The Power of Community – If We Were Giants

I first heard of when I was looking for books related to Earth Day. Environmentalism? Dave Matthews? Definitely piqued my interest. When I saw this at my fall book fair it seemed like something I had to read. There is environmentalism in this, but in the end, it is only a minor part of the story. It’s bigger themes were about community, colonization, friendship, and believing in yourself. There is also a strong metaphor of the smaller people taking on the big (corporate) giants to save their world.

If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Young Kirra is being trained by her father as a storyteller, but part of the tales that he tells are to keep their home within a volcano a secret from the outside world. When Kirra and her father hear of a group called the Takers while at a festival, it sparks something in Kirra and she goes looking for her own story to tell. The Takers are a group who silage the land of its resources with no regard to the inhabitants. If locals get in the way, they just kill them. Kirra inadvertently leads them directly to her home and is the only survivor.

Fast forward 4 years and she is living with a new family who I’ve in the trees. She is absolutely silent about her past as she is still suffering from PTSD. When the Takers come again, her story finally breaks. Now she has to bring together a community to stand up to these horrible intruders. The book is almost less about the environment and more about the power of community and making a home with those around you.

The first part of the book felt slow to me, but it picked up greatly in the second half. I loved when Kirra became honest with those around her and found her strength. The tree people learning the value of shared community was also very powerful. I give this a 3 1/2 and recommend it to kids 10+ who enjoy fantasy.

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