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Saved by the Boats

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September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine bright September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine brightly as a beacon of hope.


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September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine bright September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine brightly as a beacon of hope.

30 review for Saved by the Boats

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    This book is ideal for young children; putting 9/11 in context while showing that good people did help others that day. If you have a young child starting to ask questions about 9/11 I highly recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I read anything that I can get my hands on having to do with 9/11. Living in NY I experienced this first hand and I am very interested in the stories and information that has come out since that day. Even though 9/11 happened almost 15 years ago now, it still is unsettling and still gives you that uncomfortable feeling when you see it on the news or pictures of the towers being attacked. There is that element in I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I read anything that I can get my hands on having to do with 9/11. Living in NY I experienced this first hand and I am very interested in the stories and information that has come out since that day. Even though 9/11 happened almost 15 years ago now, it still is unsettling and still gives you that uncomfortable feeling when you see it on the news or pictures of the towers being attacked. There is that element in this book, it's uncomfortable, but it's real. This was a reality that happened and now it's something that we need to teach our children about. It is a very important part of history and it is very important to teach the lessons that came from that day and about those we lost. The more we study, the more stories we learn of those who were heroic, those helped their fellow man in a time of uncertainty. That is what this story is about. It teaches how in the face of danger, people were just there willing and wanting to help others. Every single person that helped their fellow man that day is a hero. So many people needed to be rescued from downtown Manhattan that day and these boats were the security and transportation for so many hundreds of people. I will be buying this book to put away for my son when he is older. It gives a bit of back story about what happened that day but it also teaches the important lesson of helping others, and how people were united as not just NY/NJ residents, but as Americans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margaux

    Goosebumps. Goosebumps. I was preparing for school that day, watching my cartoons on telly. I remember that morning. Since then, I have read many books, articles, etc about 9/11. But this, this book. The narration is simple. The pictures are... just like how I imagine the event was when I think about it today. Saved by the boats. I have never read or watched any documentary from this vantage point until now. Someone needs to do a project featuring this side of the story. This is a good start. I h Goosebumps. Goosebumps. I was preparing for school that day, watching my cartoons on telly. I remember that morning. Since then, I have read many books, articles, etc about 9/11. But this, this book. The narration is simple. The pictures are... just like how I imagine the event was when I think about it today. Saved by the boats. I have never read or watched any documentary from this vantage point until now. Someone needs to do a project featuring this side of the story. This is a good start. I hope people will get their hands on this book. This is not just for children, this is also for young adults like me who were kids during that time. This book, while I was reading and looking at its drawings, took me back years when I was eating my breakfast in front of the TV being pissed that my cartoons were interrupted by a live broadcast of a breaking news. I was a kid then, I didn't understand what I was seeing on TV. It hit me when that first tower fell. Read this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    The starkly contrasted illustrations combine with a powerful story of humanity of that tragic day for a don't miss it picture book. The starkly contrasted illustrations combine with a powerful story of humanity of that tragic day for a don't miss it picture book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Saved by the Boats is a great book for kids to learn about the evacuation of thousands on September 11. My favorite part of the book was the author's notes at the back, describing her personal experience on that day. The illustrations throughout the book added a nice feel for the overall story. Thank you to NetGalley and Capstone Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Saved by the Boats is a great book for kids to learn about the evacuation of thousands on September 11. My favorite part of the book was the author's notes at the back, describing her personal experience on that day. The illustrations throughout the book added a nice feel for the overall story. Thank you to NetGalley and Capstone Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    September 11 is an event that is never going to leave my memories. I think I will always remember that day even though I was so far away from the events. It is a national tragedy that should and will not be forgotten. I thought we had learned all there was to learn, but even 15 years later there are still unique stories about that day. I had no idea so many people fled New York over the water. It makes sense when you think about it, but I guess that was not an aspect of the day I thought about. September 11 is an event that is never going to leave my memories. I think I will always remember that day even though I was so far away from the events. It is a national tragedy that should and will not be forgotten. I thought we had learned all there was to learn, but even 15 years later there are still unique stories about that day. I had no idea so many people fled New York over the water. It makes sense when you think about it, but I guess that was not an aspect of the day I thought about. This picture book details the evacuation of Manhattan by thousands of boats and sailors. It is truly a story of human kindness and illustrates just how good people can be. I will admit to getting choked up several times while reading this book. I think it is an excellent story with really wonderful illustrations. I received a copy of the book from Netgalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth Leppin

    I didn't know anything about the sea evacuation on 9/11. Interesting! I didn't know anything about the sea evacuation on 9/11. Interesting!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Whoa. Goosebumps. Very well-written and nice format for children.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sunday

    Rereading this in the fall of 2020 when the United States seems in many ways to be very divided on many difficult issues. Thematically, this book reveals how, in the face of tragedy, U.S. citizens do come together to help each other, regardless of their political views or views on other seemingly divisive issues. Telling the story of the boats, big and small, that arrived when called by the Coast Guard to carry 500,000 people out of harm's way allows the author to gently introduce young readers Rereading this in the fall of 2020 when the United States seems in many ways to be very divided on many difficult issues. Thematically, this book reveals how, in the face of tragedy, U.S. citizens do come together to help each other, regardless of their political views or views on other seemingly divisive issues. Telling the story of the boats, big and small, that arrived when called by the Coast Guard to carry 500,000 people out of harm's way allows the author to gently introduce young readers to a real life, harrowing incident that might frighten some to learn about for the first time (or for the first time in more depth). Gassman is respectful of her audience (grades 2-6), leaving readers to draw their own conclusions about what she is saying. For example, she writes - "When the captains and crews reached the slips, they saw just how badly they were needed. Many of the people looking for rescue had come from Ground Zero, where the towers once stood. Covered with ash and soot, they carried the weight of the day's tragedy right on their bodies." Gassman doesn't explain what 'they carried the weight of the day's tragedy right on their bodies' means (or the multiple meanings); she leaves the meaning making to the reader. THANK YOU. Moors' black line illustrations while minimal also reveal the depth of despair and compassion that encompassed this day in history. There are so many pages where you can just stop and ask students, "What do you notice?" and "How does Moors convey the gravity of the situation without a lot of detail?" Read aloud to younger students or book talk and provide older, small groups of students time to read and discuss. This might be a good mentor text for writing workshop - thinking about how to write from the different perspectives of those involved in a historical incident. With older students PAIR THIS TEXT with the 11-minute documentary Gassman recommends, "Boatlift" (with Tom Hanks as narrator and available on YouTube). Several of the boat captains are interviewed and that big idea of coming together to help others is a strong theme.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Smith

    Beautiful There are many things that stand out for me from 9/11/01, but the rescuing of over 500,000 by boat was not one of those memories. I am beyond thankful for this book and yet another story to be amazed by on such a tragic day. The illustrations are magnificent and the story is breathtaking.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Incredibly powerful book for younger children. Review to come Full review can be found on my blog here: https://allthebookblognamesaretaken.b... Incredibly powerful book for younger children. Review to come Full review can be found on my blog here: https://allthebookblognamesaretaken.b...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Loved this book on the true story of the largest boat rescue in history, surpassing even the rescue at Dunkirk. There is a YouTube video on that boat lift.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura N

    I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The September 11 attacks in New York City left thousands of people stranded on the Island of Manhattan. With no other option, many took to the seas to make their escape. In simple words and beautiful pictures, Saved by the Boats tells the astonishing story of the largest sea evacuation in history. I had never heard this story before. On a day of terror and heartache, hundreds of people and their boats came to I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The September 11 attacks in New York City left thousands of people stranded on the Island of Manhattan. With no other option, many took to the seas to make their escape. In simple words and beautiful pictures, Saved by the Boats tells the astonishing story of the largest sea evacuation in history. I had never heard this story before. On a day of terror and heartache, hundreds of people and their boats came to the rescue. It sounds a lot like the Miracle at Dunkirk, but it happened right here in the US, in 2001. Gassman did an excellent job talking about September 11 in such a way that it is understandable to young readers, as well as sensitive of their age—it never becomes too frightening or too intense. A glossary in the back helps readers with unfamiliar words. Even more remarkable is the fact that the author was evacuated on one of these boats! At the end of the book, there is a short note in which Gassman relates her personal experience of being saved by a boat on September 11. Moor’s pictures are stunning. Those who lived through the tragedy of September 11 in New York City often remark on the vivid blue of the sky that morning. This blue is reflected throughout Saved by the Boats. The rest of the illustrations are simple: mostly white, two gray Towers and a sepia color for the dusty debris covering Manhattan and those fleeing the island. Saved by the Boats is a good introduction to the horrific events of September 11. The story itself is inspiring and heartwarming, despite the horrific events surrounding it. The content won’t leave young readers traumatized after they finish reading it either. That said, especially for very young readers, I would suggest caregivers read the story with the child and be prepared to offer explanations and answer questions. I would suggest this book as a companion read to Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maria Kalman and14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jill Wharton

    I absolutely loved this book. It was heartbreaking, honest, and it took me back the day the America was changed forever. I have watched many documentaries and read many books on the topic, but not one that focused on how the people got out of Manhattan on 9/11. This book told the story without being graphic which ensures that children would not be greatly disturbed. It's told at a pace that would easily allow for teachers and/or parents to stop and have any conversation that is needed without di I absolutely loved this book. It was heartbreaking, honest, and it took me back the day the America was changed forever. I have watched many documentaries and read many books on the topic, but not one that focused on how the people got out of Manhattan on 9/11. This book told the story without being graphic which ensures that children would not be greatly disturbed. It's told at a pace that would easily allow for teachers and/or parents to stop and have any conversation that is needed without disrupting the flow of the story. It's a story the needs and deserves to be told. There were thousands of heroes that day and I think it's important for our children to know that one simple act of kindness can change a person's life. On a day that is forever etched in memory for horrific reasons, it's good to know the stories of people selflessly helping others without expecting any glory or recognition. These stories balance out the darkness of the day. The illustrations are powerful in their simplicity. The importance of the blue is clearly understand at the end of the book. People to this day remark on what a beautiful sky it was that day. The use of the ashen colors and use of angry swirling smoke was perfect. The lack of color on characters allows the reader to get the feel of the moment without it being overpowering for a child. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to share a 9/11 story that isn't overwhelming with their child. I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    I loved this book. It was heartbreaking and it took me back to that September day. I knew that this water evacuation occurred but this is the first book that I have read that simply dealt with this topic and the heroes that made this all possible. People trying to get our of Manhattan on 9/11 could have panicked, but the smart thinking of the coast guard and the unselfishness of the many captains and crews of the boats and ships that stepped up, kept this from happening. This book told the story I loved this book. It was heartbreaking and it took me back to that September day. I knew that this water evacuation occurred but this is the first book that I have read that simply dealt with this topic and the heroes that made this all possible. People trying to get our of Manhattan on 9/11 could have panicked, but the smart thinking of the coast guard and the unselfishness of the many captains and crews of the boats and ships that stepped up, kept this from happening. This book told the story without dealing with the negative fallout so it can be read to and with children. It's told at a pace that would easily allow for teachers and/or parents to stop and have conversations when questioned without disrupting the flow of the story. It's a story that deserves to be told. With all the evil that happened on that day and all the loss of life, it is wonderful to show future generations how a simple act towards others can change lives for the better. The illustrations are simple line, pen and ink drawings. They are powerful. The blue sky and the comments about what a beautiful sky it was until it was marred by ash and smoke tell that story with simple grey colours and swirls. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to share a 9/11 story that isn't overwhelming with for children. This would be a good read aloud for late primary and middle grades that may be studying heroes or the history of New York. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lafleur Meyers

    Julie Gassman tells the little known story of the boats that came to people's aid on 9/11, when people were trying to find any means necessary to flee Manhattan and the falling towers. She recounts the events of the day and the heroic actions of the boat captains in story form making this both very readable and informative. Adding to the story are quotations from eyewitnesses meshed into the story. This book was extremely moving as the illustrations were mostly in black and white, except for the Julie Gassman tells the little known story of the boats that came to people's aid on 9/11, when people were trying to find any means necessary to flee Manhattan and the falling towers. She recounts the events of the day and the heroic actions of the boat captains in story form making this both very readable and informative. Adding to the story are quotations from eyewitnesses meshed into the story. This book was extremely moving as the illustrations were mostly in black and white, except for the blue sky, a little red life preserver, and finally the final page. The mostly black and white give the book a somber tone with the color splashes adding a small sense of hope. One of my favorite quotations from the book was "they were ordinary people who became heroes on a day when greatness was desperately needed" and "a light on city's darkest day." Gassman mentions how brave the captains were. In the uncertainty of the day, the boats' captains had no idea if they were targets for attack but still moved toward potential danger to help. Gassman really personalizes the book, not only with real people's stories but also with her own memories of the day - such as how blue the sky was. In the author's note, she includes an image of Spencer Finch's artwork, "Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning," on display at the 9/11 Museum. Very moving book that portrays 9/11 with a view of "the helpers" as Mr. Rogers would say.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Review copy provided by Netgalley The text of this story was easily five star material. The illustrations, however, might be too high concept for the audience that they are supposed to appeal to. They have an unfinished quality that makes them seem like an adult coloring book that is only partially completed. I am no expert on illustration though, so maybe they will have surprisingly strong appeal among readers. Still, this is a great tribute to all the people that were involved in the evacuation Review copy provided by Netgalley The text of this story was easily five star material. The illustrations, however, might be too high concept for the audience that they are supposed to appeal to. They have an unfinished quality that makes them seem like an adult coloring book that is only partially completed. I am no expert on illustration though, so maybe they will have surprisingly strong appeal among readers. Still, this is a great tribute to all the people that were involved in the evacuation of Manhattan that day. I remember the day, and any book on the topic sends unpleasant chills up and down my spine, but it's also a day when many people revealed their admirable character as they were faced with unexpected tragedy. Stories like this help to make an event like that something that people can look back on not as a region to cringe, but a reason to have a restored belief in humanity. As bad as it was, it showed the courage and the good in humanity far more. A story like this, with so many first-person accounts of unflinching kindness evidenced, helps to remind us of that. It's a powerful book and when the topic of September 11th comes up, this is a good choice to bring into the conversation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kid Lit Reviews

    Saved by the Boats is one of those stories that get lost in the bigger news of the day. Honestly, this is the first I have heard about all the captains and boats who put themselves in possible danger to rescue people who were strangers. In the water, the boats were sitting ducks for any terrorist waiting in the wings to attack. No one knew if this would happen, but they all understood it was a possibility. Yet they saved the frightened, the injured, and those in shock. Saved by the Boats is a po Saved by the Boats is one of those stories that get lost in the bigger news of the day. Honestly, this is the first I have heard about all the captains and boats who put themselves in possible danger to rescue people who were strangers. In the water, the boats were sitting ducks for any terrorist waiting in the wings to attack. No one knew if this would happen, but they all understood it was a possibility. Yet they saved the frightened, the injured, and those in shock. Saved by the Boats is a powerful fact-based story about unlikely heroes. On the morning of September 11, 2001, New York City is beginning to awake when, at 8:46 and again at 9:03 AM a plane hits the World Trade Center, eventually causing its demise and the loss of too many innocent lives. As the white ash fell like snow upon those in the streets, fear escalated. On Manhattan Island . . . Originally reviewed on Kid Lit Reviews. To read the full review and to see illustrations, go to: http://bit.ly/SavedByTheBoats

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Dobrez

    As a boating family, we've been rescued a few times by other boaters and have participated in the rescue of many other stranded boaters. Even on small rivers and lakes, there is an unwritten code that boaters help other boaters. You don't leave someone in distress. Take that practice and magnify it to tell the story of the evacuation of over 500,000 people via boats large and small from Manhatten on September 11, 20o1. The Coast Guard put out a call for help from any available boats and the call As a boating family, we've been rescued a few times by other boaters and have participated in the rescue of many other stranded boaters. Even on small rivers and lakes, there is an unwritten code that boaters help other boaters. You don't leave someone in distress. Take that practice and magnify it to tell the story of the evacuation of over 500,000 people via boats large and small from Manhatten on September 11, 20o1. The Coast Guard put out a call for help from any available boats and the call was answered. Julie Gassman, herself rescued by a boat that day, tells the story simply, in an unexaggerated way, that becomes even more powerful and moving because of that. Steve Moors's illustrations are perfect for the story. Mostly black, gray and dirty white, with select uses of blue in tribute to the memorable skies that morning, the art supports the emotion of the scenes. I'll be adding this title as another choice in my middle school nonfiction picture book research project. I'd like to seek out the documentary, Boatlift, mentioned in the author's note.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christiane

    I had no idea how many people (nearly 500,000 over nine hours, including the author) were evacuated from lower Manhattan on 9-11, not just by official ferry boats but by all sorts of private vessels who risked themselves to help people get to safety. There is a quote from a woman waiting in a line of thousands of people, but it is eerily calm and quiet. When fighter planes are heard overhead, people at first don't know if they are U.S. military jets or enemy fighter planes. It's easy after all t I had no idea how many people (nearly 500,000 over nine hours, including the author) were evacuated from lower Manhattan on 9-11, not just by official ferry boats but by all sorts of private vessels who risked themselves to help people get to safety. There is a quote from a woman waiting in a line of thousands of people, but it is eerily calm and quiet. When fighter planes are heard overhead, people at first don't know if they are U.S. military jets or enemy fighter planes. It's easy after all these years to forget the chaos and confusion of that day. And, of course, a whole generation of children were not even born in 2001, so this is a compelling and accessible introduction to one of the worst days in U.S. history.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Tanner

    This lovely picture book tells a story about September 11 that I had never heard. After the planes crashed, traffic was completely stuck and public transportation was stopped as well. How did all those people get home? I had heard stories of people walking for hours but I'd never heard about the heroic boat captains who came to get people and help them get home. I loved the art work, which has a very limited color palette-just blue, white, gray, and black. It really brought home the day for me w This lovely picture book tells a story about September 11 that I had never heard. After the planes crashed, traffic was completely stuck and public transportation was stopped as well. How did all those people get home? I had heard stories of people walking for hours but I'd never heard about the heroic boat captains who came to get people and help them get home. I loved the art work, which has a very limited color palette-just blue, white, gray, and black. It really brought home the day for me when people wandered the streets covered in ash. This one is going to be a great one for talking to kids about September 11.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    This is a moving account of how, after disaster struck in NYC on 9/11, thousands of boats arrived to evacuate people from Manhattan. This was an aspect of 9/11 that I'd never thought about before--how the people got away. It was touching to read about captains responding to the Coast Guard's call for help and doing what they could, despite the debris and dust making it difficult to see, to help. The illustrations are awesome--I loved seeing the transition in the sky, from a beautiful blue to a d This is a moving account of how, after disaster struck in NYC on 9/11, thousands of boats arrived to evacuate people from Manhattan. This was an aspect of 9/11 that I'd never thought about before--how the people got away. It was touching to read about captains responding to the Coast Guard's call for help and doing what they could, despite the debris and dust making it difficult to see, to help. The illustrations are awesome--I loved seeing the transition in the sky, from a beautiful blue to a dusty, smokey gray. This book actually made me tear up a little. Really well done. I read a free copy through NetGalley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Earl

    September 11 is forever etched on my mind as a day of tragedy and horror. Most of us can remember what we were doing that day when we saw and heard about the attacks. How fear and sadness pervaded our lives. But we also saw a coming together like never before that gave us hope. This picture book focuses on a not so well known aspect of that day- the sea evacuations to ferry the victims to safer lands. It's a story I'm glad is being told. I didn't know about it. I'll definitely check out the docu September 11 is forever etched on my mind as a day of tragedy and horror. Most of us can remember what we were doing that day when we saw and heard about the attacks. How fear and sadness pervaded our lives. But we also saw a coming together like never before that gave us hope. This picture book focuses on a not so well known aspect of that day- the sea evacuations to ferry the victims to safer lands. It's a story I'm glad is being told. I didn't know about it. I'll definitely check out the documentary Boatlift.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This is the story of how 500,000 people were evacuated by water on September 11th. Most know the story of what happened on 9/11 but few will know about how the US Coast Guard along with many other boats helped so many people escape. I still remember that day, but I did not know about this. Great illustrations and the right amount of information.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Roberts

    Story does a pretty good job of describing the 9/11 disaster in simple terms for young readers while still focusing on the role of the boats in the evacuation of Manhattan. Very personal account. Well-illustrated in somber, realistic, age-appropriate style. Somewhat loose on factual information, but good backmatter.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Haunting evocative illustrations by Steve Moors and Julie Gassman's story of the boaters of all kinds who raced to help save people trying to flee lower Manhattan on 9/11. Gassman experienced it first hand and that can be seen in the striking details she uses. An inspiring story and well done for young readers, including those who may not know anything about that day. Haunting evocative illustrations by Steve Moors and Julie Gassman's story of the boaters of all kinds who raced to help save people trying to flee lower Manhattan on 9/11. Gassman experienced it first hand and that can be seen in the striking details she uses. An inspiring story and well done for young readers, including those who may not know anything about that day.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Tells the relatively unknown story of the rescue of 500,000 people from Manhattan on 9/11 by volunteer boaters. Well written text for young readers who may not know much or anything about that day. Haunting and evocative illustrations.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Love the start illustrations and moving text. So important to read about this part of that horrible day.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    As Mr. Rogers says, when bad things happen, look for the helpers. That's just what this book celebrates on the most tragic day in our nation's modern history. As Mr. Rogers says, when bad things happen, look for the helpers. That's just what this book celebrates on the most tragic day in our nation's modern history.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    Low reading level but very informational. It provides more perspectives of 9/11.

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