Jabari Jumps

by Gaia Cornwall

A young African American boy is sure he’s ready to jump off the diving board... read more

A young African American boy is sure he’s ready to jump off the diving board at the pool … or is he? “'Looks easy,’ Jabari said. But when his dad squeezed his hand, Jabari squeezed back.” Jabari starts up the ladder, only to come down again to take “a tiny rest” at his dad’s suggestion. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” his dad tells him. “Sometimes if I feel a little scared, I take a deep breath and tell myself I am ready. And you know what? Sometimes it stops feeling scary and feels a little like a surprise.” Intrigued (“Jabari loved surprises”), Jabari decides to try again. Anxiety, anticipation, and accomplishment all take the stage in this sparkling picture book featuring a finely paced text and a warm father-son relationship. The mixed-media illustrations show a range of wonderful perspectives, including an overhead of Jabari’s toes hanging off the board just before he jumps, or, in his mind, flies. Honor Book, 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 3-7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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