Lupita Nyong’o Children’s Book ‘Sulwe’ Gets Animated Musical Film Adaptation at Netflix

Actress will also produce the film based on the picture book about a dark-skinned girl finding her self-esteem

Lupita Nyong'o Sulwe
Getty Images/Courtesy of Netflix

Lupita Nyong’o’s illustrated children’s book “Sulwe” will be adapted into a musical, animated feature film set at Netflix.

Nyong’o will also produce “Sulwe” based on her picture book released last year. The book was written by Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, and it hit #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list for picture books.

Here’s the logline:

“Sulwe” is the story of a girl named Sulwe with skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone she knows, but all she wants is to be beautiful and bright. One night, Sulwe is visited by a shooting star sent by the Night, and embarks on a magical journey where she learns the eye-opening story of the sisters Night and Day. Sulwe is a story about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

No director, cast or composer is attached just yet.

The book was published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Nyong’o read “Sulwe” earlier this year as part of “Bookmarks,” a live action series featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from other Black authors that highlight the Black experience. You can watch the episode via Netflix or via the Netflix YouTube channel here.

“The story of Sulwe is one that is very close to my heart,” Nyong’o said in a statement. “Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV. It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love. Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value. I am thrilled that the book is being adapted into an animated musical that we hope inspires children all around the world to celebrate their uniqueness.”

Netflix in 2020 released Glen Keane’s “Over the Moon,” which has been in the thick of awards season this year. Other upcoming animated projects include Richard Linklater’s “Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio,” Henry Selick’s “Wendell & Wild,” Minkyu Lee’s “The Witch Boy” and a sequel to “Chicken Run” from Aardman Animation.

The Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o will next be seen in the spy film “The 355,” now releasing early in 2022.


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