Jabari Jumps (Jabari)

by Gaia Cornwall (Author) Gaia Cornwall (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Jabari

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

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.


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Publishers Weekly

An African-American boy works up the courage to leap from the high dive in Cornwall's warm and genuine debut. "I'm a great jumper... so I'm not scared at all!" announces Jabari as he arrives at an outdoor city pool with his father and sister. "Looks easy," he adds as he watches kids jump from the towering board, but "when his dad squeezed his hand, Jabari squeezed back." With understated humor and plenty of understanding, Cornwall reveals Jabari's transparent excuses for delaying his ascent up the ladder: he must think about what "special jump" he will do, take a "tiny rest," and stretch. Finally, after words of encouragement from his patient father, Jabari makes the climb and braves the jump, a sequence viewed from various perspectives that amplify his accomplishment. A daunting gaze downward, past Jabari's toes that curl around the edge of the board, makes the water look incredibly far away, and when seen from behind, he seems as high up as the skyscrapers in the distance. It's a lovely, knowing account of a big "first" in a child's life. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2—An African American boy and his baby sister and father head to an urban community pool. Jabari has completed his swim lessons and tests and is ready to jump off a diving board. In his zigzag swim trunks and swim goggles, the boy tells his dad that diving looks easy. But when he stands at the ladder and looks up, up, and up at the diving board, he starts stalling for time, saying that he has other things to do before he can make the big leap. His father reassures him that it is OK to be scared, encourages him to take deep breaths, and tells him that he might just be surprised. With renewed determination, Jabari climbs the ladder and jumps into the pool. He's flying and splashing and sinking down and swimming back up and he's done it! Jabari is a great jumper. Just enough conversational text accompanies each illustration, including several smaller vignettes on a single page that help build suspense. Mixed-media images in serene muted colors, high-rise buildings above the tree line, and the intriguing addition of faded newsprint accents strengthen the urban feel of the illustrations. VERDICT Jabari's story will help assuage the fears kids experience when faced with a new and daunting adventure. A terrific seasonal storytime read-aloud that's perfect for one-on-one sharing.—Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Cornwall captures the exquisite tingle of Jabari's fear and excitement, which gives the book its drama. The visual details — the way the little sister's tiny hand grips her father's back while her father holds her brother's hand — give the book its heart.
—The New York Times Book Review

There are plenty of picture books reassuring kids who don't quite achieve their own goals when they want to (see, for example, Ashley Spires's The Thing Lou Couldn't Do, BCCB 4/17), but here Cornwall celebrates success earned through overcoming fears and through reliance on the supportive presence of a loving parent...Pool season is right around the corner, and this funny and joyful outing will put everyone in the mood for a dip.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

Mixed-media images in serene muted colors, high-rise buildings above the tree line, and the intriguing addition of faded newsprint accents strengthen the urban feel of the illustrations. Jabari's story will help assuage the fears kids experience when faced with a new and daunting adventure. A terrific seasonal storytime read-aloud that's perfect for one-on-one sharing.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers...This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.
—Kirkus Reviews

The dialogue and text are straightforward and make a nice pairing with the creatively chosen angles for the illustrations...a welcome piece for any summertime collection.
—Booklist

A daunting gaze downward, past Jabari's toes that curl around the edge of the board, makes the water look incredibly far away, and when seen from behind, he seems as high up as the skyscrapers in the distance. It's a lovely, knowing account of a big "first" in a child's life.
—Publishers Weekly

Against a backdrop of warm brown skin tones and cool aqua water, debut author-illustrator Cornwell presents an empowering and celebratory story. Young readers will root for Jabari as he prepares to take a leap of faith.
—The Horn Book

Anyone who has hesitated on the brink of something daunting—a brave act or a big decision—will feel a rush of kinship with the small protagonist of Gaia Cornwall's picture book "Jabari Jumps".
—The Wall Street Journal

Beautifully done.
—People

It's a summertime rite of passage: jumping off the diving board for the first time. In Jabari Jumps (Candlewick, ages 4-8) Gaia Cornwall brings to vivid life this moment for one little boy...For young listeners, this lovely book is a reminder that the best summers have both challenging surprises and fun.
—The Washington Post

A little boy has finished his swimming lessons and is trying to get up the courage to jump off the diving board in this utterly charming debut picture book with a valuable lesson about conquering your fears from a gifted author-illustrator
—Buffalo News

For a little lightheartedness "Jabari Jumps" (Candlewick, 2017; 15.99) is just the ticket. Gaia Cornwall wrote and illustrated this charming story of Jabari who goes to the swimming pool with his father and younger sister and promises that this is the day he will jump off the diving board...Young readers will want to hear or Jabari's challenge again and again.
—The Gazette
Gaia Cornwall
Gaia Cornwall is the author-illustrator of Jabari Jumps. She loves making patterns for surface design, and her work can be seen in magazines, in logos, on various products, and in movies. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780763678388
Lexile Measure
490L
Guided Reading Level
J
Publisher
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
May 20, 2017
Series
Jabari
BISAC categories
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV032060 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Water Sports
Library of Congress categories
Courage
Courage in children
Swimming
Diving

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