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If We Were Giants

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Kirra, a curious, agile, and outgoing girl, lives in an idyllic community hidden inside a dormant volcano. She and her father are the only two people allowed to venture beyond its walls. Kirra is in training to become a Storyteller like him, and together they travel from village to village spreading fearsome tales designed to keep outsiders away from their secret nest. One ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Disney-Hyperion
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Dianne
If you give your child only one book to read or share, give them IF WE WERE GIANTS by Dave Matthews. Yes, THAT Dave Matthews. Apparently, he is not only a passionate artist in the world of music and an advocate for saving the Earth, this man has the chops for writing that delivers more than words on a page. It delivers the message of acceptance, valuing family and community and doing anything necessary to keep it safe while teaching how to live in peace with those who are different.

Kirra lost
...more
Eileen
This was a wonderful surprise story about a girl told in three parts. The first part covers her life with her first family and the lessons she learned from her storytelling father and her secretive group of peaceful folk who live as a close-knit community in a volcano and show respect for nature and her resources. After her village is decimated by the "Takers" she is taken in by a family who lives in the trees and whose village as a whole are just as respectful and caring of natural resources as ...more
Paige Green
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received an e-arc and a copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: If We Were Giants

Author: Dave Matthews, Clete Barrett Smith

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 12+ (death, scary moments, kidnapping, environmental activism)

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 304

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Kirra, a curious, agile, and outgoing girl, lives in an idyllic community hidden inside a
...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This book is utterly wonderful! When you were a kid, did y0u ever imagine people living up in the trees or in the base of a volcano or some other place tucked away, hidden by nature? I know I did. Well, the authors of this book take that concept of hidden societies and imagine, what if those hidden worlds were in danger?

Kirras home has always been safe and peaceful, tucked away in a volcano. Her fathers stories of
...more
Creya
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yes, its exactly what youre thinking... THAT Dave Matthews.

The tale follows Kirra, a young girl who lives in the wilderness. When her community is attacked by a group of Takers, she is faced with unending guilt and despair. How can she make things right while continuing to honor everything she has lost? We learn a lot about forming relationships, respecting others, and speaking out. I will be interested to see whether Disney decides to develop this into a film.

The recommended age range of 8-12
...more
Brenda
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2020
If We Were Giants is a beautiful middle-grade fantasy with the art of storytelling, family and community at its heart. It's about a young girl who respected and admired her father for the way that he could weave stories that not only enthralled but frightened their listeners. Stories that were meant to keep Outsiders from looking for their village by telling tales of underground fire demons living inside of a volcano. Kirra is kind-hearted, energetic, athletic and loves the people of her ...more
Courtney Niederer
I loved this imaginative middle school novel about a girl who lives in a village in a volcano. She travels with her father, who is a story teller, until they encounter a group of warriors, whose main goal is to destroy villages. What happens from here is loss, journeys, another battle with the warriors, and a beautiful villages who comes together when the time is right. Dave Matthews, what an amazing story!
Kim McGee
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kirra lives in a dormant volcano with her family and friends in a quiet, private community. She hopes to become a storyteller like her father acting as his assistant while they travel to local lands. Life is peaceful until a group of warrior-like people invade her home leaving destruction and violence in their wake. Kirra, now alone, runs until she is found by another quiet group who live in the trees. Sadly, the Takers, will find them as well and Kirra must face her biggest fears and challenge. ...more
Judy Beetem
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First off, Dave Matthews?! Of course I requested an ARC of this book and I was delighted. If We Were Giants is a great story. It opens on Kirra and her "Paja" Taro as they travel from town to town entering storytelling festivals to spread stories about the demons in their volcano home to keep outsiders away. At their last stop an agitated visitor speaks out about the Takers - horrible people who arrived on huge ships, overran the villages and enslaved the people. No one really believes this ...more
BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
What I Loved:
The weaving of so many wonderful topics to discuss with a child made this book an utter delight! There are so many strong messages about our world, our resources, and our actions. I cannot wait for my son to read it so we can discuss it together!

How I Felt:
The Characters: Wow! I loved Kirra and her strength throughout this entire book! Her resolve at saving her second family and their community were wonderful! She is a role model for a young reader, showing right from wrong, and
...more
Alysia
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, 2020
Little voices can have a huge impact.

Dear Dave Matthews,
As a DMB superfan Ive always been mesmerized by your talent of musical storytelling. And now, youve blown me away with your literary storytelling in this fantastic juvenile fiction book If We Were Giants. Thank you for writing this special book and for sharing your gifts with young readers.

In this book, when 10 year old Kirras community of volcano dwellers is destroyed by outsiders called The Takers, she is forced to flee and live among
...more
Kate
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an exciting book about a girl who lives in the crater of a dormant volcano with her family and community. Aside from her father, the storyteller, and Kirra (who is learning to be a storyteller like him), her people don't leave the crater. They cooperate and live happily together.

Then the Takers come. Kirra has heard about them and sneaks out to catch a glimpse and maybe begin to weave stories of her own about them. But her brother follows her and while they are spying on the newcomers,
...more
Dian Beatty
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this heart-warming story with themes of family, loss, community, and being one with nature.

Kirra, 10, lives hidden in a dormant volcano, where the people of Zedu have lived for hundreds of years. Helping as a storyteller, she and her father spread stories that instill fear of the volcano in neighboring communities to keep their community a safe secret. Unfortunately, a curious Kirra accidentally leads a clan of predators known only as Takers back to Zedu. Kirra is the only
...more
Mark Buxton
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
My name is Kirra, and I know I made a horrible mistake four years ago. I have foggy visions of a volcano and something large moving through the trees, but my mind won't allow me to remember. I now live with the Tree Folk, but I'm still vaguely aware something tragic happened back then. It's terrifying when I feel the Memory Trap starting to creep into my head. I can't let it. The families here in the trees live apart and are reluctant to share with each other. The strangeness of it reminds me ...more
Amber
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
(Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for a digital ARC of this book!)

This was an interesting tale about a young girl, Kirra, whose family belongs to a tight-knit community hidden away in a dormant volcano, where every member has a specific job, and they all depend upon each other for survival. Only Kirra and her father are allowed to go beyond the community into the outside world, as there are tales about a group of  Takers who take and destroy existing communities. Curious to find out
...more
Lenoire
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kirra and her family live with the rest of her clan inside a dormant volcano. She is curious about the world that exists beyond their own. She and her father are the only two people allowed to venture out of their community. Kirra is training to become a Storyteller like her father. The pair travels from village to village to spread scary stories to keep people away from their homes.



On their last journey, Kirra hears a story about the "Takers". She is curious to know more and ventures out to
...more
Pam
I received an electronic ARC from Disney Book Group through NetGalley.
Matthews has written a statement book to make young, and not so young, people think about how they get along with others. The book is divided into three parts to tell the story of Kirra's life.
Part one offers her life with her birth family. This is a community living in harmony. They unite together and each member has a role that supports the entire group. Life is peaceful until a group simply known as the Takers finds their
...more
Kim
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dave Matthews was the draw for me on this book to begin with. The story itself captivated me and kept me reading. The adventure begins when Kirra is 10; she travels "outside" with her father and knows she wants to be just like him when she grows up. Her natural curiosity causes a chain of events which drastically alter her world and the secure life she has always known is forever changed. Four years after tragedy shook her world, a much more subdued Kirra encounters danger again and she has to ...more
Marsha
This book definitely wears its eco-friendly, pastoral badge on its sleeve. Cloaking its environmental message in a YA action-adventure novel about a girl protecting her world against greedy marauders, If We Were Giants is mildly original but there are various other such stories out there.

What makes this a bit different than usual is that its Kirras adventurous spirit that dooms her homeland.
In modern fiction, young adults or children are often presented as being smarter or better than the
...more
Meghan
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Disney Book Group - Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

A former musician, humanitarian, environmentalist now author creates a world inside a volcano is pure brilliance. I loved everything about this book. The characters, the plot, and the theme were pure genius and I could not stop reading this book. Kirra a strong-girl who aspires to be a storyteller just like her father
...more
Karlyn Leslie
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
When a community of people living peacefully at the mouth of a volcano are discovered by the takers as a result of Kirras foiled plans, her village is annihilated., Kirra is left at a safe distance by her father, who goes back to help his people. He does not come back.

Truthfully, I wasnt sure what to expect with this one, but Dave Matthews has proven to be an intriguing storyteller. Between the vivid setting and a plot that provides just enough detail to maintain momentum, Matthews makes you
...more
Lizanne Johnson
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kirra's village is located in a dormant volcano. It's a secret location that has been closely guarded for generations. Her father is a storyteller and travels outside their village to storytelling contests. Kira joins him as she is training to be a storyteller too. When they hear about the Takers who destroy everything in their path and take whatever they, Kirra and her father return to their village to try to make a plan to protect their peaceful community. In the second part of the novel, ...more
Erin Mason
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story follows Kirra through two distinct phases of her life, before the Takers and after. In her world communities live fairly separate from each other and only one or two are allowed out to find news and spread stories. As we follow Kirra through the years we come across the Tree People, who live separate from one another and rarely interact. When the Takers come to their home Kirra must overcome her fears and find a way of bringing everyone together to defeat their foe or all will be ...more
Becky Baldridge
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a homeschool mom to a special needs boy, I'm always on the lookout for something that captures his attention. If We Were Giants certainly did that. This book not only held his attention, but he actually wanted to keep reading long past his required daily reading time. Not many books have done that, and since I was reading with him, I completely understood why. This story is absolutely captivating, and it reminds us of the importance of community and taking care of our planet. It's a story of ...more
Meaghan Hurn
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
If We Were Giants delivers the message of acceptance, valuing family and community and doing anything necessary to keep it safe while teaching how to live in peace with those who are different. The is a glance at a fantastical world full of peace before greed and violence take over; sort of a land before time.

There is so much to love about this book. The setting is incredibly important, and its imagined so vividly, its easy to imagine yourself right there, living in a volcano or in the very tops
...more
Kirsten
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When I saw that Dave Matthews on TV saying he had wrote a book, I knew that I had to read it. The Publisher granted my wish in exchange for an honest review.

I started reading and I was with Kirra in Zedu, we were 10 year olds chasing, jumping, venturing out to bring knowledge back to our people (and sneaking treats and arrowheads back for brother).
War and weapons are foreign concepts as they only knew as cautionary if left their village.
The Zeduans community by living in harmony, each having a
...more
Melanie Coombes
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Story with a strong message about acceptance, family, community and finding the courage to stand together for something you believe is important. Kirra lives in a secret community inside a volcano. When the Takers come and destroy her home, Kirra seeks shelter with the Tree People. Viewed as an outsider but accepted by her new community, she must face her past when the Takers threaten to destroy her new home.
This was a great YA novel that was short, easy to read and teaches us about the
...more
Kannan
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-ebook
If We were Giants by Dave Matthews was one I didn't expect to love, but ended up doing so. A tale of girl named Kirra who lives inside a volcano. The main character Kirra is a strong and the language used from her perspective is descriptive to create vivid imagery instead of being redundant.

A fantasy novel about loss, family, community, and activism. A wonderful read for those who like fantasy novels and remind us of current dilemmas with saving our world as we know it.

The publisher generously
...more
Scott Baker
A Marvelous Fable...a quick and rewarding read

I am Dave Matthews fan...since very close to the beginning.

But I was skeptical when I heard about this book. Maybe it would be too young a read. Maybe it would be too utopiastic...to unbelievable. Maybe it would be too complex (sometimes DMB lyrics can be a little heady).

Regardless, I bought it on faith and undying allegiance. And I read it.

The story is just the right amount of everything...fantastic, creative, moralistic and moving. Like a food
...more
Katie Eaton
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
If We Were Giants is a good middle grade fantasy. The characters are memorable and I could see the action playing out in my head with the descriptive language. I feel like the story line could have been more developed but I loved the way it ended and would definitely pick up a sequel if one is written. I will be sharing this one with my nine year old son, I bet he'd love it!

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest
...more
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