Title: Jabari Jumps
Author: Gaia Cornwall
Illustrator: Gaia Cornwall
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Jabari watches the other kids jumping off the diving board.  “Looks easy,” he says.
But when Jabari’s turn comes, he squeezes his dad’s hand.  The diving board is high…and maybe a little scary.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a fun book which is great for kids who are scared of trying new things. Jabari is a boy who’s excited to try jumping off the diving board but when it’s finally his turn he isn’t so sure. The paperback book is larger than A4 in size and filled with glossy thick pages which are colourful and have some great and unique illustrations.

Jabari Jumps book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The basic story is simple but something which many kids will relate to. Jabari goes to the pool with his dad and baby sister, and he’s excited to try the diving board after watching all the other kids do it. But diving off the high board doesn’t seem like such a good idea, at least not until he’s had time to prepare, and time to stretch… Jabari acts just how I remember being during a PE lesson when it came to me trying to climb on the climbing ropes. He tries to put off diving off the board because it’s scary, although he doesn’t want to admit it. The story doesn’t have much more to it other than Jabari’s father speaking to him to reassure him that sometimes scary things can turn out to be surprises if you do them anyway, but the message makes Jabari all the more confident to try what he’s scared of.

The illustrations are fun but also unique. The images of Jabari and his family are big and very expressive. You can really see the happiness in his face as well as the worry when he’s preparing to dive. The images of him and the other people are great and they also draw your attention but I couldn’t help but notice the interesting background images too, especially any area that has a little shadow or shade. The buildings in the background as well as various spots on the ground, where shadows are, look like newspaper print, with actual words visible within the images. It’s a different way of illustrating things in the background but oddly I like it and it makes this book look different from some other picture books. As well as the interesting background I do like all the kids and people in the background, you can see some of their interesting expressions, especially when Jabari is on the diving board.

Jabari Jumps book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

This is a great book with a great message for children. It shows them how it’s okay to be scared but to still try new things. The happy ending makes this message stronger and apart from that it’s just a great book for kids to look at and enjoy. I do wonder if I would have had the nerve to try things more if I’d read a book like this when I was younger, I know it would have made me think of it when the crunch came to trying something like climbing those ropes!

-Review first appeared online July 2018 – now republished here.

What do you think of this book?  Did you find it scary to try new things as a child?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂