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Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps

Book - 2017
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"Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. "Looks easy," says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for."
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763678388
Branch Call Number: E CORNWAL
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm


From Library Staff

Jabari has never jumped off the diving board before. Will this young swimmer follow through with that very first jump?

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Jan 05, 2020

Amazing book! The illustrations are simple but are so cinematic--lots of unique perspectives like Jabari's from the top of the diving board, wonderful expressions on the family's faces, totally evocative of a summer day at the pool. The dialogue is great, the narrative has drama... teaches a universal lesson just right for my sometimes nervous 3-year-old. I just love this book for preschoolers.

IndyPL_KathleenS Jan 03, 2019

This book would be a perfect summer story book but it is great to read all year long. Jabari thinks he is brave enough to jump off the diving board but it having a bit of trouble convincing himself to actually do the jumping. A great story about bravery and not being afraid to try something new.

Jun 04, 2018

Every once in awhile, a story comes along and fills a hole in the picture book universe. Maybe we knew about the void, like how few children’s books feature main characters of color, or perhaps we only realize what we’ve been missing in retrospect, like tales with a competent, emotionally attentive male caregiver. Through a carefully crafted plot and wonderfully expressive illustrations, Jabari Jumps does just that, claiming a spot in the story-time queue it won’t soon relinquish.

In her debut picture book, author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall gives us an African American child doing something sure to resonate with any young reader: getting nervous about tackling a new skill. “I’m jumping off the diving board today,” the goggle-wearing boy tells his dad, “I’m not scared at all.” Jabari watches the other kids climb the long ladder and says it looks easy. “But when his dad squeezed his hand, Jabari squeezed back.” As Jabari repeatedly tries to summon the courage to take the plunge, his father checks in. “Maybe you should climb down and take a tiny rest,” he offers, “it’s okay to feel a little scared.”

As all this unfolds, young readers will delight in fun sound effects (“Splash!”), just the right amount of repetition (“Down, down, down he went”), and illustrations somehow brimming with both realism and whimsy. The dedication and cover pages, for example, show Jabari changing into his swimsuit in precisely the way anyone his age would: he gets his head stuck in his shirt, sits down to remove his socks, and must mix a little pretending to be a penguin into the process. Side stories sprinkled throughout, like the kid chasing a bug or the one grimacing as sunblock is applied, are also sure to capture little imaginations.

For adults, there’s more. Near the end, for example, Jabari’s dad shouts, “You did it!” rather than “Good job!”—reflecting the very latest in social science research on parenting (we are to encourage, the experts say, not praise). The pictures have a high-art feel with soothing yet vibrant colors and inventive patterns, such as the buildings constructed in newsprint and the bathing suit worn by Jabari’s little sister that changes with each turn of the page. And Cornwall’s use of perspective? Oh my. We see Jabari looking out at the world from the tip of the diving board on one breathtaking spread, and on another page he gazes straight down at the tops of people’s heads and his own toes “curled around the rough edge.”

To have a story set at a public swimming pool about a black boy, as well as a father and sister who sport slightly different skin tones, shows Cornwall’s awareness of her book’s place in the ongoing civil rights movement. At the same time, the story isn’t about race. Jabari is just a little boy contemplating a big leap, who happens to have brown skin.

Just in time for summer, Jabari, his dad, and Cornwall are ready to splash their way into readers’ hearts—and our notion of how a family looks and acts.


EvaELPL May 11, 2018

Jabari knows he's a great jumper, but when he sets his sights on the high dive, he gets a little nervous. Fortunately, with some love from his dad, he knows he can achieve anything! I love so much about this book: Jabari's joyful, optimistic face, his dad's patience and reassurance that it's okay to be scared sometimes, and the way Jabari's faith and confidence in himself never wavers, even when he has to adjust his plan a little.

CMLibrary_ecrites Oct 24, 2017

This is a wonderful book about overcoming fears. The illustrations are so great. I love all the smiling, encouraging faces looking up as Jabari prepares to jump. It is great to see involved and supportive dads represented in children's literature and Jabari's dad is definitely one of those.

KCLSRacheal Jun 19, 2017

This lovely story about a boy overcoming his apprehension about diving uses expressive artwork and warm text to take it far beyond the simple, informational book I was expecting. I particularly love how Jabari's father gently encourages Jabari to jump in his own time and helps him see the challenge in a different light.


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Jun 11, 2020

blue_tiger_6805 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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