A children’s book by Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has been released in East Africa in the Swahili and her mother tongue Luo languages.

Sulwe, published last year in English, is about how a young girl begins to understand how standards of beauty have been related to skin colour.

According to Lupita, the book, which features illustrations from Vashti Harrison, speaks to her own life experience.

Lupita has in the past said she had been the “victim of colourism” as a child, when she “wished to have skin that was different”.She said she came to this realisation as she noticed how people praised her lighter-skinned sister.

According to the book’s description, Sulwe has skin the “color of midnight.” She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

Taking to her Twitter page, the acclaimed acress said she hoped that the message of Sulwe “can travel the world for readers of all ages, but it’s especially meaningful to bring it home”.

The Hollywood star said in a statement that her goal in writing Sulwe was to provide young children with a path towards seeing their own beauty, regardless of what society puts on them.She urged people of colour to work more on being “beautiful inside”.

Lupita Nyong’o is the daughter to Kisumu county Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o. She was born in Mexico but was raised in Kenya. She made her debut in Hollywood in ’12 Years A Slave’ in 2013, which won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Patsy, a slave woman.

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