‘Jabari Jumps’ by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is finished his swimming lessons and has passed his swim test. Now there is one more thing he wants to do, but … maybe he should do some stretches first. Even though it looks easy, when Jabari is faced with the height and depth of the jump itself, he is going to need some courage. His wise Dad comes to the rescue with the best encouragement of all. He tells Jabari to think of it as a ‘surprise’ rather than a scary new thing, and that makes all the difference.

When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher Judy taught me a valuable life lesson on courage. When I was afraid that nerves would hamper my piano exam, she said something that has stood me in good stead ever since. She said, “Instead of dreading it, just try looking forward to it. See it as something that you can’t wait to get to.” Like Jabari, the positive twist of thinking of the scary thing as a ‘surprise’ was the key to helping him make the big splash.

Gaia Cornwall loved swimming when she was little and Jabari Jumps is her first picture book. I loved the illustrations which are beautifully done in warm water colours! The pictures capture the excitement and fun of a day’s outing to the pool. Road tested by a teacher friend of mine, kids love this book, evidenced by the neat student work they produced. Here is a sample!

One response to “‘Jabari Jumps’ by Gaia Cornwall

  1. Janice HamiltonOuttz

    I loved this book and have purchased several for family members. I have my own “Jabari jumps” story. My son’s name is Jabari. When he was about five, we went on vacation with another family. They had a daughter who was about 7 and quite a jumper. My Jabari had never been on the diving board but was a good swimmer. Not to be shown up by a girl, he ventured out. I knew he was scared but he did it that first time and never stops. As you probably know, Jabari means brave. And, he showed it that day. So, your book touched my family greatly. Jabari was killed by a drunk driver when he was 32. But we read your book and remember our own Jabari story. Thank you so much for telling it and the wonderful illustrations. Love it!!!

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