Books Challenged or Banned in 2004–2005, by Robert P. Doyle

Books Challenged or Banned in 2004-2005

This bibliography represents books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2004-2005 as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2004 through May 2005.

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Anaya, Rudolfo A.

Bless Me, Ultima

TQS Pubns.

Pulled by the Norwood, Colo. Schools superintendent (2005) after two parents complained about profanity in the book. The superintendent confiscated all of the copies of the book and gave them to the parents, who "tossed them in the trash." The superintendent later apologized. Students organized an all-day sit-in at the school gym. President George W. Bush awarded Anaya the National Media of Arts in 2002. First Lady Laura Bush has listed the book as ninth on a list of twelve books that she highly recommends.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, p. 55.


Babbitt, Natalie

The Devil’s Storybook

Farrar

Challenged at the Chestnut Ridge Middle School in Washington Township, Pa. (2004). The complainants wanted the school district to seek parental approval before elementary- and middle-school students could check out books related to the occult.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, pp. 117-18.


Blume, Judy

Deenie

Bradbury Pr.

Challenged by a parent in the Spring Hill Elementary School District in Hernando County, Fla. (2003) due to passages that talk frankly about masturbation. The board decided to retain the title, but require students to have written parental permission to access the novel.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2003, pp. 8-9; Mar. 2004, pp. 48-49; May 2004, pp. 95-96.


Cart, Michael

My Father's Scar

Simon

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Chambers, Aidan

Dance on My Grave: A Life and Death in Four Parts

Bodley Head; Harper

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Chbosky, Stephen

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Pocket Bks.

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links. Retained in the Arrowhead High School curriculum in Merton, Wis. (2005). Reading the book was optional and parents could choose to have their children read something else.

       Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32; Jan. 2005, p. 11; May 2005, pp. 111-12.


Clutton-Brock, Juliet

Horse

Knopf

Challenged, but retained at the Smith Elementary School in Helena, Mont. (2004) despite a parent's concern that it "promotes evolution."

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, p. 97; July 2004, p. 157.


Cormier, Robert

I Am the Cheese

Pantheon

Challenged on the seventh-grade honors English reading list at Elko, Nev. Junior High School (2004) because of the book's sexual content.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, pp. 9-10.


Coville, Bruce

Am I Blue?

HarperCollins

Challenged in the Solon, Iowa eighth-grade language arts class (2004) because the short fictional story explores a boy's confusion with his sexual identity and the gay fairy godfather who helps him overcome homophobia at school. The short story, published in Am I Blue?: Coming out from Silence by Marion Dane Bauer, ed., was eventually retained.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 8.


Cruse, Howard

Stuck Rubber Baby

Paradox Pr.

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Crutcher, Chris

In the Time I Get

Dell; Greenwillow; Throndike Pr.

Challenged in the Solon, Iowa eighth-grade language arts class (2004) because the short story is about a man who befriends a young man dying of AIDS. The short story, published in Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher, was eventually retained.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 8.


Crutcher, Chris

Whale Talk

Greenwillow

Removed from all five Limestone County, Ala. high school libraries (2005) because of the book's use of profanity. Removed from the suggested reading list for a pilot English-literature curriculum by the superintendent of the South Carolina Board of Education (2005). Challenged at the Grand Ledge, Mich. High School (2005).

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, p. 107.


Dandicat, Edwidge

Krik! Krak!

Soho Pr.

Challenged by a parent at the Arrowhead High School in Merton, Wis. (2004) as an elective reading list assignment because the book contains “sexually explicit and inappropriate material.”

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 11.


Davis, Deborah

My Brother Has AIDS

Atheneum

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


de Haan, Linda and Stern Nijland

King & King

Tricycle Pr.

Restricted to adults at the Freeman Elementary School in Wilmington, N.C. (2004) because the children's book is about a prince whose true love turns out to be another prince. Moved from the children's section to the adult section at the Shelbyville-Shelby County, Ind. Public Library (2004) because the book's homosexual story was considered inappropriate by a parent. Challenged by seventy Oklahoma state legislators calling for the book to be removed from the children's section and placed in the adult section of the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City (2005).

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, p. 97; July 2004, pp. 137-38; May 2005, pp. 108-09.


Drill, Esther

Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life As a Gurl

Pocket Bks.

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links. Removed from the Gilbert, Ariz. Unified School District (2004) despite the book's recommendation by the ALA Young Adult Library Services Association “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.”

       Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32; Jan. 2005, pp. 5-6.


Duncan, Lois

Daughters of Eve

Little

Challenged at the Lowell, Ind. Middle School (2005) because of the book's profanity and sexual content.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, pp. 109-10.

 


Esquivel, Laura

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

Doubleday

Challenged at the Arrowhead High School in Merton, Wis. (2004) as an elective reading list assignment by a parent because the book contains "sexually explicit and inappropriate material."

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 11.

 


Ferris, Jean

Eight Seconds

Harcourt

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.

 


Fierstein, Harvey

The Sissy Duckling

Simon

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Fox, Paula

The Slave Dancer

Bradbury Pr.

Challenged at the Shelbyville, Ky. East Middle School (2005) because a parent found the book to be a too-graphic depiction of the slave trade.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, pp. 110-11.

 


Frank, E. R.

Life Is Funny

DK Ink.

Pulled from the shelves of two Merced, Calif. Middle-school libraries (2005) because of an "X-rated" passage describing two teens' first experience with sexual intercourse.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, p. 107.


Frank, Mel, and Ed Rosenthal

Marijuana Grower's Guide

Red Eye Pr.

Challenged at the Teton County Public Library in Jackson, Wyo. (2004) because "tax dollars are being used to purchase a how-to crime manual."

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, p. 98.


Freymann-Weyr, Garret

My Heartbeat

Houghton

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Garden, Nancy

Good Moon Rising

Farrar

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Garden, Nancy

Holly's Secret

Farrar

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Greene, Bette

The Drowning of Stephan Jones

Bantam

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Haddix, Margaret Peterson

Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey

Simon

Banned from the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District classrooms in Sacramento, Calif. (2003) and restricted to students with parental permission in the middle school libraries. The novel discusses parental neglect, sexual harassment at an after-school job, and other stresses experienced by the young-adult fictional character. The novel is on the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2004, p. 52; May 2004, p. 98.


Hansberry, Lorraine

A Raisin in the Sun

Random

Challenged, but retained in the Normal, Ill. Community High School sophomore literature class (2004) despite objections that the play is degrading to African Americans.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 2004, pp. 177-78.


Harris, Robie H.

It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Candlewick Pr.

Challenged, but retained at the Holt Middle School parent library in Fayetteville, Ark. (2005) despite a parent's complaint that it was sexually explicit.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, p. 131.

 


Hautzig, Deborah

Hey Dollface

Greenwillow

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Jaivin, Linda

Eat Me

Broadway Bks.

Removed from the Marion County Public Library in Ocala, Fla. (2003). The library director noted that the Australian best-seller was removed because the library lacks a designated erotica collection, and the novel met only three of seventeen criteria used to evaluate books for acquisition. The Marion County Public Library Advisory Board recommended that the library director retain the novel. The board's vote was only a suggestion and the final decision went back to the library director. In Feb. 2004, the director reversed her earlier decision, reinstated the novel, and stated that her personal dislike for the book overshadowed her objectivity and adherence to policy.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2004, pp. 7-8; Mar. 2004, pp. 47-48; May 2004, pp. 115-16; Sept. 2004, pp. 175-76.


Jameson, Jenna and Neil Strauss

How to Make Love Like A Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale

Regan Books

Houston, Tex. mayor ordered city librarians (2005) to keep the book behind the counter. After committee review, the best-seller was returned to the open shelves.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, pp. 55-56; May 2005, pp. 131-32.


Kellogg, Steven

Pinkerton, Behave!

Dial

Challenged, but retained at the Evanston, Ill. Public Library (2004) despite complaints that the image of a masked burglar pointing a gun at woman is too violent for young readers.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, July 2004, p. 157; Nov. 2004, pp. 255-56.


Kotzwinkle, William, and Glenn Murray

Walter the Farting Dog

Frog, Ltd.

Challenged, but retained on the library shelves of the West Salem, Wis. Elementary School (2004) despite the book's use of the word "fart" and "farting" twenty-four times.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, p. 118; July 2004, p. 138.


Larson, Rodger

What I Know Now

Holt

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird

Lippincott/Harper; Popular Library

Challenged at the Stanford Middle School in Durham, N.C. (2004) because the 1961 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel uses the word "nigger." Challenged, but retained in the Normal, Ill. Community High School sophomore literature class (2004) despite concerns the novel is degrading to African Americans.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2004, pp. 98-99; Sept. 2004, pp. 177-78.


Lipsyte, Robert

One Fat Summer

Harper

Pulled from the Ansonia, Conn. Public Library local schools' display (2004) following a parental complaint about a paragraph describing the masturbation fantasy of a teenage boy.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, p. 229.


Lowry, Lois

Anastasia Again!

ABC-Clio

Removed from the Lake Wales, Fla. elementary school library (2005) because of a complaint that the book's references to beer, Playboy magazine, and Anastasia making light of wanting to kill herself were inappropriate for children.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, p. 107.


Mezrich, Ben

Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Arrow; Free Press

Challenged in the Beaverton, Oreg. schools as supplemental reading (2004) because it contains profanity and abundant references to prostitution and gambling. In 2004, the book was number eighteen on The New York Times's paperback nonfiction best-seller list.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, pp. 58-59.


Morrison, Toni

The Bluest Eye

NAL

Challenged, but retained at the Kern High School District in Bakersfield, Calif. (2003) despite complaints of the book's sexually explicit material.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2004, pp. 50-51; May 2004, pp. 118-19.

 


Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds

Alice on the Outside

Atheneum

Available with parental permission in the librarian's office at Shelbyville, Ky. East Middle School (2005) because the book is "too sexually explicit" for middle-school students.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2005, p. 108.


Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds

Alice the Brave

Atheneum

Challenged in the Mesquite, Tex. Pirrung Elementary School library (2004) due to sexual references.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, p. 231.

 


Park, Barbara

Mick Harte Was Here

Knopf

Challenged, but retained at the Centennial Elementary School library in Fargo, N. Dak. (2004) after parents complained to school officials that the book contains themes and language inappropriate for elementary students.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 229-30; Jan. 2005, p. 27; May 2005, p. 131.


Rennison, Louise

On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson

Avon

Retained in the Bozeman, Mont. School District's middle-school libraries (2005) despite a complaint that an unstable person seeing a girl reading the book might think from the title that the girl is promiscuous and stalk her.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, p. 74.


Rodriguez, Luis J.

Always Running

Curbstone Pr.

Pulled from the Santa Barbara, Calif. schools (2004) after a parent complained about graphic passages depicting violence and sex.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 7.

 


Salinger, J. D.

Catcher in the Rye

Bantam; Little

Challenged, but retained as an assigned reading in the Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine (2004). Teachers will provide more information to parents about why certain books are studied.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, pp. 8-9; Mar. 2005, pp. 73-74.


Sanchez, Alex

Rainbow Boys

Simon

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Sijie, Dai

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Knopf; Chatto

Pulled from the Federal Way's, Wash. Todd Beamer High School English classes and library (2004) by the superintendent, who overruled a committee of educators and parents that unanimously recommended keeping the book. The novel about censorship was considered sexually explicit and inappropriate for high-school students.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, July 2004, p. 139.


Silverstein, Charles, and Edmund White

The Joy of Gay Sex

Crown; Simon & Schuster/Fireside

Challenged, but retained in the Marple Public Library in Broomall, Pa. (2004) along with several sexual instruction manuals including: Sex Toys 101: A Playfully Uninhibited Guide, by Rachel Venning; Great Sex Tips, by Anne Hooper; Ultimate Guide to Fellatio, by Violet Blue; and The Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive Orgasm, by Steve Bodansky because the books are "seriously objectionable in text and pictures due to the sexually explicit material."

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2004, p. 50; May 2004, p. 117.


Sones, Sonya

What My Mother Doesn't Know

Simon

Challenged at the Bonnette Junior High School library in Deer Park, Tex. (2004) because the book includes foul language and references to masturbation. The book was selected as a "Best Book for Young Adults," by ALA in 2002; "Young Adults Choice," by the International Reading Association in 2003; and included on the Texas Lone Star State Reading List.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 7.


Steinbeck, John

Of Mice and Men

Bantam; Penguin; Viking

Challenged in the Normal, Ill. Community High School (2003) because the book contains "racial slurs, profanity, violence, and does not represent traditional values." An alternative book, Steinbeck's The Pearl, was offered but rejected by the family challenging the novel. The committee then recommended The House on Mango Street and The Way to Rainy Mountain as alternatives.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2004, p. 11, Sept. 2004, pp. 177-178.


Stewart, Jon, Ben Karlin, and David Javerbaum

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

Warner

Returned to circulation at the Jackson-George Regional Library System in Pascagoula, Miss. (2004). The library board had banned the best-selling satirical book because the book contained an image of Supreme Court judges' faces superimposed on naked bodies. The book was named a Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, the industry trade magazine.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2005, p. 73.


Tan, Amy

The Joy Luck Club

Putnam

Challenged at the Arrowhead High School in Merton, Wis. (2004) as an elective reading list assignment by a parent because the book contains "sexually explicit and inappropriate material."

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 11.


Twain, Mark [Samuel L. Clemens]

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Bantam; Bobbs-Merrill; Grosset; Harper; Holt; Houghton; Longman; Macmillan; NAL; Norton; Penguin; Pocket Bks.

Challenged in the Normal, Ill. Community High School sophomore literature class (2004) as being degrading to African Americans. The Chosen was offered as an alternative to Twain's novel. Pulled from the reading lists at the three Renton, Wash. high schools (2004) after an African American student said the book degraded her and her culture. The novel, which is not required reading in Renton schools but is on a supplemental list of approved books, was eventually retained for classroom usage.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2004, p. 11; May 2004, p. 91.


Walker, Kate

Peter

Houghton

Challenged at the Montgomery County, Tex. Memorial Library System (2004) along with fifteen other young-adult books with gay-positive themes. The objections to the books were posted at the Library Patrons of Texas Web site. The language describing the books is similar to that posted at the Web site of the Fairfax County, Virginia-based Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, to which Library Patrons of Texas links.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2004, pp. 231-32.


Waugh, Evelyn

Brideshead Revisited

Chapman & Hall Ltd.

Alabama Representative Gerald Allen (Cottondale) proposed legislation (2005) that would prohibit the use of public funds for the "purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." The bill also proposed that novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed. The bill would impact all Alabama school, public, and university libraries. While it would ban books like Heather Has Two Mommies, it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as Evelyn Waugh’ Brideshead Revisited, The Color Purple, or The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2005, p. 5.

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