Celebrity picks: Lupita Nyong'o's favorite reads of 2019

Adrian Liang on November 13, 2019
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It can be risky, as a beautiful actress, to write a children’s book about a girl who doesn’t feel beautiful. But the vulnerability of young Sulwe, who “was born the color of midnight” and is determined to turn her skin lighter in order to fit in with her family and her schoolmates, presses a thumb into the bruising insecurities every single person struggles with. Even Academy Award-winning actresses like Nyong’o.

The emotional reach of Sulwe, which stretches from sadness to determination and joy, makes it both a child favorite and a modern classic. The Amazon Books editors chose Sulwe as the best book of 2019 for children ages 3 to 5.

We asked Lupita Nyong’o what she’d read and loved lately, and here’s what she told us.


Lupita Nyong’o's favorite reads of 2019

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is a dramatic romance and a coming-of-age story, a class narrative and a comedy of manners. I first read it back in 2013 and I was struck with how exactly I related to Adichie’s depiction of the contemporary African immigrant experience. She captures it, expresses it, analyzes it and celebrates it. It’s a story begging to be experienced visually.

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Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

I love the whimsy of both the story and the illustration. It's a story about being the odd one out, adoption and belonging, and it tells it so gently and sweetly.


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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the book I have read the most times. I love the decadent melancholy of it. I also love the delicate relationship between Gatsby and his unrequited love, Daisy. My favorite sentence from the book is when Daisy says, “What will we do with ourselves this afternoon and the day after that, and the next thirty years?” Now that is restlessness and privilege if I ever heard it!

Author photo by Nick Barose


Browse more celebrity picks:


Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow
David Baldacci
David Baldacci
Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman
Karamo Brown
Karamo Brown

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Eva Chen
Eva Chen
Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco
Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond

Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich
Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon
Flea
Flea
Tan France
Tan France

Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert
Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Handler
Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis
Bob Iger
Robert Iger

Elton John
Elton John
Stephen King
Stephen King
Jeff Kinney
Jeff Kinney
Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber
Admiral McRaven
Admiral McRaven
Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern
Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o

Delia Owens
Delia Owens
James Patterson
James Patterson
Louise Penny
Louise Penny
Dav Pilkey
Dav Pilkey

Antoni Porowski
Antoni Porowski
Rachel Ray
Rachael Ray
Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds
Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan

Adam Rippon
Adam Rippon
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
Drew Scott
Drew Scott
Jonathan Scott
Jonathan Scott

Ryan Serhant
Ryan Serhant
Carly Simon
Carly Simon
Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek
Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem

John Waters
John Waters
Lindy West
Lindy West
Ali Wong
Ali Wong


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