The History of a Word 02/07/20
Sulwe does not look anything like her family. They all have light-toned black skin, like the sunny day, whereas she has skin as dark as the night.
Anxious and aware of her difference, Sulwe is teased at school, and tries all kinds of things to make her skin lighter. But one night she has a visit from a star, who tells her how the world learned to appreciate the value and beauty of Night.
This gorgeous book is an essential addition to every library. Not only does it reassure children that they are beautiful just the way they are, but the illustrations make quietly clear that colourism is a prejudice that exists between people of colour, too.
Whereas too often authors treat blackness as homogenous, contrasted with white as if on a chessboard, this book demonstrates, through the pictures, the gloriously diverse spectrum of colour within "blackness". The "day" is a beautiful black woman, just like the "night" – refreshingly, every character in this book is black.
Children will be entranced by the illustrations, which have a wonderful, velvety depth of colour that really bring the characters to life.