Once Upon A Children's Book

Caroline Armstrong, Independent Usborne Organiser

Back to School with Jemima Small

20th September 2019

September means back to school, and we know that this can be a nerve-wracking time for youngsters. Packed with humour and heart, Tamsin Winter's latest novel, Jemima Small Versus the Universe, serves up an important and empowering reminder to young readers that they shouldn't be afraid to take up space.

A valuable and topical asset for secondary schools, Jemima Small Versus the Universe is an enthralling and relatable class read, and a wonderful addition to school libraries. 

Teachers' Resources:

Take a look at our Teachers' Resources for this title. They feature a wide selection of chapter specific reading, writing, research and discussion activities, as well as some fun 'Brainiac' activities to put your students to the test! While these have been designed with the KS3 English curriculum in mind, they also include cross-curricular links to science and technology, maths, history, citizenship and PSHE. 

And we're not the only ones who think that readers will benefit from spending time with Jemima...

11-year-old Emma Chamberlain devoured this fantastic read over the summer holidays, and enjoyed it so much that she reviewed it for us:

"Written from the perspective of twelve-year-old Jemima, Jemima Small Versus the Universe is a story about how to overcome adversity. Jemima doesn't look like the other girls in her class, and her academic gifts are overpowered by her lack of self-confidence. She encounters bullies and trauma that make her life much harder than it needs to be, and when she is 'chosen' to be in the school's healthy lifestyle group (A.K.A Fat Club), Jemima frets more than ever. So, when an opportunity for a TV show comes up, Jemima is unsure about whether she wants to audition.

A heartwarming and witty story with realistic plots and life lessons, Jemima Small Versus the Universe is an amazing book. Tamsin Winter's stories show that there is always more to a person that it may seem. It is not how we look, but how we think that is important; we should think about being more considerate of others.

People are constantly fretting about how they look and, with all the conversations around healthy eating and losing weight, it is hard for anyone to feel positive about their body. This inspirational story shows that everyone is human and everyone has talents: anyone can change the world no matter how they look and what people may think of them.

Jemima Small is witty and extremely intelligent, but she doesn't realise this. All she can think about is how different she feels she looks, and how this makes her feel unwanted. However, when Jemima completes her emotional journey all of this changes. This just shows that, with that bit of extra support, anyone can overcome their body confidence problems.

I hope to read more of Tamsin Winter's inspirational stories. 5 stars!"

Thanks so much, Emma. We loved hearing how inspired you were by Jemima Small and we hope you enjoy your first term of secondary school!


Want to know more about how our Organisers can work with you and your school?

Contact your local Usborne Organiser today to talk about books for your school. Your Organiser can also explain the discounts they can offer you for a school order, and how they can help you to fundraise for new books.

If you're not already in contact with an Usborne Organiser, email mail@usbornebooksathome.co.uk to be put into touch.

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