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A Guide to Children's Literature and Disability




National Information Center
for Children and Youth with Disabilities


Identifying the Age or Grade Level of a Book

Other Guides to Disability Literature

Attention Deficit Disorder


Cerebral Palsy


Down Syndrome

Learning Disabilities

Serious or Life-threatening Conditions

Physical Disabilities

Other Disabilities

List of Publishers


Learning and Other Disabilities

Related Articles

Conducting A Literature Review. Tips And Suggestions

This bibliography is intended to help parents and professionals identify books that are written about or include characters who have a disability. The list is grouped according the following disabilities: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), blindness, cerebral palsy, deafness, learning disabilities, serious or life-threatening conditions, physical disabilities, and other disabilities. At times, for clarity, we have indicated in parentheses additional information about what disability or main theme is involved in the story.

This bibliography is by no means exhaustive. You may identify additional children's literature relating to disability by:

  • using the books listed in this bibliography under "Other Resources;"

  • checking to see what books about disability the library in your area has available; and

  • checking to see what disability books are available in local bookstores.

These books can offer an excellent vehicle for communicating with children about disabilities, for providing children and young adults with stories about persons like themselves, and for featuring the personalities, friendships, challenges, accomplishments, and daily lives of people with disabilities.

Identifying the Age or Grade Level of a Book

To help you determine the age group or grade level for which each of these books is appropriate, we have either indicated the age/grade level in parentheses or we have used the following codes:

JP= Juvenile Picture Book

Suitable for preschoolers to third graders, these books are generally 32 pages in length, with an illustration on each page and minimal text; typically designed for parents to read to their children or for older children to read on their own

JE = Juvenile Easy Reader

Suitable for children who are beginning to read on their own, such as those in first or second grade; ranging from 30 to 80 pages long, these books depend upon repetition of words, phrases, and sentence patterns, and have a controlled or limited vocabulary; illustrations are included to break up the text, which is generally in an easy-to-read large typeface

JF = Juvenile Fiction

Known as children's fiction or chapter books, these are suitable for children in Grades 2-6; ranging in length from 60 to 200 pages, the books are generally divided into chapters, contain fewer illustrations, and have more complicated plots or concepts than either JP or JE books

YA = Young Adult

Intended for young adults ranging from Grade 5 through Grade 12, these books present more complicated plots and deal with topics and concerns of general interest to the young adult population; not all libraries have a young adult section, so it may be necessary to look for these books in the adult collection

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Other Guides to Disability Literature

There are several resource guides that can help you identify children's books about disabilities that were published prior to 1989. These may be available in your public library reference or children's section. Ask your librarian for assistance in locating:

Azarnoff, P. (1983). Health, illness, and disability: A guide to books for children and young adults. New York: R.R. Bowker.

Baskin, B.H., & Harris, K.H. (1986). More notes from a different drummer: A guide to juvenile fiction portraying the disabled. New York: R.R. Bowker.

Corlin, M., Laughlin, J., & Saniga, R. (1991). Understanding abilities, disabilities, and capabilities: A guide to children's literature. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Dreyer, S.S. (1989). The bookfinder 4: When kids need books: Annotations of books published 1983 through 1986. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service. (This book is organized by topic, many of which are disability-related, such as "allergies," "asthma," "ADD," and so on.)

Dreyer, S.S. (1994). The bookfinder 5: When kids need books: Annotations of books published 1987 through 1990. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

Friedman, J.B., Mullins, J.B., & Sukiennik, A.W. (1985). Accept me as I am: Best books of juvenile nonfiction on impairment and disabilities. New York: R.R. Bowker.

Gillespie, J.T., & Gilbert, C.B. (1994). Best books for children: Preschool through the middle grades (5th ed.). New York: R.R. Bowker. (This book includes several listings under the categories of "Diseases and Other illnesses" and "Physical and Mental Disabilities.")

Hecker, H. (1994). Children's disability bookstore catalog. Vancouver, WA: Twin Peaks Press.

Quicke, J. (1985). Disability in modern children's fiction. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Sutherland, Z., Hearne, B., & Sutton, R. (1991). The best in children's books: The University of Chicago guide to children's literature 1985-1990. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (This book has listings under "Learning Disabilities" and under "Physical Disabilities. " )

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Attention Deficit Disorder

Gehret, Jeanne. (1991). Eagle eyes: A child's guide to paying attention (2nd ed.). Fairport, NY: Verbal images Press. (Grades 1-5, 40 pages)

Gordon, M. (1991). Jumpin' Johnny get back to work! A child's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Available on videotape as well) (Grades 1-6)

Gordon, M. (1992). My brother's a world class pain: A sibling's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Grades 1-8)

Gordon, M. (1993). I would if could: A teenager's guide to ADHD/hyperactivity. DeWitt, NY: GSI. (Ages 1218)

Nadeau, K.G., & Dixon, E.B. (1991). Learning to slow down and pay attention. Annandale, VA: Chesapeake Psychological Publications. (Grades 3-6)

Nadeau, K.G., Dixon, E.B., & Biggs, S. (1993). School strategies for ADD teens. Annandale, VA: Chesapeake Psychological Publications. (Grades 6-12)

Quinn, Patricia, & Stern, Judith. (1991). Putting on the brakes: Young people's guide to understanding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New York: Magination Press. (Ages 8-13)

Quinn, Patricia. (1991). Putting on the brakes: A child's guide to understanding and gaining control over attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New York: Magination Press. (Ages 4-7)

Shapiro, L.E., & Parrotte, T. (111.). (1993). Sometimes I drive my mom crazy, but I know she's crazy about me: A self-esteem book for overactive and impulsive children. King of Prussia, PA: Center for Applied Psychology. (Grades K-6, 80 pages)

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Duffy, James. (1992). Uncle Shamus. New York: Scribner Young Readers. (Grades 4-6)

Radin, Ruth Yaffe. (1990). Carver. New York: Macmillan. (J)

Whelan, Gloria, & Bowman, Leslie (ill. ). (1991). Hannah. New York: Knopf (JE )

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Cerebral Palsy

Berkus, Clara W. (1992). Charlsie's chuckle. Rockville, MD: Woodbine House. (Grades K-6)

Emmert, M. (1989). I'm the big sister now. Niles, IL.: Albert Whitman. (JF)

Gould, M. (1991). Golden daffodils. Newport Beach, CA: Allied Crafts. (Grades 4 and up)

Gould, M. (1993). The twelfth of June. Newport Beach, CA: Allied Crafts. (Grades 7 and up)

Metzger, Lois. (1993). Barry's sister. New York: Puffin. (Ages 10 and up)

Holcomb, Nan. (1989). Patrick and Emma Lou. Hollidaysburg, PA: Jason & Nordic Publishers. (Ages 3-8)

Taylor, R. (1991). All by self: A fathers story about a differertly-abled child. Boulder, CO: Light On Books & Videotapes.

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Ancona, George, & Miller, Mary Beth. (1991). Handtalk school. New York: Four Winds Press, Maxwell Macmillan International. (JP, non-fiction)

Guccione, Leslie D. (1989). Tell me how the wind sounds. New York: Scholastic. (YA)

Hodges, Candri. (in press). When I grow up. Hollidaysburg, PA: Jason & Nordic Publishers. (Ages 4-9)

St. George, Judith. (1992). Dear Dr. Bell- your friend, Helen Keller. New York: Putnam.

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Down Syndrome

Becker, Shirley. (1991). Buddy's shadow. Hollidaysburg PA: Jason & Nordic Publishers. (Ages 3-8)

Holcomb, Nan. (1992). How about a hug? Hollidaysburg, PA: Jason & Nordic Publishers. (Ages 3-8).

Kneeland, Linda. (1989). Cookie. Hollidaysburg, PA: Jason & Nordic Publishers. (Ages 3-8)

Wood, June Rae. (1992). The man who loved clowns. New York: Putnam. (JF)

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Learning Disabilities

Betancourt, J. (1993). My name is brain - Brian. New York: Scholastic. (Ages 9-14)

Dunn, Kathryn Boesel, & Dunn, Allison Boesel. (1993). Trouble with school: A family story about learning disabilities. Rockville, MD: Woodbine House. (Ages 5-12, Grades ]-5)

Fisher, Gary, & Cummings, Rhoda. (1990). The survival guide for kids with LD (learning differences). Minneapolis, TMN: Free Spirit. (Also available on audiocassette) (Grades 2 and up)

Fisher, Gary, & Cummings, Rhoda. (1993). The survival guide for teenagers with LD (learning differences). Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit. (Grades 7 and up, ages 8-12)

Gehret, Jeanne. (1992). Learning and the don't-give-up-kid (2nd ed.) Fairport, NY: Verbal images Press. (Ages 6-10)

Levinson, H.N., & Sanders, A. (1991). The upside down kids: Helping dyslexic children understand themselves and their disorder. New York: M. Evans. (JF)

Philbrick, W.R. (1993). Freak the mighty. New York: Scholastic. (About two eighth graders, one who has learning disabilities and one who has a birth defect) (YA)

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Serious or Life-threatening Conditions

American Brain Tumor Association. (1994). Alex's journey: The story of a child with a brain tumor. Des Plaines, IL: Author. (JF)

Berger, Larry, Lithwick, Dahlia, & Benson, Robert (ill.). (1992). I will sing life: Voices from the Hole in the Wall Gang camp. Boston: Little, Brown. (YA, nonfiction)

Krisher, Trudy. (1990). Kathy's hats: A story of hope. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. (About a young girl with cancer) (JF)

Thesman, Jean. (1989). Appointment with a stranger. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (About a young child with severe asthma) (YA)

Wilson, Nancy Hope. (1992). Bringing Nettie back. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International. (About a young child with a serious brain condition) (JF)

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Physical Disabilities

Behrman, Carol H. (1992). Fiddler to the world: The inspiring life of Itzhak Perlman. White Hall, VA: Shoe Tree Press. (YA, non-fiction)

Bergman, T. (1989). On our own terms: Children living with physical disabilities. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children's Books. (JE, nonfiction)

Butler, Beverly. (1994). Witch's fire. New York: Cobblehill Books. (Wheelchair) (JF)

Calvert, Patricia. (1993). Picking up the pieces. New York: Scribner's, Maxwell Macmillan International. (About spinal cord injury) (YA)

Carlson, Nancy L. (1990). Arnie and the new kid. New York: Viking. (About a boy in a wheelchair) (JP)

De Angeli, Marguerite. (1989). The door in the wall. New York: Doubleday. (YA)

Feuer, Elizabeth. (1990). Paper doll. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (YA)

Glover, Nancy. (1990). Speedway Sam: A book about spinal injury for children. Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama at Birmingham. (Grades 3-6)

Johnston, Julie. (1992). Hero of lesser causes. Boston: Joy Street Books. (About a child with polio) (YA)

Krementz, Jill. (1992). How it feels to live with a physical disability. New York: Simon & Schuster. (YA, nonfiction)

Kriegsman, K.H., Zaslow, E.L., & D'Zmura-Rechsteiner, J. (1992). Taking charge: Teenagers talk about life and physical disabilities. Rockville, MD: Woodbine House. (YA, Grades 7-12)

Meyer, Carolyn. (1990). Killing the kudu. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books. (About paraplegia) (YA)

Muldoon, K.M. (1989). Princess pooh. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman & Company. (About a young girl and her sister who uses a wheelchair) (JP)

Osofsky, Audrey. (1992). My buddy. New York: Henry Holt & Company. (About a boy with muscular dystrophy) (JP)

Panzarino, C., Lash, M., & Jacobs, J. (1994). Rebecca finds a way: How kids learn, play, and live with spinal cord injuries and illnesses. Woburn, MA: National Spinal Cord injury Association. (JF)

Peckinpah, S.L. (1993). Chester...the imperfect all-star. Woodland Hills, CA: Scholars Press. (About a young boy with a leg anomaly) (JP)

Springer, Nancy, (1991). Colt. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. (About a child with a crippling disease) (JF)

Strachan, Ian. (1990). The flawed glass. Boston: Little, Brown. (YA)

Taylor, Theodore. (1991). The weirdo. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (YA)

Wells, Rosemary, & Craik, Dinah M. (1990). Little lame prince. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. (JP)

Wright, Betty. (1989). Rosie and the dance of the dinosaurs. New York: Holiday House. (About a child with nine fingers) (J)

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Other Disabilities

Anderson, Rachel. (1992). The bus people. New York: Henry Holt. (About people with different disabilities) (YA)

Buckle, Marian C., & Buckel, Tiffany. (1992). Mom, I have a staring problem: A true story of petit mal seizures and the hidden problem it can cause: Learning disability. Bradenton, FL: Author. (Available from Marian C. Buckle, P.O. Box 20833, Bradenton, FL 34203-0833.)

Calmenson, Stephanie. (1994). Rosie: A visiting dog's story. New York: Clarion Books. (About a dog who visits people with various disabilities) (JE)

Caseley, Judith. (1991). Harry and Willy and Carrothead. New York: Greenwillow Books. (About prejudice) (JP)

Conley, Jane Leslie. (1993). Crazy lady! New York: Harper/Collins. (About mental retardation) (YA)

Covington, Dennis. (1991). Lizard. New York: Delacorte Press. (About deformity) (YA)

Holcomb, N. (1990). Sarah's surprise. Exton, PA: Jason and Nordic Publishers. (About a five year old girl who cannot talk but who uses a picture board and then an augmentative communication device to communicate) (JE)

Peckinpah, S.L. (1991). Rosey...the imperfect angel. Woodland Hills, CA: Scholars Press. (About an angel with a cleft palate) (JP)

Pirner, Connie W. (1991). Even little kids get diabetes. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. (JP, nonfiction)

Russo, Marisabina. (1992), Alex is my friend. New York: Greenwillow Books. (About a child with dwarfism) (JP)

Schwier, Karin M. (1992). Keith Edward's different day: "Different is just different!" San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact Publishers. (About a five year old boy who meets a woman in a wheelchair and others who are different from himself) (JP)

Scott, Sharon. (1992). Not better...not worse.. just different. Amberst, MA: Human Resource Development Press. (A book to teach children ages 5 to 10 to be kind to one another)

Slepian,, Jan. (1990). Risk 'n roses. New York: Philomel Books. (About mental retardation) (J)

Thompson, Mary. (1992). My brother Matthew. Rockville, MD: Woodbine House. (A sibling's story about living with a brother with disabilities) (JP)

Zeier, Joan T. (1993). Stick boy. New York: Antheneum, Maxwell Macmillan international. (About friendship) (JF)

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List of Publishers

Albert Whitman and Company, 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL. 60053. Telephone: 1-800-255-7675.

Allied Crafts, 726 Bison Avennye, Newport Beach, CA 92660. Telephone: (714) 759-8156.

American Brain Tumor Association, 2720 River Road, Des Plaines, IL. 60018. Telephone: (708) 827-9910.

American Guidance Service, Publishers' Building, P.O. Box 99, Circle Pines, MN 55014-1796. Telephone: (612) 786-4343; 1-800-328-2560.

Antheneum: See Macmillan Publishing Company.

Bradbury Press, c/o Macmillan Children's Book Group, 1 -800-257-5755.

Brookline Books, P.O. Box 1046, Cambridge, MA 02238. Telephone: 1-800-666-2665.

Center for Applied Psychology, P.O. Box 61586, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Telephone: (800) 962-1141.

Chesapeake Psychological Publications, 5041 A&B Backlick Road, Annandale, VA 22003. Telephone: (703) 642-6697.

Clarion Books, c/o Houghton Miff in Trade Books, Wayside Road, Burlington, MA 01803. Telephone: 1-800225-3362.

Cobblehill Books, see Penguin Books below.

Creative Education, 123 S. Broad Street, P.O. Box 227, Mankato, MN 56001. Telephone: (507) 388-6273; 1-800-445-6209.

Delacorte Press, Customer Service, 2451 South Wolf Road, Des Plaines, II. 60018. Telephone: 1-800-223-6834.

Dial Books for Young Readers, See Penguin USA below.

Doubleday, Customer Services, 2451 South Wolf Road, Des Plaines, IL. 60017-5071.

Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 390 Murray Hill Parkway, East Rutherford, NJ 07073. Telephone: 1-800-631-8571.

Four Winds Press, see Macmillan Children's Book Group.

Free Spirit Publishing, 400 First Avenue N., Suite 616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730. Telephone: (612) 3382068; (800) 735-7323.

Gareth Stevens Children's Books, 1555 N. River Center Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Telephone: 1-800-433-0942.

Greenwillow Books, c/o William Morrow, Attention: Order Department, 39 Plymouth Street, Fairfield, NJ 07004. Telephone: 1-800-843-9389.

GSI Publications, P.O. Box 746, DeWitt, NY 13214. Telephone: (315) 446-4849.

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887. Telephone: 1-800-543-1918.

Harper/Collins, 100 Keystone industrial Park, P.O. Box 588, Scranton, PA 18512 Telephone: 1-800-331-3761.

Henry Holt & Company, 4375 W. 1980 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84104. Telephone: 1-800-488-5233.

Holiday House, 425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Telephone: (212) 688-0085.

Holt, see Henry Holt & Company above.

Houghton Mifflin, Wayside Road, Burlington, MA 01803. Telephone: 1-800-225-3362.

Human Resource Development Press, 22 Amherst Road, Amherst, MA 01002. Telephone: (413) 253-3488 or 1-800-822-2801.

Impact Publishers, P.O. Box 1094, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406. Telephone: 1-800-543-5911; 1-800-246-7228.

Jason and Nordic Publishers, P.O. Box 441, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648. Telephone: (814) 696-2920.

Joy Street Books, see Little, Brown below.

Kendall Green, Gallaudet College Press, 800 Florida Avenue N.E., Washington, DC 20002-3625. Telephone: (202) 651-5488.

Knopf, Orders to: 400 Hahn Road, Westminster, MD 21157. Telephone: (410) 848-1900; 1-800-733-3000 (Orders).

Libraries Unlimited, P.O. Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633. Telephone: (303) 770-1220; 1-800-237-6124.

Light on Books and Videotapes, P.O. Box 8005, Suite 358, Boulder, CO 80306. Telephone: (303) 444-3340.

Little, Brown, 200 West Street, Waltham, MA 02254. Telephone: 1-800-759-0190.

M. Evans, 216 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017. Telephone: (212) 688-2810.

Macmillan and Macmillan Children's Book Group, 100 Front Street, Box 500, Riverside, NJ 08075-7500. Telephone: 1-800-257-5755.

Magination Press, 19 Union Square W., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Telephone: (212) 924-3344; 1-800-8253089.

Margaret K. McElderry Books, see Macmillan Children's Book Group.

Maxwell Macmillan international, see Macmillan.

McElderry Books, see Macmillan Children's Book Group.

National Spinal Cord Injury Association, 600 West Cummings Park, Suite 2000, Woburn, MA 01801. Telephone: 1-800-962-9629.

Penguin USA, 120 Woodbine Street, P.O. Box 999, Bergenfield, NJ 07621. Telephone: 1-800-253-6476.

Philomel Books, see Putnam Publishing Group below.

Puffin Books, see Penguin USA above.

Putnam Publishing Group, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. Telephone: (212) 951-8400; 1-800-6318571, ext. 7504.

R.R. Bowker Company, c/o Reed Reference Publishing, 121 Chanlon Road, New Providence, NJ 07974. Telephone: 1-800-521-8110.

Scholars Press, 20969 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA 91364. Telephone: (818) 883-4093.

Scholastic, P.O. Box 7502, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Telephone: 1-800-325-6149.

Scribner, see Macmillan Children's Book Group.

Shoe Tree Press, Betterway Books, 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinatti, OH 45207-1005. Telephone: (513) 531-2690; 1 -800-289-0963.

Simon & Schuster, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675. Telephone: 1-800-223-2336.

Twin Peaks Press, P.O Box 129, Vancouver, WA 986660129. Telephone: (206) 694-2462.

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Spain Rehabilitation Center, Medical Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, 1717 6th Avenue South, Room 506, Birmingham, AL 35233-7330. Telephone: (205) 934-3283.

University of Chicago Press, 11030 S. Langley Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628. Telephone: (312) 568-1550; (800) 6212736.

Verbal images Press, 19 Fox Hill Drive, Fairport, NY 14450. Telephone: (716) 377-3807.

Viking, see Penguin USA above.

Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852. Telephone: 1-800-843-7323 (outside DC area); (301) 468-8800 (in DC area).

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NICHCY Bibliographies are published several times a year; single copies are provided free of charge. In addition, NICHCY disseminates other materials and can respond to individual requests for information. All services and publications are free. For further information and assistance, or to receive a NICHCY Publications List, contact NICHCY, P.O. Box 1492, Washington, DC 20013. Telephone: 1-800-695-0285 (Voice/TT) and (202) 884-8200 (Voice/TT).

NICHCY thanks our Project Officer, Dr. Sara Conlon, at the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, for her time in reading and reviewing this document and, as always, for her commitment to the Clearinghouse.

Project Staff

Project Director.............................................................Suzanne Ripley
Deputy Director..................................................Richard L. Horne, Ed.D.
Editor...........................................................................Lisa Kupper

AED (Academy for Educational Development)

This document was developed by the Academy for Educational Development (AED) under Cooperative Agreement #H030A30003 with the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

The Academy for Educational Development, founded in 1961, is an independent, nonprofit service organization committed to addressing human development needs in the United States and throughout the world. In partnership with its clients, the Academy seeks to meet today's social, economic, and environmental challenges through education and human resource development; to apply state-of-the-art education, training, research, technology, management, behavioral analysis, and social marketing techniques to solve problems; and to improve knowledge and skills throughout the world as the most effective means for stimulating growth, reducing poverty, and promoting democratic and humanitarian ideals.

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