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If We Were Giants

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  533 ratings  ·  116 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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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 he
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 dorma
Dave Matthews Band were a big deal in my teenage years, and even though they weren't one of my favourite bands, I think I may have listened to Crash Into Me a thousand or more times. When my son asked me to add If We Were Giants to our library queue, I loved the cover, and was intrigued by the synopsis, so I happily added it to our lengthy list. I saw the name Dave Matthews on the front, and although it started me singing that lovely romantic ditty I mentioned, I didn't put two and two together ...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?

Kirra’s home has always been safe and peaceful, tucked away in a volcano. Her father’s stories of vo
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
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 village ...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!
Garland Public Library
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephanie
Such a great 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 coul ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-fuck-yeahs
Yes, it’s exactly what you’re 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 8-1
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 goo
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 I’ve always been mesmerized by your talent of musical storytelling. And now, you’ve 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 Kirra’s community of volcano dwellers is destroyed by outsiders called The Takers, she is forced to flee and live amon
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, h
Tierney Chabot
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, thomas, madeleine
To be honest I bought this book because I am a long time fan of Dave Matthews. My family read this book for at home school read aloud time. My girls, 11 & 9, greatly enjoyed the characters and the world. Several good discussions were had during the course of this book including the idea of whether people really eat crocodiles/alligators.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
My students are going to love this adventure filled fantasy! Each chapter in this book ends leaving you wanting more, which made for a quick read. I loved imagining living inside a dormant volcano, or in the canopy of trees.
Melody Riggs
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cute story about the importance of doing life in community. Plus, I couldn't pass up the chance to read something by Dave Matthews. The story idea was his and Smith helped to bring it to literary life. ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think the theme of this book would be to stand up for what is right
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Cute story about the importance of community and storytelling. I was only interested in it initially because Dave Matthews wrote it...but it was a good story and I'd read more by him should he focus more on book writing. I will say that there are some awkward moments but it's a good first novel. ...more
Jun 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I just couldn't get into it. I skimmed it all to make sure I wasn't missing anything. Sorry. ...more
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
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 h
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 surviv
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour-arc
You can read my full review on my blog, The Bookwyrm's Den, here.

Many thanks to RockStar Book Tour and Disney-Hyperion for a finished copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

When I saw this was co-written by Dave Matthews, I figured it was a Dave Matthews, not the Dave Matthews. It’s not often that I’m happy to be wrong, but this was definitely one of those times.

If We Were Giants is a gorgeous coming-of-age tale of a young girl with PTSD who learns to overcome her fear of the past t
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 th ...more
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 le
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 l ...more
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 it’s Kirra’s adventurous spirit that dooms her homeland.
In modern fiction, young adults or children are often presented as being smarter or better than the a
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kirra and her father are the traveling storytellers for their hidden village in a dormant volcano. They travel to neighboring villages gathering stories and telling tales to protect their village. One of the stories they hear is about the Takers who are marauders destroying and pillaging villages. When they return to their volcano they learn the Takers have been seen nearby. Kirra recklessly decides to leave the safety of the volcano and investigate. Of course she is seen and inadvertently leads ...more
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 ven
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