Parents need to know that If We Were Giants is an uplifting, sometimes harrowing, tale by rock star and environmental activist Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith. Inspired by the cooperative behavior of bivouac ants, Matthews conceived a story of small people who stood up against overwhelming forces by working together, and co-author Smith built an entire world and cast of characters around that beginning. Protagonist Kirra, 10 years old for the first part of the story, 14 later, is racked with guilt because her own careless eagerness led an army of scary invaders called the Takers to discover and wipe out her family and all who lived in a carefully-hidden town inside a dormant volcano. Adopted by a family of peaceable, self-sufficient tree dwellers, she doesn't talk about her past, but when she's 14, the Takers threaten her new family, too. Between the massacres, the hunting scenes, the scary-looking villains, their shiny weapons, and the hand-to-hand combat, there's a lot of violence, but no gratuitous gore. There are lots of positive messages about family, friendship, courage, collaboration, cooperation, clever thinking, and living in harmony with nature and one another. Also about finding your true path and following it even when obstacles crop up.