Tag Archives: harnessing fears

Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps
Gaia Cornwall
Walker Books
It’s the day for Jabari to jump off the diving board, so he tells his dad when they reach the swimming pool. “I’m a great jumper, so I’m not scared,” he says.
Looks easy”, he continues as he stands and watches others launch themselves from the edge of the board.

But then, at the bottom of the long ladder, the delaying tactics begin: he allows another child to go in front of him in the queue; he needs to think about the “kind of special jump” he’ll do. Dad is empathetic suggesting a “tiny rest” before the ascent after which, Jabari remembers his stretching regime and again Dad endorses his idea. Then it seems as though the whole thing is going to be postponed until another day; but then Dad’s timely “It’s OK to feel a little scared,” and further words of wisdom finally give him that much needed confidence boost. After a deep breath, Jabari begins to climb up and up and up and up.
He walks right to the edge of the board and curls his toes around the edge …

Here as he surveys the scene before him, we really feel as though we’re right with the little lad inside his head and heart and then … Mission accomplished!

The variety of perspectives Gaia Cornwall provides in this, her debut picture book, right from the clothes changing sequence on the title page …

to the joyous after the jump, family celebration in the pool are wonderfully observed and her narrative is pitch perfect. Look closely at the beautifully patterned illustrations and you’ll find other small stories to enjoy too: there’s a boy in the queue, with a ladybird on his arm; another having sunscreen applied by an adult and looking none too happy about it; the ball game in the pool below Jabari.
This gently humorous, ‘building up the courage to embrace your fear’ book is sure to resonate with both children and adults alike: most of us have been there with Jabari’s dad, either as parent or teacher, as a child takes that plunge into the unknown: the idea of treating it as a ‘surprise’ is superb and will definitely ensure that wherever this is shared, it will create a pretty big SPLASH!.

I’ve signed the charter