Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o and illustrated by Vasthi Harrison creates a whimsical story that inspires children to appreciate their own unique beauty. In the story Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family and anyone in her school. As she finds out the meaning of her name, star, one night a shooting star comes to her window. Through her journey of exploring night and day her heart is opened to her own beauty and all that is around her. She learns that both light and dark together make the world strong and beautiful.
To extend this literacy experience setting up a invitation to paint Sulwe’s stars is a great way to integrate the context of the story through process art. Simply cut out different shapes and sizes of stars, place the stars on a butcher paper, provide paint, paint brushes or simply let your child finger paint.
Books related to the concept explorations such as invitations to paint are motivating and appealing to children. Information can be gained from the books read in context of a story and connected through the arts. Pictures in stories such as Sulwe impart a lot of meaning and information to help the children learn more about a topic, relate their own experiences, and guide the children's inquiry.