Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps
Written and Illustrated by Gaia Cornwall

Publisher’s Summary:
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons. He’s passed his swim test. It’s just… maybe he should do some stretches first. ‘Looks easy,’ says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back.

Primary Source Pairing:
Doing something for the first time can be scary – especially if there is a diving board involved. In this story, Jabari works to overcome his fear with the support and patience of his dad and baby sister. Author and illustrator Gaia Cornwall’s text and art set the scene so well for the readers that we can almost smell the chlorine of the pool water. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image of young boys at a swimming pool created from a dam in Pennslyvania in 1941. Interestingly, the pool was created by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), a government work program for young men in 1933-1942. To learn more about the CCC, visit the National Park Services website.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • How do you think the boys in the photograph are feeling?
  • How would you feel if jumped off this diving board?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Swimming pool created by CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) dam, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania” photograph: Library of Congress