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Singing: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about singing?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to singing. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about singing.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about singing, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes … to popular sellers like Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons to some of our favorite hidden gems like Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

We hope this list of kids books about singing can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From a New York Times bestselling author and an acclaimed illustrator comes this vibrant portrait of Aretha Franklin that pays her the R-E-S-P-E-C-T this Queen of Soul deserves.
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Ella Fitzgerald
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Bàrbara Alca
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Ella Fitzgerald, one of the most influential jazz singers of all time! New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the inspirational life of the First Lady of Song, from her early singing days on the streets of Harlem, to her success as a jazz legend, with the message: ‘It’s not where you come from, but where you’re going that counts.’ With stylish and quirky illustrations and a facts and photo section at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

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Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
This lyrical, loving picture book from popular singer-songwriter Laura Veirs and debut illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh tells the story of the determined, gifted, daring Elizabeth Cotten--one of the most celebrated American folk musicians of all time.
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Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe
Written by Vivian Kirkfield & illustrated by Alleanna Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike–full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be.

Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town–one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet.

Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused.

Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.

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A Voice Named Aretha
Written & illustrated by Katheryn Russell-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautiful picture book biography about the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and how she fought for equal rights throughout her life.

Aretha Louise Franklin grew up in a house of music. The shy daughter of a famous Detroit preacher and civil rights activist, Aretha’s big voice surprised those around her, and everyone agreed: her powerful singing would someday make her a star.

After relocating to New York City and signing a record deal, Aretha relentlessly pursued her dream of stardom. But it took many years of tireless touring and recording until her hit record “Respect” finally brought her the acclaim she deserved. Along the way, Aretha used her talents to fight for respect and equal rights along the way by refusing to perform for “whites only” audiences. With six decades of hits, countless memorable performances, and millions of lives touched, Aretha’s legacy of resilience and respect will inspire for generations to come.

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  • The Legendary Miss Lena Horne - Celebrate the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist, with this inspiring and powerful picture book from award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford. You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way. Lena Horne was born into the freedom struggle, to a family of teachers and activists. Her mother dreamed of being an actress, so Lena followed in her footsteps as she chased small parts in vaudeville, living out of a suitcase until MGM offered Lena something more—the first ever studio contract for a black actress. But the roles she was considered for were maids and mammies, stereotypes that Lena refused to play. Still, she never gave up. “Stormy Weather” became her theme song, and when she sang “This Little Light of Mine” at a civil rights rally, she found not only her voice, but her calling.

  • Song of the Poison Dragon - Pick a book. Grow a Reader! <p/>This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! <p/>In book #5, the Dragon Masters are excited to meet the newest Dragon Master, Petra. But when she arrives at the castle, she doesn’t fit in right away. She’s a know-it-all, and she doesn’t even try to connect with her four-headed dragon! Could the Dragon Stone have chosen her by mistake? Then something terrible happens to the king. Petra will have to work with the other Dragon Masters to save him before it’s too late!

  • The Penderwicks in Spring - With over one million copies sold, this series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family, from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall, is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager. Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family. Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart. Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, The Penderwicks in Spring is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what’s hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons - An award-winning and bestselling Pete the Cat hardcover picture book! Count down with Pete in this rocking story that makes counting fun! Pete the Cat is wearing his favorite shirt—the one with the four totally groovy buttons. But when one falls off, does Pete cry? Goodness, no! He just keeps on singing his song—after all, what could be groovier than three groovy buttons? The winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. The fun never stops—download the free groovin’ song!

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Tune It Out
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
From the author of the acclaimed Roll with It comes a moving novel about a girl with a sensory processing disorder who has to find her own voice after her whole world turns upside down.
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The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Written by Tomson Highway & illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise! Tomson Highway’s musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn’t be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for.

The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack.

The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.

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When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson
Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan & illustrated by Brian Selznick
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Marian Anderson is best known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, which drew an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil Rights America. While this momentous event showcased the uniqueness of her voice, the strength of her character, and the struggles of the times in which she lived, it is only part of her story. Like the operatic arias Marian would come to sing, Ryan’s text is as moving as a libretto, and Selznick’s pictures as exquisitely detailed and elaborately designed as a stage set. What emerges most profoundly from their shared vision is a role model of courage.

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Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
Written & illustrated by Kate O'Shaughnessy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
This sparkling middle-grade debut is a classic-in-the-making!
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Rocking in My School Shoes
Written by Kimberly Dean and Eric Litwin & illustrated by James Dean
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Time to head back to school with this bestselling groovy Pete the Cat book!

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  • Shyanna's Song - Since her dad died, Shyanna has not been able to sing. But in one bold move, all of that is going to change thanks to the mermaid Melody Pageant. Shyanna must conquer her stage fright and other obstacles to bring song back into her (and her mom’s) life.

  • Early Sunday Morning - In this heartwarming story of love and family, a community comes together to help a young girl find the courage to lift her mighty voice. Sundays are June’s favorite days because she gets to spend it with Mommy, Daddy, and her brother, Troy. Next Sunday is more special than most, because she will be leading the youth choir in front of her entire church. June loves to sing. She sings loud, silly songs with Daddy, she sings to herself in front of the bedroom mirror, but performing in front of the entire congregation is another thing altogether. As her special moment approaches, June leans on the support of her whole community to conquer her fear of singing in front of the congregation.

  • The Life of / la Vida de Celia - Born in 1924 in Havana, Cuba, Celia Cruz has become one of the most popular singers in the world. Her career started at a young age, when she began began entering singing contests and winning pastelitos for her efforts! Celia and her husband later moved to New York, where they became friends with other performers such as Tito Puente. As her popularity soared, Celia became known as the ?Queen of Salsa’. To this day, her magnificent music continues to be sugar to our ears!

  • The Life of - La Vida De Ritchie - Born May 13, 1941, Ritchie Valens was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His musical journey at age 5 when his father encouraged him to take up guitar. In high school, he made his performing debut with the band The Silhouettes. At 17, Ritchie recorded his final record, which included classics like “Donna” and “La Bamba”. That record went on to sell over one million copies. To this day, Ritchie Valens’ music lives on in the hearts of many!

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Strange Fruit
Written by Gary Golio & illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-12

The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “”Strange Fruit.”” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.

Discover how two outsiders–Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants–combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement.””The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “”Strange Fruit.”” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.

Discover how two outsiders–Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants–combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement.

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Ella Fitzgerald: My First Ella Fitzgerald
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This board book version of Ella Fitzgerald—an international bestseller in the beloved Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the First Lady of Song, from her early singing days on the streets of Harlem to her success as a jazz legend.

Ella Fitzgerald grew up near Harlem, in New York, where she was surrounded by music and dance. After winning first prize in a talent competition at the Apollo Theater, she went on to tour the world with her pioneering voice. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating icon, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

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Springtime Crime
Written by Carolyn Keene & illustrated by Peter Francis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Spring has sprung in River Heights! The annual Flower Sculpture contest is in a couple of days and everyone in town is working hard to finish their floral works of art. But Nancy, Bess, and George are most excited to see the world-famous pop singer, Miss LaLa, perform. The superstar grew up in River Heights and has agreed to kick off the contest with a song. And just when the girls thought life couldn’t get any better, they run into Miss LaLa herself! The singer is in a bit of a pickle though: She brought a giant hat made of white peonies for the show but she doesn’t have a refrigerator big enough to store it in. George thinks quickly and offers to put it in her mom’s catering refrigerator.

But when the girls check on the hat the next morning they see something has gone terribly wrong. Half of the snowy white blooms are wilted and brown! They use their detective skills to rule out a blackout. And George can’t remember if she locked the door last night. Could someone have snuck into the kitchen and switched the fresh flowers with droopy ones?

Nancy and her friends are determined to find out! Could it be Madame Withers, whose signature wilted rose perfume was rejected by Miss LaLa? Perhaps it was the famous flower artist Pierre, who was angry that Miss LaLa was the star of the show. Or it maybe it was Benjamin Bing, who ruined his flower sculpture with brown hair spray and had no more white peonies to replace them. It’s up to the Clue Crew—and you—to find out!

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Mortimer
Written by Robert Munsch & illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Mortimer will not be quiet and go to sleep. Not for his mother, or his father, or his seventeen sisters and brothers, not even for the police.

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Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Brian Pinkney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

They were each born with the gift of gospel. Martin’s voice kept people in their seats, but also sent their praises soaring. Mahalia’s voice was brass-and-butter - strong and smooth at the same time. With Martin’s sermons and Mahalia’s songs, folks were free to shout, to sing their joy. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. Told through Andrea Davis Pinkney’s poetic prose and Brian Pinkney’s evocative illustration, the stories of these two powerful voices and lives are told side-by-side – as they would one day walk – following the journey from their youth to a culmination at this historical event when they united as one and inspiring kids to find their own voices and speak up for what is right.

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  • Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song - Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award–winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid―a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations. Set defiantly in the present tense, this biography offers readers an intimate view of Makeba’s fight for equality. Kathryn Erskine’s call-and-response style text and Charly Palmer’s bold illustrations come together in a raw, riveting duet of protest song and praise poem. A testament to how a single voice helped to shake up the world―and can continue to do so.

  • If You're Happy and You Know It - Sing, stomp, and clap along - if you’re happy, let it show! Get the youngest listeners moving, clapping, and flapping in this brightly colored board book, perfect for small hands, full of joyful jungle animals. Nod along with groovy giraffe, flap with baby bird, and ROAR out loud with lion. Jane Cabrera’s fresh spin on the familiar song is a family favorite for baby dance parties since 2003. An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner. Jane Cabrera’s Story Time celebrates children’s best-loved read along nursery rhymes and songs. These interactive favorites are given a new twist by award-winning artist Jane Cabrera and feature her bold, bright, kid-friendly illustrations. Other titles in the series include Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, One Two Buckle My Shoe, and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

  • Sarai Saves the Music - The third book in the Sarai Gonzalez illustrated chapter book series inspired by the life of viral video sensation and social activist Sarai Gonzalez.<p></p>They’re cutting funding at Sarai’s school and her band program is the first to go. That is totally not okay with Sarai. She decides to organize a benefit concert to raise money! When she and her bandmates promote the concert on their video channel, it catches the attention of Sarai’s favorite singer, Sparkles Sanchez! Can Sarai save the music?

  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes ... - An illustrated version of the song which identifies parts of the body. On board pages.

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Paddington at St. Paul's
Written by Michael Bond & illustrated by R.W. Alley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of Paddington Bear with this final classic picture book adventure from beloved author Michael Bond. Paddington Bear’s adventures never go quite as planned. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with fun and laughter! When Mr. Gruber takes Paddington on a special outing to St. Paul’s Cathedral, there is one surprise after another. And the biggest surprise of all comes when Paddington is mistaken for a choir bear and suddenly finds himself taking part in a most unusual rehearsal. For six decades, stories of Paddington have charmed readers all over the world. Now another generation of fans can join the beloved bear in this brand-new adventure written by Michael Bond and illustrated by artist R. W. Alley.

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The Life of/ La Vida De Selena
Written & illustrated by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A Lil’ Libros Bilingual Biography Selena’s career started at a young age when she became lead singer in her family’s band, Selena Y Los Dinos. She went on to become an award-winning artist with albums like Amor Prohibido and Selena Live, and earned the title “Queen of Tejano Music.” Your little one will learn that Selena’s favorite food was pizza and that the most important people in the world to her were her familiaand fans.

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Hattie and Hudson
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little girl and her colossal friend teach a monster-size lesson about prejudging others in a charming offering from Chris Van Dusen.

Hattie McFadden is a born explorer. Every morning she grabs her life jacket and paddles out in her canoe to discover something new on the lake, singing a little song on her way. When her singing draws up from the depths a huge mysterious beast, everyone in town is terrified — except Hattie, who looks into the creature’s friendly, curious eyes and knows that this is no monster. So Hattie sneaks out at night to see the giant — whom she names Hudson — and the two become friends. But how can she make the frightened, hostile townspeople see that Hudson isn’t scary or dangerous at all? Chris Van Dusen brings his colorful, perspective-bending artwork to this satisfying new story about acceptance, friendship, and sticking up for those who are different.

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Sweetest Sound
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
A story of family, faith, and following your heart
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Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni Mitchell
Written & illustrated by Selina Alko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Colors burst across each page, with layers of collage-work emphasizing the richness of Mitchell’s influences and imagination. Will speak to readers just starting their own exploration of artistic expression.” —Booklist (starred review)

Celebrate the captivating life of Joni Mitchell, the world-famous songbird who used her music to ignite and inspire an entire generation, in this stunning picture book biography from award-winning author and illustrator Selina Alko.

Joni Mitchell painted with words.

Sitting at her piano or strumming the guitar, she turned the words into songs.

The songs were like brushstrokes on a canvas, saying things that were not only happy or sad but true.

But before composing more than two hundred songs, Joni was a young girl from a town on the Canadian prairie, where she learned to love dancing, painting, birdsong, and piano. As she grew up into an artist, Joni took her strong feelings—feelings of love and frustration, and the turbulence that came with being a young woman—and wrote them into vivid songs.

Brought to life by Selina Alko’s rainbow collages and lyrical language, this heartfelt portrait of a feminist and folk icon is perfect for parents, children, and music lovers everywhere.

Back matter includes a letter from the author and Joni’s full discography.

“An inspired and creative ode to the inimitable Joni Mitchell.” —Kirkus

“Layered mixed-media collages featuring cut paper, found images, and colorful smears of paint effectively evoke the richly rendered emotional landscapes of Mitchell’s songwriting.” —Publishers Weekly

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  • Katie Cox Vs. the Boy Band - Katie Cox never meant to become a pop star. And she didn’t mean to start a war with Karamel (a.k.a. the World’s Cheesiest Boy Band). Now her first concert is just days away. Cool? Maybe. But with her school friends more interested in her fame than her feelings, and an army of Karamel fans ready to take her down, this battle goes way beyond the charts.

  • If You're a Monster and You Know It - Monsters sing their own version of this popular song that encourages everyone to express their happiness through voice and movement.

  • Ella Queen of Jazz - Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up! It seemed like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play… and all because of her colour. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help. The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born – and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity.

  • La La: A Story of Hope - Conceived by Kate DiCamillo and featuring enchanting illustrations by Jaime Kim, this nearly wordless graphic story follows a little girl in search of a friend.

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