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It's your time to Shine

We love to bring, via the Armadillo Magazine Blog, updates, author interviews and features. The author Sabine Adeyinka has contributed the following short piece about her growing River School series. I hope you'll agree the background story, the 'how', the inspiration for the stories is both fascinating and touching, reminding us that even fictional stories can come from real life experiences.

Discover, through Sabine's words, just how influential other authors are too...


My Inspiration for the River School stories...

The River School series is about Jummy and her friends in a wonderful boarding school in Southern Nigeria. It is inspired by my own exciting experience at boarding school in Nigeria. I read lots of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers when I was younger and I wanted to let the world know about my time at boarding school. About how much fun it was for me and for my friends too!


When I was a little older and about to go into secondary school, I met one of my friends from primary school selling oranges by the roadside. She told me that her parents could not afford to send her to secondary school and that really saddened me. I wasn’t able to do anything about it at the time but that’s what Jummy and her friends get up to in the first book, Jummy at the River school. They look beyond themselves and help others. I hope their story, my story, will inspire my readers.


Time to Shine at the River School is the second book of the series. As the name of the school implies, there is a river running alongside the school. This river is called, the Shine-Shine River because the sun always shines gloriously on it. It is an integral part of the girls’ experience at the school and, in this second book, someone is trying to destroy the river. The girls come together to see what they can do about it. From planting corn and internal school house rivalries to big bullies and fighting many fires, the girls show that they are a force to be reckoned with. There is even a song to accompany the stories, to embed the mission of the school in the minds of my readers.

The River School Song

Together, we truly shine

For victory is yours and mine

Shine River School shine

River school shine

One of my highlights when visiting schools to talk about The River School books is singing the school song with the children. It is a song that shows the heart behind the series and it evokes comradery and fun amongst the pupils. All in all, the series is all about unity, kindness and laughter; a really excellent way to surmount the struggles of life.


Sabine Adeyinka was born in England to a Nigerian dad and Jamaican mum. She grew up in Nigeria where she spent the most memorable time in boarding school from the age of eleven. As a young girl, she loved reading novels about boarding schools from around the world and longed to tell the stories of her own exciting experience. Sabine’s favourite pastime is writing stories about memories of the landscape, food and people of her childhood.


Jummy At the River School; Time to Shine At the River School; Three Cheers for the River School are all published by Chicken House and are available from all good bookshops...








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