Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
An Educator's Reading List of Contemporary Literature, Literacy, and Reading Issues. Visit us at http://www.GoogleLitTrips.org
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A plane passenger asked a teacher a kind of rude question about her job. She responded eloquently!

A plane passenger asked a teacher a kind of rude question about her job. She responded eloquently! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"So what do you do, darlin'?"
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
24 May 2016

Just in case you're looking for a hero today! Yes, she mentions reading in this short inspiring video. But, wait until you hear what else she manages to mention about what you do.

How would this fly as your back to school presentation in September? 

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit
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New Google Lit Trip Published!

New Google Lit Trip Published! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Google Lit Trips, educational nonprofit, award winning, educational technology, place based storytelling, reading about reading
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
11 April 2016

Announcing the publication of a brand new Google Lit Trip for The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. 

Set in the Arctic Circle, this book is based on a true story of the last Voyage of the Karluk, Aleutian for "fish." The Karluk and its crew were joined by an Iñupiaq family and their two young daughters. Through the Iñupaiq family we learn much about the culture of the Inuit people. But, along the way, the Karluk runs into serious trouble and we find ourselves learning about an important event in history as we hope for the survival of the crew and its passengers. In this Google Lit Trip we have blended media and information about Iñupiaq culture and the actual historical events of the story.

You might want to bring a Parka along on this Lit Trip!

Also in celebration of National Poetry month we're pointing visitors towards a very interesting student developed Lit Trip feature 15 of her favorite poets. Locations represent the poets' birthplaces. Includes audio links to the student reading a favorite poem by each poet.

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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Why boys should read girl books

Why boys should read girl books | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Caroline Paul wrote "The Gutsy Girl." Some people think boys shouldn't have to read it. She explains why she thinks this is a problem.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
2 April 2015

For your consideration. Just wondering what YOUR thoughts might be on how best to address the underlying important issue at the heart of this article. 

I'm convinced it's not a one side vs. the other kind of solution. 

I keep going back to Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. What literature DO WE or COULD WE include at various grade levels that both boys and girls might find interesting while taking them into deeper considerations of the complexities of "other gender" understandings and appreciations?

I'm thinking of what books might appear in a Venn diagram of books that many girls find engaging and books that many boys find engaging. 

What a golden opportunity it might be to pay attention to the titles in the Venn cross-over. 

Any titles come to mind? 



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Samiyah Rankins's curator insight, April 3, 7:31 PM
I chose this article because I was interested in what the author was going to say. I wasn't sure the direction it would go in or the point/relevance. Now, I'm glad I read it. It's very interesting because I had never thought about the types of books children read growing up or in the classroom. Every book I can remember that I read for school did not have a female hero. Society today is trying its best to equalize men and women but it starts within the school systems. I was shocked that boys were excused from an assembly about a "girl book" but it's actually believable. You can learn a lot from reading, especially if it's about things you don't know about. Young boys aren't always taught that girls can be heroes too and I'm sure they're interested in whats inside the "girl book". It's up to the school system, the teachers and parents to educate them. Girls are forced to read about a boy saving the girl's life so why can't it be the other way around? 
Amanda Eve Avila's curator insight, April 5, 12:08 PM
In the article, “Why boys should read girl book” it explains why boys should read girl books. This article was really interesting for me and I enjoyed it. It is true that boys only think they could read “manly” books and girl books are excluded for them to read. I believe that it is true if boys do not read girl books then they will lack empathy. In the “boy” books, boys are taught to be strong and are more important then girls. I think dos should learn that females are just as important as males. It is sad that all these years boys have been told not to read girl books even though it would be beneficial later on in their lives. I never thought about this situation until reading and it definitely is true. I hope that teachers and parents will motivate their children to read and that it doesn't matter the type of book.
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Historical Fiction Gets No Respect -- Here's Why It Should

Historical Fiction Gets No Respect -- Here's Why It Should | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Katy Simpson Smith, author of the new novel 'Free Men,' on the joys and frustrations of exploring the past.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
1 April 2016

Yesterday I scooped an article entitled "Fiction v nonfiction – English literature's made-up divide." In my comments, while recognizing some of the benefits, I expressed concerns about the downside of genre classifications in the classroom.

When I came across this article, it seemed perfect follow-up evidence that genre classifications can have deleterious  impact upon readers by passing on the de facto bias of literary scholarship to students who may not be on track to become Literature majors. 

A question arose in my mind...
If we who teach literature teachers were evaluated upon the following two criteria, would we consider our efforts successful?
1. What percentage of our students grow up to be Literature teachers, scholars, or some kind of literati-type?
2. What percentage of our students become completely turned off as life-long readers specifically because of the esoteric nature of our efforts to have them read literature like scholars do?

Of, course the fallacy of my reducing the assessment of our efforts to these two categories, overlooks what we hope is still a significantly large portion of our students; that group that does not grow up to be literature scholars, but does gain a depth of appreciation for what they do read that does motivate them to become lifelong readers. 

That concession being made, ironically, I am reminded of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, a powerful attack on established tendency of curricula in universities that tends to pass on the biases of historical events taught in schools, from generation to generation, rather than to encourage a reconsideration of those often un-reconsidered biases to see if perhaps Custer was not so much of a hero as we had previously taught our students that he had been.

Transitioning the thought to the literary arts, we have made progress in reconsidering the long held biases that previously held reign in literary curricula. Consider the reduction in assumption that the "Dead White Poets" were worth more than women writers, writers of color, and cross-cultural global writers. 

But, to see educators still passing on biases implying or outright accusing genres such as science fiction, historical fiction, YA lit, as being "entirely" second rate at best by some sort of "default fault" is doing not only harm to our students who we hope to become life-long readers regardless of their eventual career decisions, but ironically even to those we hope will choose to become bearers of the literary torch who I personally, would hope would not enter future classroom, noses aloft, telling students that what they like to read is essentially trash or unworthy just because "those types" of books have always been under appreciated by too many university curricula planners.

Let us not throw a "one-size-fits-all" blanket of condemnation over historical fiction, science, fiction, YA and any other "genres" who have been so condemned. 

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit. 


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Lynnette Van Dyke's curator insight, April 1, 8:32 PM
1 April 2016

Yesterday I scooped an article entitled "Fiction v nonfiction – English literature's made-up divide." In my comments, while recognizing some of the benefits, I expressed concerns about the downside of genre classifications in the classroom.

When I came across this article, it seemed perfect follow-up evidence that genre classifications can have deleterious  impact upon readers by passing on the de facto bias of literary scholarship to students who may not be on track to become Literature majors. 

A question arose in my mind...
If we who teach literature teachers were evaluated upon the following two criteria, would we consider our efforts successful?
1. What percentage of our students grow up to be Literature teachers, scholars, or some kind of literati-type?
2. What percentage of our students become completely turned off as life-long readers specifically because of the esoteric nature of our efforts to have them read literature like scholars do?

Of, course the fallacy of my reducing the assessment of our efforts to these two categories, overlooks what we hope is still a significantly large portion of our students; that group that does not grow up to be literature scholars, but does gain a depth of appreciation for what they do read that does motivate them to become lifelong readers. 

That concession being made, ironically, I am reminded of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, a powerful attack on established tendency of curricula in universities that tends to pass on the biases of historical events taught in schools, from generation to generation, rather than to encourage a reconsideration of those often un-reconsidered biases to see if perhaps Custer was not so much of a hero as we had previously taught our students that he had been.

Transitioning the thought to the literary arts, we have made progress in reconsidering the long held biases that previously held reign in literary curricula. Consider the reduction in assumption that the "Dead White Poets" were worth more than women writers, writers of color, and cross-cultural global writers. 

But, to see educators still passing on biases implying or outright accusing genres such as science fiction, historical fiction, YA lit, as being "entirely" second rate at best by some sort of "default fault" is doing not only harm to our students who we hope to become life-long readers regardless of their eventual career decisions, but ironically even to those we hope will choose to become bearers of the literary torch who I personally, would hope would not enter future classroom, noses aloft, telling students that what they like to read is essentially trash or unworthy just because "those types" of books have always been under appreciated by too many university curricula planners.

Let us not throw a "one-size-fits-all" blanket of condemnation over historical fiction, science, fiction, YA and any other "genres" who have been so condemned. 

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit. 


Melanie Hundley's curator insight, April 3, 9:05 AM
1 April 2016

Yesterday I scooped an article entitled "Fiction v nonfiction – English literature's made-up divide." In my comments, while recognizing some of the benefits, I expressed concerns about the downside of genre classifications in the classroom.

When I came across this article, it seemed perfect follow-up evidence that genre classifications can have deleterious  impact upon readers by passing on the de facto bias of literary scholarship to students who may not be on track to become Literature majors. 

A question arose in my mind...
If we who teach literature teachers were evaluated upon the following two criteria, would we consider our efforts successful?
1. What percentage of our students grow up to be Literature teachers, scholars, or some kind of literati-type?
2. What percentage of our students become completely turned off as life-long readers specifically because of the esoteric nature of our efforts to have them read literature like scholars do?

Of, course the fallacy of my reducing the assessment of our efforts to these two categories, overlooks what we hope is still a significantly large portion of our students; that group that does not grow up to be literature scholars, but does gain a depth of appreciation for what they do read that does motivate them to become lifelong readers. 

That concession being made, ironically, I am reminded of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, a powerful attack on established tendency of curricula in universities that tends to pass on the biases of historical events taught in schools, from generation to generation, rather than to encourage a reconsideration of those often un-reconsidered biases to see if perhaps Custer was not so much of a hero as we had previously taught our students that he had been.

Transitioning the thought to the literary arts, we have made progress in reconsidering the long held biases that previously held reign in literary curricula. Consider the reduction in assumption that the "Dead White Poets" were worth more than women writers, writers of color, and cross-cultural global writers. 

But, to see educators still passing on biases implying or outright accusing genres such as science fiction, historical fiction, YA lit, as being "entirely" second rate at best by some sort of "default fault" is doing not only harm to our students who we hope to become life-long readers regardless of their eventual career decisions, but ironically even to those we hope will choose to become bearers of the literary torch who I personally, would hope would not enter future classroom, noses aloft, telling students that what they like to read is essentially trash or unworthy just because "those types" of books have always been under appreciated by too many university curricula planners.

Let us not throw a "one-size-fits-all" blanket of condemnation over historical fiction, science, fiction, YA and any other "genres" who have been so condemned. 

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit. 


Luke Padilla's curator insight, April 4, 1:38 PM
1 April 2016

Yesterday I scooped an article entitled "Fiction v nonfiction – English literature's made-up divide." In my comments, while recognizing some of the benefits, I expressed concerns about the downside of genre classifications in the classroom.

When I came across this article, it seemed perfect follow-up evidence that genre classifications can have deleterious  impact upon readers by passing on the de facto bias of literary scholarship to students who may not be on track to become Literature majors. 

A question arose in my mind...
If we who teach literature teachers were evaluated upon the following two criteria, would we consider our efforts successful?
1. What percentage of our students grow up to be Literature teachers, scholars, or some kind of literati-type?
2. What percentage of our students become completely turned off as life-long readers specifically because of the esoteric nature of our efforts to have them read literature like scholars do?

Of, course the fallacy of my reducing the assessment of our efforts to these two categories, overlooks what we hope is still a significantly large portion of our students; that group that does not grow up to be literature scholars, but does gain a depth of appreciation for what they do read that does motivate them to become lifelong readers. 

That concession being made, ironically, I am reminded of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, a powerful attack on established tendency of curricula in universities that tends to pass on the biases of historical events taught in schools, from generation to generation, rather than to encourage a reconsideration of those often un-reconsidered biases to see if perhaps Custer was not so much of a hero as we had previously taught our students that he had been.

Transitioning the thought to the literary arts, we have made progress in reconsidering the long held biases that previously held reign in literary curricula. Consider the reduction in assumption that the "Dead White Poets" were worth more than women writers, writers of color, and cross-cultural global writers. 

But, to see educators still passing on biases implying or outright accusing genres such as science fiction, historical fiction, YA lit, as being "entirely" second rate at best by some sort of "default fault" is doing not only harm to our students who we hope to become life-long readers regardless of their eventual career decisions, but ironically even to those we hope will choose to become bearers of the literary torch who I personally, would hope would not enter future classroom, noses aloft, telling students that what they like to read is essentially trash or unworthy just because "those types" of books have always been under appreciated by too many university curricula planners.

Let us not throw a "one-size-fits-all" blanket of condemnation over historical fiction, science, fiction, YA and any other "genres" who have been so condemned. 

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit. 


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Five more Google Lit Trips UPDATES!

Five more Google Lit Trips UPDATES! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

15 May 2015

 

Today we posted five updated Google Lit Trips including Journey to Topaz, The Kite Runner, Lost! Marching for Freedom and Night

 

This brings the total number of updated Lit Trips to 29 so far this month. 

 

See the complete list of updated Lit Trips at www.GoogleLitTrips.org 

 

IMPORTANT: ALL Google Lit Trips are being updated in anticipation of our imminent transition to our new website.  Older versions may soon not work properly.

 

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~

Google Lit Trips is the flagship project of GLT Global ED, a 501c3 educational nonprofit

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25 Christmas presents for booklovers | Scottish Book Trust

25 Christmas presents for booklovers | Scottish Book Trust | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Christmas? Hanukkah? Three Birthdays? Anniversary? They're all coming up in the last two weeks of December around my house.

 

Even if you're "only celebrating Christmas" here are some totally great literary presents booklovers will love you for!

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

I always love checking out these sites. 

 

How cool would a teacher be wearing gift #19?

 

I so wish gift #12 had crossed my path...so many times in the past! 

 

One of my all time favorite gifts was the Huck Finn version of gift #23 that my daughter and son-in-law gave me a couple of years ago.

 

And what's really cool is each of the 25 suggestions links to a different site bursting with other literary gift ideas.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit.

 

Like what we're doing? You can support us for less than the tip you'd leave at lunch today.  http://ebay.to/11vhysK

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What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature

What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves."

The question of what reading does for the human soul is an etern
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

Love Literature? You'll LOVE this. The video is great. So many memorable phrases capturing the essence of the value of literature. 

 

A couple of favorites...

"It looks like it’s wasting time, but literature is actually the ultimate time-saver — because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that it would take you years, decades, millennia to try to experience directly."

 

"...they (writers) make us sympathetic to ideas and feelings that are of deep importance but can’t afford airtime in a commercialized, status-conscious, and cynical world."

 

"In the best books, it’s as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves — they find the words to describe the fragile, weird, special experiences of our inner lives… Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves,..."

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

 

Like what we're doing? You can support us for less than the tip you'd leave at lunch today.  http://ebay.to/11vhysK

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It's Giving Tuesday! How far will your small tax-deductible donations reach? This far!

It's Giving Tuesday! How far will your small  tax-deductible donations reach? This far! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Did you know Google Lit Trips (officially GLT Global Ed)

has been 100% volunteer for over seven years? has distributed over 25,000 Lit Trips this year on a budget of less than $2,000?   http://ebay.to/11vhysK

 

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

2 December 2014

 

It’s Giving Tuesday!

Please consider favoriting us, tweeting, posting to your social networks or even making a small tax-deductible donation to help us continue sharing our resources with teachers, students, and parents around the globe. 

 

Did you know Google Lit Trips (officially GLT Global Ed)

has been 100% volunteer for over seven years? has distributed over 25,000 Lit Trips this year on a budget of less than $2,000? 

 

Just think... a $10 donation could bring the Google Lit Trips resources to over 100 classrooms! Imagine how many thousands of students that represents!

 

 http://ebay.to/11vhysK

 

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis UPDATED!

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis UPDATED! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

The Watsons Go To Birmingham v4 by Christopher Paul Curtis added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

25 November 2014

 

The Watsons Go To Birmingham v4 by Christopher Paul Curtis added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

 

Google Lit Trips fans using any of the following Lit Trip titles can upgrade now. All previous versions will become obsolete once the new Google Lit Trips website is launched sometime in the next few months.

 

The Watsons Go To Birmingham v4 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Pedro's Journal v3 by Pam Conrad

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan v4 by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars v5 by Lois Lowry

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Fever 1798 v2 by Laurie Halse Anderson

A Small Dog's Big Life v2 by Irene Kelly

Night by Elie Wiesel

The Slave Dancer v5 by Paula Fox

The Kite Runner v6 by Khaled Hosseini

The Grapes of Wrath v7 by John Steinbeck

Flotsam v3 by David Wiesner

Sam Patch Daredevil Jumper v4 by Julie Cummins

Going Home v3 by Margaret Wild

A Walk in London v4 by Salvatore Rubbino

A Family Apart v5 by Joan Lowery Nixon

Abuela v3 by Arthur Dorros

Big Anthony: His Story v4 by Tomie DePaola

Make Way for Ducklings v4 by Robert McCloskey

Number the Stars v4 by Lois Lowry

By the Great Hornspoon v4 by Sid Fleishman

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We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs UPDATED!

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs UPDATED! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

 

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

7 November 2014

 

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

 

Google Lit Trips fans using any of the following Lit Trip titles can upgrade now. All previous versions will become obsolete once the new Google Lit Trips website is launched sometime in the next few months.

 

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Fever 1798 v2 by Laurie Halse Anderson

A Small Dog's Big Life v2 by Irene Kelly

Night by Elie Wiesel

The Slave Dancer v5 by Paula Fox

The Kite Runner v6 by Khaled Hosseini

The Grapes of Wrath v7 by John Steinbeck

Flotsam v3 by David Wiesner

Sam Patch Daredevil Jumper v4 by Julie Cummins

Going Home v3 by Margaret Wild

A Walk in London v4 by Salvatore Rubbino

A Family Apart v5 by Joan Lowery Nixon

Abuela v3 by Arthur Dorros

Big Anthony: His Story v4 by Tomie DePaola

Make Way for Ducklings v4 by Robert McCloskey

Number the Stars v4 by Lois Lowry

By the Great Hornspoon v4 by Sid Fleishman

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A Small Dog’s Big Life by Irene Kelly UPDATED!

A Small Dog’s Big Life by Irene Kelly UPDATED! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

A Small Dog's Big Life by Irene Kelly added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

1 November 2014

 

A Small Dog's Big Life by Irene Kelly added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

 

Google Lit Trips fans using any of the following Lit Trip titles can upgrade now. All previous versions will become obsolete once the new Google Lit Trips website is launched sometime in the next few months.

 

A Small Dog's Big Life by Irene Kelly

The Slave Dancer v5 by Paula Fox

The Kite Runner v6 by Khaled Hosseini

The Grapes of Wrath v7 by John Steinbeck

Flotsam v3 by David Wiesner

Sam Patch Daredevil Jumper v4 by Julie Cummins

Going Home v3 by Margaret Wild

A Walk in London v4 by Salvatore Rubbino

A Family Apart v5 by Joan Lowery Nixon

Abuela v3 by Arthur Dorros

Big Anthony: His Story v4 by Tomie DePaola

Make Way for Ducklings v4 by Robert McCloskey

Number the Stars v4 by Lois Lowry

By the Great Hornspoon v4 by Sid Fleishman

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Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson UPDATED!

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson UPDATED! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

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Night by Elie Wiesel UPDATED!

Night by Elie Wiesel UPDATED! | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

NIGHT by Elie Wiesel just added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

23 October 2014

 

Night by Elie Wiesel added to list of refreshed Lit Trips in preparation for the launch of our updated website.

 

Google Lit Trips fans using any of the following Lit Trip titles can upgrade now. All previous versions will become obsolete once the new Google Lit Trips website is launched sometime in the next few months.

 

Night v6 by Elie Wiesel

The Slave Dancer v5 by Paula Fox

The Kite Runner v6 by Khaled Hosseini

The Grapes of Wrath v7 by John Steinbeck

Flotsam v3 by David Wiesner

Sam Patch Daredevil Jumper v4 by Julie Cummins

Going Home v3 by Margaret Wild

A Walk in London v4 by Salvatore Rubbino

A Family Apart v5 by Joan Lowery Nixon

Abuela v3 by Arthur Dorros

Big Anthony: His Story v4 by Tomie DePaola

Make Way for Ducklings v4 by Robert McCloskey

Number the Stars v4 by Lois Lowry

By the Great Hornspoon v4 by Sid Fleishman

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The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen

The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"Copy editing for The New Yorker is like playing shortstop for a Major League Baseball team -- every little movement gets picked over by the critics," says Mary Norris, who has played the position for more than thirty years. In that time, she's gotten a reputation for sternness and for being a "comma maniac," but this is unfounded, she says. Above all, her work is aimed at one thing: making authors look good. Explore The New Yorker's distinctive style with the person who knows it best in this charming talk.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
16 April 2016

I found this Ted Talk by a copy editor for the New Yorker fascinating on a number of accounts. 

1. She does not take herself too seriously (whew!)
2. She takes her job incredibly seriously (love that too!)
3. She makes it clear that even the best writers may not be experts at grammar and/or usage.
4. There is room for differences of opinions regarding best grammar and/or usage

And, all of this from a copy editor for the New Yorker; certainly a publication with impressive "creds!"

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit
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Empathy Doesn't Make You a Good Person

Empathy Doesn't Make You a Good Person | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
From a moral standpoint, it makes the world worse.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
8 April 2016

Oh my! One of the most powerful defenses for the value of literary reading has always been its ability to promote the development of empathy. 

And then, while searching for something worthy of scooping, I came across the title of this short video. "Empathy Doesn't Make You a Good Person," and published in The Atlantic, one of my "Go To" sources for thought provoking pieces? 

How could this be?

My first thought was a recollection of one of my personal guide post quotes when confronting what appears to seriously contradict one of my most strongly held beliefs.
_____
"It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear." ~ Dick Cavett
_____

Could there be an "aha" moment; an "I never thought about it that way before" realization to be discovered in the video?

By the way, this concept that I could be wrong or at least responsible for modifying an existing belief was at the heart of my favorite requirement for a well developed argumentative essay; the required concession paragraph. 

So, I watched the video.

My attention was caught in the argument that empathy has a serious downside if it is actually deeply felt and then quickly abandoned once the passion subsides. I realized I could not argue with some of the evidence provided. 

I'll leave you to weigh the evidence provided in defense of the thesis that empathy can blind us by distorting our perception of what is important, what altruistic actions really make a difference, and the penetrating question of the shortfall of what is referred to as the reward of "warm glow altruism," which I had to consider might be more self-serving (self-delusional) than helpful in addressing issues for which we feel an intense, but often fleeting empathetic rush.

OKAY, I had to admit that there are issues associated with empathy's value IN SOME CASES. We've seen the student suddenly sensing the college application pressure to have some,community service to pad one's application.  Yet that community service pressure for some often is minimal or "fly-by" and motivated more by self-serving purposes than by actual empathy for others.

We've seen catastrophe generate intense but short-lived interest in the well-being of those existing in impoverished conditions or in the conditions behind our increasingly NOT rare encounters with gun violence, or even in the actual importance of honesty in public discourse as we "ready our opinions" for pending elections? 

How though could I still find myself concluding that the video's conclusions do not fairly address the value of empathy? 

I came to think of the argument as being similar to a frequent discussion of optimism in many, many class discussions in my satire class. 

As there is a difference between fleeting empathy and deeper ongoing empathetic efforts to "really" make a difference, there is a similar difference between what I referred to as "Panglossian optimism" and what I referred to "Martin Luther King optimism."

Pangloss from Voltaire's Candide, represents a rose-colored lens-type optimism believing that everything is for the best. This led Pangloss to defend what "appears" to be bad by providing extremely ludicrous explanations of why the bad is actually good and therefore requires nothing of us. 

Martin Luther King on the other hand stared what is bad directly in the eye and worked incessantly to make what is bad better. His optimism was essentially, "Yes there is bad, therefore I believe something can and must be done." 

The connection I see? Let us admit that a Panglossian-like low level of empathy can lead to a certain self-delusion and bias that might actually cause a distraction away from recognizing that more must be done than "fly-by" acts of kindness.

And, let us also remember that developing empathy at deeper and more realistic levels, requires us to accept a responsibility to make the cultivation of of empathy a serious Martin Luther King-like driving force within our moral compasses.

And, life-long literary reading, just might be the force that continually reminds us to care in ways that make a real difference.

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You Know What Red Food Dye Is Made Of, Right?

You Know What Red Food Dye Is Made Of, Right? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Red velvet cupcakes will never be the same again.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
1 April 2016

Okay, this is not an April Fool's joke. However, it is a fun story and reminded me of an always favorite day while teaching Candide in the satire class I taught for over three years.

Ironically, the recollection is of a quote made by Candide's teacher Pangloss who is one of literature's most foolish of fools; most often expressed in his naively optimistic teaching that "This is the best of all possible worlds. Everything happens for the best."

In one particularly bizarre episode, Pangloss returns to the story suffering from a sexually transmitted disease that he believes he contracted while in South America (of course, history that used to record that sexually transmitted diseases traveled "from" new world natives "to" European travelers rather than in the reverse direction which science has since verified.)

Anyway, in spite of the serious impact that the disease has wrought upon Pangloss, rather than revisit his opinions about everything happening for the best, he pre-empts that consideration that he might be wrong with this defense when asked if the devil might be the force behind his illness...

""Not at all," replied this great man, "it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not in an island of America caught this disease, which contaminates the source of life, frequently even hinders generation, and which is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have neither chocolate nor cochineal..."

Imagine the look on my student's faces when after reading this passage I would casually pour myself a glass of cranberry juice and open a box of Red Hot Tamales candies and then explain to them that cochineal indeed was the product of squashed bugs and that it was the most common way to produce the red dye for clothing and many foods.

You might find this article (http://www.livescience.com/36292-red-food-dye-bugs-cochineal-carmine.html) indicating that it is for this reason that Starbucks ceased using cochineal in its Strawberries and Creme Frappachino mix most recently referred to as either carmine, cochineal, or Red Dye #4. 

When did they stop serving food colored with squashed bugs? 2012!!! 

And did you know that Starbucks was ahead of the curve? It wasn't until 2013 that alternatives to Red dye 4 were being sought for Danon and Yoplait yogurts, by Tropicana for its fruit juices, Nestle's for Nesquik strawberry chocolate cookies, by Betty Crocker for its Red Velvet Cake Mix, and by Rainbow for its Mentos candy AND in thousands of other common foods such as fake crab and lobster, fruit cocktail cherries, port wine cheese, lumpfish eggs/caviar and liqueurs, candies, ice creams, processed foods and beverages, as well as in drugs and cosmetics.

Besides the thought of eating squashed insects, it turned out that many people are allergic to cochineal and vegetarians found the news particularly revolting.


On a more pleasant note...
For the record, those of you might teach Candide should know that the Candide Google Lit Trip has very recently had a rather significant updating.

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The NRA Finally Makes Fairy Tales Child-Friendly By Adding Guns

The NRA Finally Makes Fairy Tales Child-Friendly By Adding Guns | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Valuable life lesson: Guns prevent stranger danger, being eaten by witches, and bloodshed. Er ... what?
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
1 April 2016

I can only hope this is an April Fools (unfunny) "joke." However, given the current (lack of) "quality" in public discourse regarding gun rights and other controversial topics where difference of opinion are often expressed more in volume than in substance, it is hard to tell whether or not this is actually a joke or not.

Whether or not this is an actual true article, for those fighting the tug of war between the importance of literary reading vs informational reading, remember we need not look far to see that there is much important work to be done in improving our understanding of the value and importance of each.

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Flurries Unlimited's curator insight, April 1, 4:37 PM
1 April 2016
 
I can only hope this is an April Fools (unfunny) "joke." However, given the current (lack of) "quality" in public discourse regarding gun rights and other controversial topics where difference of opinion are often expressed more in volume than in substance, it is hard to tell whether or not this is actually a joke or not.
 
Whether or not this is an actual true article, for those fighting the tug of war between the importance of literary reading vs informational reading, remember we need not look far to see that there is much important work to be done in improving our understanding of the value and importance of each.
 
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10 TED Talks from authors

10 TED Talks from authors | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
These well-known writers weave beautiful words on the page … and on the stage.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

22 January 2015

 

Like many, I'm spending some time trying to catch all the Oscar nominees for best picture.

 

Over many years, I've only been peripherally interested in the Oscars. But, in 2014 I found myself amazed at the quality of that year's nominees. Remembering Dallas Buyers Club,  12 Years a Slave, Philomena, Nebraska, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, and others, I found the quality of storytelling quite impressive. 

_____

A clarification. The rubric behind this blog post is intentionally focused upon the single criteria of "effective storytelling." In film as in print, I feel comfortable with screenwriters and authors who incorporate "poetic license" in their attempts to create a great storyline.

 

My point here being there's some pretty darned good storytelling going on in film these days. 

 

However, unlike 2014, I've not had the opportunity to see most of this year's nominated films. Counting The Imitation Game which I saw yesterday, I've only seen two of the nominated films; the other being The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have several hours of catching up to do to see the rest before the Oscars.

 

And as an aside to this aside, the same is true in television. I've become quite the Binge Watcher for extremely well-written television series that are finding ways to reach the depths of great novels over the course of a single season. 

_____

 

SO WHAT'S MY POINT?

Whether you pride yourself upon the fact that you have seen them all and are ready for the big night and the current and subsequent conversations regarding those films, OR If you're like me and need to catch up on several hours of theatre time in the short time remaining before the big night, I want to suggest ten videos to add to your viewing experience.

 

Yes TEN more videos. But, before you even think (probably too late already) that I must be some sort of nut case, you might be encouraged to keep reading when I tell you that you can watch all ten videos in less time than it takes to watch two of the nominated films.

 

These TED talks by authors are as riveting as the nominated films, at least to those of us who adore "the word." There is only one over 20  

Four are under 15 minutes.

 

Yes these are videos not text. But they are "original sources" as they come directly from the minds of authors. It's a college course in just a couple of hours. 

 

There won't be a test, but my guess is that the first video by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a good place to start. Absolutely one of the best 19 minutes of my professional career. 

 

Okay, I said that there would not be a test. But, I do have one question. If these ten talks were only available in text format, would you have bothered to read them all?

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
—Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 December 2014

 

What's your favorite sentence (anywhere)?

 

Kids quote a lot! Maybe from literature; maybe not. But, they love individual sentences that somehow stick in their minds. And, they use those special sentences repeatedly as a means of expressing "something" that someone else expressed so well in their perception.

 

Where do these sentences come from? A favorite movie, TV character, bumpersticker, poem, song lyric, book, celebrity, teacher, ....

 

Who knows, but wherever a kid is touched by a single sentence, there is a magic worth paying attention to.

 

What if kids were asked to find and document the source for a single sentence that has captured their interest in ways that no other single sentence has captured them?

 

Don't judge the source. Don't judge the kid. Just listen to the honesty even if that honest is actually between the words they share.

 

I'd give it a try just to see what happens.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Ten Well-Travelled Ed Sites for Google Earth Field Trips and Tours

Ten Well-Travelled Ed Sites for Google Earth Field Trips and Tours | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"The (Google Lit Trips) tours are complete with links and facts that can make any reading block a reading block party."

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

5 December 2014

 

It is quite moving to this retired English teacher to find expressions of appreciation such as this one, knowing that in my own way that after nearly 40 years as a classroom teacher,  I've been able to continue to support teachers and their students from Kindergarten through grad school from over 150 countries with the Google Lit Trips resources they find valuable.

 

One of the treats for me has been a result of  bloggers who've created comments that capture better than I have done, an essential element of the Google Lit Trips project. 

Mr. Clayton, this blog's author came up with, "The tours are complete with links and facts that can make any reading block a reading block party."
 

To me, this quote is much more than a wonderful compliment. It actually reflects two of the primary pillars upon which the Google Lit Trips pedagogy rests. The first being, that reading stories whether for personal enjoyment or as a focused learning experience, relies upon engaged enjoyment.

 

I hadn't thought about comparing reading to a party. In fact, I can even recall, with regret in retrospect, being slightly disappointed when a well-intended student would take the time to thank me for having such a fun class. Yes, I did try to make learning fun. And, yes, I did appreciate that the student was expressing his enjoyment for having taken the class. But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I wanted to hear the kid say something like, "Mr. Burg, I just want to tell you that I really enjoyed the class because it gave me so many new ideas to think about that I hadn't really thought that much about before." 

 

My sense of the value of reading fiction was in the enjoyment of the  "on the lines" plot elements and the "ah ha" pleasures of discovering the "between the lines" themes.

 

My default metaphor was that great stories are like candy-coated medicine. The candy-coating, the "on the lines" plot elements being so enticing that they served to quickly break down resistance to taking in the intellectual medicine that the story's "between the lines " themes provide. From the earliest days of every reader, who didn't love the plot first and THEN gradually begin to discover both subconsciously and consciously, an engaging  burst of enjoyment in the realizing that stories can have thought provoking lessons to think about. From Aesop who gave us the "the moral of the story" to finding them myself, the "ah ha!" moment of realizing there's more to the story, was as fun as it was to actually find Waldo on a page where I had not previously done so. And, then the "fun" was further enhanced by the discovery that there were millions of visual jokes in the Waldo books that I hadn't even thought to look for as I simply scanned the page for red and white stripes. And, oh my gosh. There was even history to be found. 

 

To me, the metaphor of candy-coated medicine worked...sort of.. But, in a sense, once the discovery of the joys associated with the candy coating's ability to successfully disguise the "unpleasant taste" of the medicine itself, the metaphor began to break down as I began to come to believe that the "moral of the story" ONCE DISCOVERED was perhaps even more "delicious" as the candy-coating itself.

 

Hopefully, the metaphor ought to transition to comparing the natural attractiveness of plot (the candy-coating) and the medicinal value of the unpleasant taste of the medicine (the themes) to a metaphor more like a lollipop! Though it's actually still medicine under the candy coating, the desire to get past the plot to  "really good stuff" in the story's themes becomes pretty darn motivating.

 

Yes. Reading fiction engages first, then teaches. It is as "fun" a party of sorts. And, in classrooms, if managed (choreographed?) elegantly enough that engagement can become contagious engagement from plot through the discovery of the themes. It's more than a party, it's a block party. Each student's engagement is enhanced by the sharing of the many reasons why it is enjoyable to learn via well-written fiction. 

 

The REST OF THE LIST...

The other nine sites in Mr. Clayton's list, also are built upon place-based instruction. Google Earth is so much more than a geography resource. Placing history, math, science, or pretty much any subject (really!) in the context of it's place in the "real world," the same world our students are spending their days learning more and more about, acts as a Vygotskian bridge of sorts. Kids know about the world they live in. Reading place-based stories enhanced by visual connections to real places, adds to their understandings of their own world. And that like plot, has its own motivating engagement. Bring the two together and kids are "pre-connected" on some level that invites the kind of engagement we want all students to love about learning.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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'Voice' Isn't the Point of Writing

'Voice' Isn't the Point of Writing | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Whether crafting fiction or how-to manuals, self-expression is a negotiation.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

____________________

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____________________

 

30 November 2014

 

The gauntlet has been thrown down in this article.  Will you accept the challenge? (rhetorically speaking that is.

; -)

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Classic works of literature loved by 23 top CEOs

Classic works of literature loved by 23 top CEOs | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Josh James, the former CEO of Omniture, and his new website, CEO.com put together the below infographic with a wonderful collection of 23 top CEOs, and the books that inspired them.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

10 November 2014

 

Intriguing list of 23 top CEOs and the classic works of literature they love. 

 

I'm not certain whose definition of "Classic Literature" was used for  this article. Some titles are pretty much outside my understanding of both "Classic" and "Literature." However, there are quite a number of titles that most would agree are both "Classic" and "Literature."

 

Be sure to scroll past the first large graphic to see titles specific to each CEO.

 

What might you do with this information in terms of adjusting your pedagogy, or selling the value of literature to the rest of your staff, or engaging your students in Literary (and Informational) Reading?

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

 

 

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Eugene O'Neill At The Ballot Box

From his earliest years of political consciousness, America's foremost playwright Eugene O'Neill regarded our electoral process, in what he saw as an unabashedly unrepresentative democracy, as "the acme of futility."...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

4 November 2014

 

First, I really love this new insight into Eugene O'Neal; an author I've developed quite a bit of respect for in spite of his easy to list shortcomings as a family man. The quote above alone, was enough to catch my attention.

 

And, what an appropriately disturbing quote that is in light of today being election day.

 

The article's next sentence, though I suppose a clear indication of the author's political leanings, certainly raises a question that has troubled me and millions of others who are concerned about the current governmental gridlock that seems to have nearly killed "democracy" as we know it.

 

That quote...

_____

"The Supreme Court's Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions of 2010 and 2014, which together legitimized the bribery of politicians by the .001% as a constitutional right, only doubled-down on what O'Neill had railed against over a century ago."

_____

 

In retrospect, O'Neal's appraisal of the American political scene seems uncomfortably prophetic. Like many in his day, including Jack London, he saw "good reason" to consider the called to socialism. The echoes of the threat to the 1% of the time seems to ring loudly today. 

 

Consider this quote from the article...

_____

It was O'Neill who wrote about the working-class men, about whores and the social discards and even the black man in a white world, but since there was no longer a connection with Marxism in the man himself, his plays were never seen as the critiques of capitalism that objectively they were."

_____

 

What solace there is to those of us attempting to resolve the requirements of both literary reading and informational reading. O'Neal wrote fiction. And, in doing so, brought incredible attention to certain truths that are difficult to face.

 

The article continues and truthfully, becomes so clearly critical of the part of the American Dream that we rarely want to think about, that I'm not certain the risk of facing O'Neal's take on the "harsh realities" of the way he perceived the American Dream in the real world is a worthwhile or safe exploration as we attempt to teach critical thinking. 

 

I did not like O'Neal as a high school student.  I found him far too depressing. Where was the light of hope?

 

I did not object to O'Neal's work being taught in the advanced literature course(s). But, having by choice avoided teaching those courses, I never felt that O'Neal was appropriate for the general population of kids too many of whom, might just not be ready to consider without automatically rejecting, the very harsh realities of of the human condition.

 

As an adult, I've grown to appreciate Eugene O'Neal for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that he actually wrote his best works at his Tao House residence in my home town. I've had several opportunities to visit Tao House and even had one spectacular theater experience having dinner on the lawn in front of his home and then under a real full moon watched a performance of Moon for the Misbegotten just a 100 yards or so from where the play had been written. 

 

shush...

Keep you eyes on this blog! I'm hoping that my 360° walking tour through Eugene O'Neal's Tao House will soon be published online. My first 360° walking tour of a nearby one room school house was just published. Take a look here: 

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tassajara+School/@37.8032409,-121.8602942,47m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0xee0b72716b230a7f

 

(you can "walk towards" the building by clicking on the screen and drag the image in any direction on screen with your mouse or via your arrow keys)

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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15 True Facts That Sound Completely Made Up

15 True Facts That Sound Completely Made Up | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The universe is full of crazy things. These facts sound so bizzarre that you may not believe them, but they are actually true!
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The Most Popular Words Used In Classic Books (INFOGRAPHIC)

The Most Popular Words Used In Classic Books (INFOGRAPHIC) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass has a reputation for championing the individual ("I am large, I contain multitudes"), so it's surprising that the most frequently used word in the poem -- "all" -- applies to the collective or univer...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

25 October 2014

 

Interesting! Surprisingly, most words used in classic books by 8 authors are single syllable words. 

 

The word cloud above is from 'To the Lighthouse' by Virgina Woolf. I was pleased to see that the word "thought" was used so frequently that it merited large font size in center stage.

 

Works represented include:

'To the Lighthouse' by Virginia Woolf

'The Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemingway

'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen

'Nineteen Eight-Four' by George Orwell

'Metamorphosis' by Franz Kafka

'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley

'Leaves of Grass' by Walt Whitman

'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot

 

hmmm... now how to make an engaging learning experience out of these examples.

 

How about a challenge after reading one of the stories that is essentially a multiple choice quiz (don't think I'd grade it myself) where a selection of 5 or so of the words in the cloud are the choices. 

 

No, this is not a vocabulary lesson as much as it is an exercise in recognizing a bit of the author's style.

 

By the way, the article also includes a link to WordItOut.com where text from Project Gutenberg are used as the data source.

 

Now, a word about Word Clouds...

Do they represent the most important vocabulary or simply the most popular? I'm reminded that "most popular" is not an endorsement. That is unless you actually believe that vanilla IS the best ice cream flavor or Jerry Springer is the most valuable way to spend your TV time.

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

 

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