Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month

“Black Panther” and “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o keeps wowing audiences and critics with every performance. She stunned the whole world with her interpretation of Patsey in “Twelve Years a Slave” which earned her an Oscar—making her the first African woman to ever win an Academy Award for acting. Her performance in “Us” made us all shift in our seats watching her amazing portrayal of “Red” the creepy anti-hero of the film. 

She speaks four languages, has a graduate degree from Yale, won an Academy Award for her debut performance, has covered fashion magazines and newspapers around the world and has every film critic in her pocket, what else could she possibly do next? 

Write a book. 

The Kenyan-Mexican actress is debuting her first book this month.

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

Inspired by the lack of diversity in the books she read growing up, the actress turned author, decided to do her part by creating a children’s book that tackles colorism and representation. “Sulwe” which means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native language, is a children’s picture book that’s all about a girl whose skin is “the color of midnight”, who is “darker than everyone in her family”, according to its official synopsis by publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and is described by the publisher as “a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.”

Nyong’o first announced the news of the book on her Instagram page back in January. 

“Sulwe is a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.” The Kenyan-Mexican actress told Marie Claire that she hopes Sulwe will offer inspiration to young readers, saying, “In no way do I imagine a child will read this and never have a problem with the world discriminating against their skin or themselves discriminating again their skin. But at least you have a foundation. You have something that reminds you that you are enough.”

The book is illustrated by artist, filmmaker and bestselling author Vashti Harrison, a fervent activist for racial equality herself.

credit www.vasthiharrison.com

The book is illustrated by Vashti Harrison, the author and illustrator of New York Times bestselling book “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History”. Nyong’o said in a statement that she’s loved having Harrison on board, “Sulwe is a character near and dear to my heart, and seeing her brought to life through Vashti’s illustrations is thrilling.” Vashti, an artist, slash filmmaker, slash author, revealed that she wanted the art for “Sulwe” to be eye-catching, magical and whimsical, “The story has an incredibly moving and powerful message, while at the same time shares a fun and whimsical adventure. I wanted to infuse every page with as much elegance and thoughtfulness, as much magic and wonder, so readers would want to come back again and again.”

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

The 48-page book is aimed at children as young as four, through to the age of eight. Executive Editor at “Sulwe”‘s publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, said in an interview: “Lupita is outspoken on the issue of colorism, and gave a moving speech about the subject at the Essence Awards in 2014. Colorism is the theme that she’s chosen to expand on for her first picture book. In Sulwe, Lupita Nyong’o shines a light on the prejudices of skin color honestly and unflinchingly but in a way that is also accessible for even the youngest readers. Sulwe introduces an unforgettable character whose journey in the night sky is magical, empowering, and full of whimsy. This story is a beautiful celebration of learning where your strengths lie and discovering the beauty within that kids from all backgrounds can relate to. The story takes place in Kenya, a country not often represented in picture books, and the culture and setting are integral to the story.”

This week, Lupita took to Twitter to share some thoughts on the importance that representation has on young black children like her, when she was growing up.

credit Twitter @lupita_nyongo

On a lengthy post on Twitter, Lupita Nyong’o shared that the book is a love letter to her younger self and to black children around the world. She wrote about how growing up, she never saw girls and women like her represented in the books she read. She went on to say how she was given a glimpse, “a window”  into the lives of people who looked nothing like her, and how that made her yearn for a black role model, “I didn’t have any mirrors”, “mirrors help us develop our sense of self”.

“Colourism, society’s preference for lighter skin is alive and well. It is 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.” “Sulwe” is released online and in bookstores everywhere October 15.

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Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

Fierce

Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

There’s a reason why, in the age of television and Youtube, books continue to be read, loved, and adored by readers: when it comes to stories, books elevate the imagination in a way that can engage all of the senses. In times like these, where so many of us are in isolation and feeling alone, reading can, fortunately, do so much for the soul, and being apart of a book club (even if it is on Zoom) can help bring excitement to the monotony of our daily lives.

Fortunately, FIERCE Latinas are recommending book club suggestions as well as reads.

The list below will surely fit the bill for all of your reading desires and help you get over any type of boredom you might have.

This club reading a Hollywood drama.

Amazon

“We actually have a book club called Pasando Páginas! We are currently reading the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” – hijasunidas


@cafeconlibros_bk is reading Little 🔥Everywhere 12.27!” –boardroombombshell

“I started a book club last year and while it’s small, our reads are mighty.” –steezplz


“I just finished “Clap When You Land.” I was never impressed by Acevedo until this book. It blew me away. She focuses more on trauma and grief in adolescence and it’s pretty damn near perfect. HIGHLY recommend.”- abbeyliz7

This club only reading books by Latinas.

Amazon.com

“I started a book club with friends this year. We only read female authors from Latin America. So far, my favorites have been “Delirio” by Laura Restrepo and “Los recuerdos del porvenir” by Elena Garro.” –merimagdalen

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!!” –valeriec01

This book club introducing readers to Chicano literature.

Amazon.com

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!” valeriec01

“Visionaries a Private Reading Group for BIQTPOC hosted by @femmegoddessco.” –moniii_xoxo

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11 Books By Latinas And Latinx Coming In 2021 That We Are Stoked About

Fierce

11 Books By Latinas And Latinx Coming In 2021 That We Are Stoked About

The new year has arrived, and it’s stacked with a batch of new books for readers to devour. 

While good reads might not heal us from the pains and losses of 2020 or save us from the uncertainties that remain ahead in 2021, being able to take a break from reality through literary fantasy or illuminating nonfiction can be gratifying (and healthy!).

For those searching for titles to pre-order among the abundance of new works expected in 2021, we have you covered. From debuts by some of our generation’s most brilliant thinkers to anticipated novels you’ll get through in one sitting, here are some exciting books by Latinas and Latinxs you’ll want to add to your reading list.

1. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite (January 5, 2021)

Inkyard Press

The highly anticipated novel One of the Good Ones, by Hatian-American sisters Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, is a timely read about a teenage activist who is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally and the family that is left reeling after his death. Tackling police violence and sisterhood, the book, published by Inkyard Press on January 5, explores the impact of racism, prejudice and allyship.

2. We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez (February 2, 2021)

ABRAMS

In We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World, Dominican-American Jasmin Hernandez profiles 50 artists and art entrepreneurs of color who are challenging the status quo in the art world. Hernandez, founder of Gallery Gurls, interviews queer, trans, non-binary, Black and brown visionaries influencing communities from New York to Los Angeles, talking with them about their creative process and how they are creating a radically inclusive world across the entire art ecosystem. The book, which features stunning portraits of each artist, will publish on February 2.

3. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (February 2, 2021)

Holiday House

Puerto Rican author Crystal Maldonado’s Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is an exciting new addition to YA. The coming-of-age novel centers on a fat Latina girl living in a fatphobic white Connecticut suburb. Her mom wants her to lose weight. Society doesn’t love her brown skin. And her crush might be into her best friend. The book, which will be published by Penguin Random House on February 2, has been described as funny, charming and raw. 

4. Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (March 2, 2021)

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster

Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country is a novel about a divided Colombian family. The book, which has been called “powerful” and “breathtaking,” tells the tale of Talia, a teen being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in Colombia, and a U.S.-based family fighting to be reunited with her. The novel, which will hit bookshelves on February 23, deals with yearning, family, belonging and sacrifice. 

5. What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster (March 2, 2021)

Grand Central Publishing

Naima Coster, the Afro-Dominican author of Halsey Street, has another anticipated novel in What’s Mine and Yours. The book, dealing with issues of race, identity, family and legacy, centers on two families, one Black and one white, and how their lives become integrated and messy when a county initiative draws students from a largely Black town into predominantly white high schools. The book, set to publish by Grand Central Publishing on March 2, covers a span of 20 years, and it explores the ways families break apart and come back together.

6. The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende (March 2, 2021)

Random House Publishing Group

Award-winning author Isabel Allende returns in 2021 with The Soul of a Woman, a reflection on feminism, power and family rooted in the Chilean writer’s upbringing and experiences. The autobiographical work seeks to answer the question: What feeds the soul of feminists – and all women – today? For her, it’s safety, value, peace, resources, connection, autonomy and love, but these battles haven’t all yet been won. The inspirational read, which will be published by Ballantine Books on March 2, aims to ignite a fire in younger generations to continue to carry the work of feminism forward.

7. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore (March 16, 2021)

Feiwel & Friends

In Mexican-American author Anna-Marie McLemore’s latest piece of YA magical realism, The Mirror Season, they tell the story of a young girl, Graciela, and boy, Lock, who were both assaulted at the same party. When Lock appears at Graciela’s school, she realizes he has no idea what happened to them. The pair develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, but Graciela, hoping to keep them both safe, hides the truth from her new friend – a secret that could tear them apart. The Mirror Season will be available at book shops on March 16.

8. Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (March 31, 2021)

Flatiron Books

Cuban-Mexican author Gabriela Garcia’s debut Of Women and Salt, slated to release on March 31, has already got a lot of people excited. The novel takes place in present-day Miami, where Jeanette, who is battling addiction, seeks to learn more about her family history from her Cuban mother, Carmen, who is still wrestling with her own trauma of displacement. Hungry to understand, Jeanette travels to Cuba, where conversations with her grandmother force her to reckon with secrets from the past.

9. For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez (September 2021)

Seal Press

Nashville-based Nicaraguan writer and speaker Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is among the most brilliant Latina thinkers of our generation. In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color, a forthcoming book inspired by a 2016 essay, the founder of Latina Rebels explores the inequalities of race, class and gender, discussing issues of code-switching, colorism, intersectional feminism, decolonization and more. The book, which will be published by Seal Press, is expected to hit bookstores in September.

10. When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez (Fall 2021)

Penguin Random House

Nuyorican poet and author Elisabet Velasquez’s YA debut When We Make It is a timely novel-in-verse that explores mental health, the war on drugs, gentrification, poverty and racism. Set in 1990s Bushwick, Brooklyn, the novel centers on Sarai, a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth-grader, who navigates the strain of mental illness, family trauma, toxic masculinity and housing insecurity while living with determination and love. When We Make It, published by Penguin Random House and expected to release in the fall, is a love letter to girls of color who were made to believe they would never make it.

11. Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (Fall 2021)

Colombian-Guatemalan poet and author Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s Dreaming of You is a genre-bending verse novel about a young Latinx poet grappling with loneliness and heartache. The novel, which sees the teen bringing the Queen of Tejano Music Selena Quintanilla back to life through a seance, is an uncanny tale that interrogates Latinx identity, womanhood, obsession, disillusion and what it means to be seen. The book, coming from Astra House, is set to publish in the fall.

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