My boys are as different as night and day. My little one is fearless, but my big one--- well, not so much. He's getting a little bolder as he gets older, but the child is scared of many, many things. Enter Jabari Jumps, one of my absolute favorite picture books of 2017, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. Oh, how we love this sweet story of overcoming fear!
In Jabari Jumps, young Jabari and his family hit the city pool, and he is quite excited to let his dad know that today is the day he will jump off the high diving board. In fact, he boasts about what a great jumper he is and even tells his dad he is not scared at all. Yet, when it is time to climb the ladder, Jabari let's some of the other kids go ahead of him.... and then takes time deciding what kind of jump he wants to do.... and then gets just a little bit tired. Will Jabari overcome his fear of the board and find his way to take the plunge?
In Jabari Jumps, Cornwall created lovable, memorable characters in both Jabari and his compassionate father. Jabari is perfectly true to life as he grapples with learning a new skill, taking action and struggling with hesitations that perfectly mirror those my own child has had so many times. His dad is tender and patient, encouraging Jabari where necessary but also recognizing when to allow his child to step back from a fear-inducing event and take some time to breathe. The two are a perfect pair. Couple the gentle story with mixed-media illustrations that both complement and accentuate Jabari's fear and joy, and you've got a winning picture book to add to both school and home collections. Pair this with one of our favorite books from 2016, Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube, (see our review here!) and your little ones will have some phenomenal stories to help them overcome their most daunting fears. A wonderful debut!
Want the book? Get it here! Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall. *This is an affiliate link. HEE received a copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are our own.