Empowering Parents > Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps


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.”




Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash. In a sweet tale of overcoming your fears, debut author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures a moment at the swimming pool between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swimming 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…


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