Jabari Jumps

Written and Illustrated by: Gaia Cornwall

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: New Experiences, Courage, POC-Centric Narrative, African-American Family

Summary: Jabari has decided he’s ready to take that big leap-off the diving board!  When Jabari arrives at the local pool with his dad and little sister he begins to prepare himself for his diving board debut, but allows all the other kids in line to go in front of him.  His father is very supportive and asks if maybe Jabari would like to “take a little rest” before jumping, and agrees that “stretching is very important” when Jabari decides to do some warm-ups pre-jump.  Just when Jabari decides that maaaaaaybe tomorrow is a better day to jump, his father offers up the advice that sometimes taking a deep breath and telling yourself you’re ready stops making things scary and makes it feel “like a little surprise” instead.  With newfound courage, Jabari decides to ascend the diving board ladder again and see if he can surmount his fears.

Reflection Questions: 

  • How do you think Jabari was feeling after his dad talked to him?
  • Do you think you would feel proud after doing something scary?
  • What are some of the things that scare you?
  • What are some ways that you overcome your fears?
  • Do you think these ways might help Jabari too?

Continuing the Conversation: 

  • Children can draw themselves overcoming a fear, or something that they previously found intimidating that they were able to surmount.
  • Books that also deal with this topic:
    • Captain Starfish by Davina Bell

About the Author & Illustrator:

image  Gaia Cornwall spends her days working from home, as her brilliant husband codes furiously at MojoTech, her human offspring toddle/zoom around, and their older, feline siblings keep them all in line. After graduating from Pratt Institute, she worked on a variety of projects {–including producing a film festival, animating cartoons for network television and film, and working on a documentary–} that gradually led her back to one of her first loves: illustration.

Most of her pieces start with good ol’ pencil and paper, and are then finished digitally. She approaches each project like an intricate puzzle made up of many, and ever-shifting, pieces: Who’s the audience? How can I make this visually exciting? What does the client want?– It’s a trick to get all the moving parts to fit. But it’s a process she loves. Her work has been featured online, in interactive games, on assorted products, in films, as murals, and in various forms of print.


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