Day and I can’t wait for readers to hear them.”
The Academy Award-winning actress previously said “Sulwe” is designed to hold a “mirror for dark-skinned children especially, to see themselves reflected, immediately.”
She added, “Colorism, society’s preference for lighter skin, is alive and well. It’s not just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population. Throughout the world, even in Kenya, even today, there is a popular sentiment that lighter is brighter”, Nyong’o wrote in a post on social media in 2019.
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Since the book’s release, “Sulwe” has earned the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work.