We’ve been reading Jabari Jumps with preschool – kindergarten kids for the past few months and everyone has been fascinated with this story of a boy who is certain and then not quite sure if he is ready to jump off the diving board for the very first time.
As Jabari is contemplating how very high the steps on the ladder are, his dad says: “Sometimes, if I feel a little scared, I take a deep breath and tell myself I am ready. […] Sometimes it stops feeling scary and feels a little like a surprise.”
When Jabari climbs the ladder and stands at the edge of the diving board with his toes curled over the edge, he takes a deep breath and remembers that he loves surprises.
Even the kids who are too young to have jumped off of a diving board at a pool love this story and identify with Jabari. They love to see the illustrations of the pool and to talk about how Jabari gets ready to swim with his dad and little sister. They think about feeling a little bit scared of something new. They take a deep breath with Jabari. They remember that they love surprises too. They celebrate with Jabari when he leaps off of the diving board and splashes into the pool.