top of page

Here's a brilliant children's book to kick off your reading in 2022! Published on the 6th January, 'Jummy at the River School' is a wonderfully evocative and joyful story set in a boarding school in Nigeria in the 1990s. Sumptuous in detail and full of spirit, this is a vital read from an exciting new voice in children's fiction.

Jummy is absolutely delighted to be starting at the finest girls' boarding school in Nigeria. It's a school of high standards, ambition and competitiveness with friendly girls and a well-respected principal. Every year, different houses compete in the famous Harmattan Games by the Shine-Shine River, and Jummy is determined to help Nile House win. But when her best friend from home, Caro, turns up at the school as a working maid, Jummy and her friends risk everything to help Caro get the education and praise she deserves. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Sabine Adeyinka  is an efiko writer because she has masterfully brought to life a vibrant, colourful Nigeria that will leave you itching to dance while grinning ear to ear. From eating delicious agbalumo to witnessing crocodiles lolling by the Shine-Shine River, I was utterly and immediately transported to the River School with all its sights, sounds, tastes, smells and rhythms. Just as Jasbinder Bilan has previously whisked me off to India, Adeyinka has done the same for Nigeria and she deserves the highest praise.


Jummy herself is a fantastic role-model for girls with an authentic, energetic voice. The relationships she forms feel very real, bursting with humour, warmth and morality. At its heart, this is a story about opportunity and the value of education for all, in spite of background, status or wealth. Such issues are central to the stakes of the story without it ever feeling heavy-handed. There is a lightness, a luminous beauty and richness to this book which is perfectly encapsulated by Hanako Clulow with the superb front cover. 

'Jummy at the River School' is a fabulous book for children to explore another culture and I'm quite certain many children, particularly girls, will fall in love with the River School and will be singing its songs: 'Shine River School, River School Shine!' I'd be very happy to return there again!

Thank you to Laura Smythe and Chicken House for my copy to review.

bottom of page