Disney Publishing Worldwide has acquired the middle grade novel If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith. The book will be published this spring and is available now for pre-order.

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What’s happening:

  • Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) today announced the acquisition of If We Were Giants, a new book written by musician, environmentalist, and humanitarian Dave Matthews in collaboration with popular children’s book author, Clete Barrett Smith.
  • The novel for middle grade readers tells an exciting and poignant fantasy tale about a girl who must confront her past mistakes before she can save her peaceful community from a gigantic threat.
  • If We Were Giants will be published in Spring 2020 and was acquired by Disney-Hyperion Editor-at-Large, Stephanie Owens Lurie.
  • If We Were Giants will be published as a hardcover original and goes on sale March 3, 2020.

If We Were Giants synopsis:

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 day, after hearing rumors of strangers called the "Takers," Kirra leaves the volcano by herself, hoping to discover her own story. But she unknowingly leads the Takers back to her doorstep, and they rob her of everything she has ever held dear. A devastated Kirra is found by a boy named Luwan and adopted into his family, which lives among others high in the trees of a dense forest.

Now quiet and withdrawn, Kirra hides her dark past from everyone and never wants to leave the safety of her tree dwelling. Luwan, on the other hand, loves to explore. One day it leads to trouble: He is captured while spying on a group of strangers. The Takers have returned. To save the Tree Folk, Kirra must face her inner demons and summon all her storytelling to weave the most important tale of her life.

What they’re saying:

  • Dave Matthews: “Having spent my childhood exploring the forests of Virginia and time as an adult with the San people of South Africa, I really respect a life balanced with nature. I’m thrilled to be working with Clete and Disney Publishing to tell a story that focuses on the importance of the environment.”
  • Stephanie Owens Lurie, Disney-Hyperion Editor-at-Large: “It’s a joy for me to be working with Dave, and again with Clete, on this lovely story about overcoming loss, embracing community, and the importance of living in harmony.”

 About the Authors

Dave Matthews

  • Dave Matthews is a South African born American singer songwriter, actor, humanitarian and environmentalist.  
  • The Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band has sold more than 24 million tickets since its inception and a collective 38 million CDs and DVDs combined.
  • With the release of 2018's Come Tomorrow (RCA Records), Dave Matthews Band became the first group in history to have seven consecutive studio albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.  
  • In addition to his celebrated career in music, Dave Matthews has had multiple acting roles, including a part in the film Because of Winn-Dixie.
  • Matthews is also a partner in the Chickapig family brand created by game creator, Brian Calhoun.  

Clete Barrett Smith:

  • Clete Barrett Smith has written four humorous middle grade adventures, including Aliens on Vacation, which was named an ABA "New Voices" selection, was nominated for five state awards, and has been optioned for film.
  • Clete's first YA novel, MR. 60%, was published by Crown.
  • Clete received his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and taught English at the high school level for over twenty years.
  • He currently lives in Bellingham, Washington with his family.