Nyong’o, Lancôme, First Book and Simon & Schuster launch “Sulwe Day” on October 15, 2022—the third anniversary of the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book

NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Academy Award® winning actress Lupita Nyong‘o, Lancôme, First Book, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing are proud to announce that October 15, 2022, is “Sulwe Day.” To celebrate the third anniversary of the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within, over 60,000 limited edition copies of Sulwe will be distributed to more than 1,000 classrooms in underserved communities across the country via the First Book network of schools this fall; participating classrooms around the country will read Sulwe together throughout the month of October.

To kick off the Sulwe Day campaign, First Book has made copies of a new limited edition of Sulwe available to educators across the country via the First Book Marketplace. Participating schools will receive Sulwe digital activities and an exclusive video from Nyong’o and are invited to read the book in their classrooms in October, featuring #SulweDay highlights via social media.

Originally published by Simon & Schuster on October 15, 2019, and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe is Lupita Nyong‘o’s stunning debut picture book, which received an NAACP Image Award and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. It is the story of a young Black girl named Sulwe with skin as dark as midnight, who is determined to find a way to lighten her skin, until a reminder from her mother—and an unforgettable adventure in the night sky—shows her where her beauty really lies. Nyong’o, who has experienced the harmful effects of colorism herself, offers a powerful story that reminds us of the beauty in ourselves and others.

“It was a long journey for me to arrive at self-love, and I’m thrilled that Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves in and a window for those not familiar with colorism to have understanding and empathy,” said Nyong’o. “On Sulwe Day, it is my hope that the book continues to inspire teachers and children around the country to have important discussions about celebrating the beauty and uniqueness in us all.”

Lancôme, committed to helping bring equity to education to college-bound women of color with the Write Her Future Scholarship Awards, generously provided funding for the limited-edition copies of Sulwe that will be distributed to participating Sulwe Day schools. Nyong’o joined Lancôme as a brand ambassadress in 2014 and presented the Lancôme Write Her Future Scholarships to the inaugural class of recipients in July 2022.

“Lancôme at its core seeks to bring happiness to its customers, but nothing brings us more joy than partnering again with Lupita and helping to bring educational opportunities into the classroom for advancement of equity in education,” said Giovanni Valentini, General Manager, Lancôme USA.

Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 225 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income communities. At the heart of First Book’s work for thirty years is a commitment to helping educators have productive, inclusive, effective, and age-appropriate conversations about race with their students—because racial equity is essential to educational equity.

“Sulwe’s message is such an important one for children everywhere, but most especially for the children we serve. We’re honored to be working with Lupita Nyong‘o, Lancôme, and Simon & Schuster to bring this inspiring message to children in the schools we serve across the US,” said Dana Bond, Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances for First Book. “Sulwe Day is such a wonderful opportunity for educators and children to reflect on the book’s inspiring messages of inclusion and empowerment.”

To participate in the Sulwe Day campaign, educators must be First Book members working in a Title I eligible school or program that serves 70 percent or more children from low-income families. Educators are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible at www.firstbook.org/join. Books are available first come, first served while supplies last.

About Lupita Nyong‘o 

Lupita Nyong‘o is a Kenyan actress, producer and New York Times bestselling author. She made her feature debut in Steve McQueen’s Academy Award®-winning film 12 Years a Slave. For her portrayal as Patsey, Nyong’o received the Academy Award®, the Screen Actors Guild® Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the Independent Spirit Award, and the NAACP Image Award.

Nyong’o played Nakia in Marvel’s Oscar-nominated film, Black Panther, which broke numerous box office records. The cast won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble and her performance earned Nyong’o a nomination for an NAACP Image Award. Upcoming, she will reprise her role in the highly anticipated sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will premiere on November 11.

Nyong’o executive-produces the YouTube Originals family program, “Super Sema.” The animated series, which returned for a second season in June 2022, depicts Africa’s first kid superhero and features Nyong’o’s voice. She can also be heard narrating Discovery’s docuseries, “Serengeti,” which explores the dramatic day-to-day happenings of animals living in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Her narration has earned her two Emmy Award nominations.

Nyong’o will host a Warner Music Group podcast centered on nonfiction cultural storytelling that explores the African diaspora.

About Lancôme

Founded in 1935 by the visionary pioneer Armand Petitjean, with the wish of spreading the spirit and taste of French elegance around the world, Lancôme immediately embodied the essence of beauty. More than ever before, the brand aims to offer every woman the possibility to blossom and embrace her beauty and femininity whatever her age or skin color. Lancôme is present in 135 countries, with about 20,000 beauty advisers in as many points of sale offering sophisticated services and iconic products to an international clientele. Lancôme successfully combines scientific expertise, and an intuitive understanding of women’s needs to produce major innovations, unique and complementary between skincare, makeup, and perfume. Lancôme affirms that happiness is the most attractive beauty. To embody that the brand has chosen charismatic and fully accomplished women such as Julia Roberts, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong‘o, Lily Collins, Isabella Rossellini, Zendaya Coleman, and Amanda Seyfried.

About First Book

Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its thirty-year history, First Book has distributed more than 225 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of more than $2 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 550,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research-based strategies to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources.

For more information, visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the world, comprises the following imprints: Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Denene Millner Books, Libros para niños, Little Simon®, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Salaam Reads, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and Simon Spotlight®. While maintaining an extensive award-winning backlist, the division continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. Simon & Schuster publishes numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners. For more information about Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com.

Publicity Contacts: 

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing: Lisa Moraleda, [email protected]

First Book: Ian Kenison, [email protected]

Lancôme: Kelly Thompson, [email protected] Ilene Bornstein, [email protected]

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SOURCE First Book


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