Monday, July 10, 2017

Breath for Jumping Courage!

Picture Book: Jabari Jumps
Author & Illustrator: Gaia Cornwall
Summary: It's summer and the pool is just outside the dressing room. After situating his suit and goggles, Jabari is determined to jump off the diving board this year. 
 His dad is surprised. 
After swim lessons and a test, Jabari says he isn't afraid. 
He watches the jumpers from the sidelines, noticing their techniques, and declares that it "looks easy," but Dad's hand feels awfully good. 
The ladder is a bit daunting,
and the crowd is more ready than he. Jabari urges them to go ahead of him so he can practice his special jump. 
When Jabari stalls half-way up the ladder, his dad asks if he's ok. Jabari says he just needs a rest. Dad urges him to come on down. 
 Then Jabari remembers his stretches - very important! 
When Jabari suggests that tomorrow might be a better day, his father confesses that he too is afraid sometimes. 
That's when "I take a deep breath and tell myself I'm ready." That scared feeling sometimes turns into a surprise feeling. Jabari loves surprises!  
 So Jabari takes that deep breath... 
climbs the ladder...
walks to the edge... 
and feels ready, not afraid, ready for the surprise.
Jabari takes another deep breath and jumps. 
 After flying, he hits the water, 
goes down, down, and down and then... 
up again! 
Everyone celebrates Jabari's courage! And he's ready to go again, 
this time with that special jump - "a double backflip!" 
Hanna’s Comments: This book offers great connections to our many scriptures about courage. Don’t let the age of the protagonist limit you. Sure this book is appropriate for little ones, but all of us can relate to a desire to jump off a ledge, literally and figuratively, and the fear associated with risk. The spiritual symbolism to faith and our belief in God’s (or Jesus’ presence) is evident here. Adults may not have the obvious milestones that children and teens have, but we do struggle with enough courage to take the next step in faith. Jabari can be an inspiration to us all, and his father is an obvious image of God (or Jesus) and a role-model to anyone wanting to be an encouraging parent. Also, remind your audience that breath sometimes signifies God (or the Holy Spirit). Here it is a particularly important aspect of the strategy Jabari’s father gives him to face his fears and be ready for the joy of a surprise.  
Original Publisher & Date: Candlewick Press, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, toddler and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified…for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go (Deuteronomy 31:6 & Joshua 1:9); Where shall I go from your Spirit? Where shall I flee you’re your presence? (Psalm 139:7); When you pass through the waters, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:2); You will seek me and fine me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13); I am with you always (Matthew 28:20); God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are going to church camp for the first time. Relate this story to their courage when swimming but also to other activities that will be new or require risk. Emphasize the comfort that God’s (or Jesus’) presence offers. For a class on parenting, emphasize the role Jabari’s dad plays in letting him be courageous while tooling him with strategies and confidence.