Jabari Jumps tells the story of a little boy who has just passed his swim test and is ready for his first big jump off the diving board – however, when he arrives at the pool he realises it looks ‘high…and maybe a little scary’, so his dad tries to encourage him to overcome his fear.
Overcoming fear is undoubtedly something that every child can relate to. In particular, any child who has just learned to swim may then be considering their first jump off a diving board, and Jabari Jumps will certainly be a scene familiar to many of them. Although told in the third person, the voice Cornwall uses is consistently childlike, which proves highly effective in getting the story across.
Jabari is certainly an engaging and sympathetic main character, and the story is also bolstered by the interactions he has with his dad, who does everything he can to encourage him and quell the boy’s fears. The author successfully builds up to the story’s climax with the use of a significant amount of tension, unusual in a story aimed at pre-schoolers, but which works so well because of the subject matter. The illustrations, too, are beautifully done in bright pastel shades, mostly in orange and turquoise.
Overall, Jabari Jumps is definitely the book to read with your child when it comes to encouraging them to conquer their fears, not just of diving boards.
Images courtesy of Walker Books, who have published Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.
Jabari Jumps was published on 1st June 2017 by Walker Books.