Dear Global Read Aloud Community, We Need to Talk #GRA19

Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud community, we need to talk.  Because while this week has been amazing to be a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been really hard for me.  I thought a letter might be nice in order to help whoever needs to hear this remember a few things….

This is all run by me, Pernille Ripp, one person, who has a full-time job as a 7th-grade teacher, as well as speaks, trains, and writes outside of that.  Who is the mother to four kids ten and under and the wife to Brandon.  Who cannot always email you back right away or get you approved the moment you ask.  I wish I could, but I can’t.

I am one person reading as many books as I possibly can, who every year tries to pick books that will speak to the experience of people around the world, not just the United States.  That tries to pick books that will spark deep conversations around hard topics that are age-appropriate but may need some unpacking from the adults reading them aloud.  I rely on others to nominate books as much as possible so that I can read widely, I rely on others to vote and let their voices be heard.  Many kids live in hard situations that some adults say are too hard to read about, even when they are written in delicate ways, and yet the world could use a lot more understanding and empathy.  The books that are chosen can be tools for building bridges; we can help kids understand the lives of others in many degrees, even if they don’t understand all of the nuances of something.

You should always read the books beforehand and select the one that will work for you, for your kids, and for your community.  While I have also loved discovering a book alongside students, I would highly discourage doing that with a book that you are investing many weeks into it.  What if it is not a good fit?  What if it doesn’t work for your purpose?  What if you need to prepare extra resources in order to unwrap something?

If you don’t like the book, no problem.  I try to select books that I love and that will start conversations.  Please do remember, though, that every time something is posted about how the books chosen are the wrong choices, how other choices would be better, how they won’t fit your needs, how this year is the year you quit the project, that I read those comments.  That they make their way into my feed and I sit there with a heavy heart reading every single one of them.  And I try really hard to make this work on a global scale.  I try really hard to make this project as easily accessible for all.  To make this work, but that I am only human and those comments hurt, even though I wish they didn’t but I am working on that.

The GRA is free.  I don’t make any money from it but instead spend my own money to send books to people who cannot get them otherwise, to keep the blog running, to pay for lawyers for trademarking and protecting the name.  I will never charge anyone to participate in the GRA.  The premise has always been that all you need is the one book to read aloud, not class sets, not fancy anything, just a book and a way to share it.  This is why I ask everyone to please not sell anything using the project or the people in it.  It goes against the spirit of everything it stands for, and when I ask you to please stop, please be gracious.  Telling me that you are disappointed that I don’t understand that you are just trying to make a living or other negative things does not change my mind, it only cements me asking you to stop further.

That I realize that this year I picked a start date that coincided with Rosh Hashanah and for that I am sorry.  I apologized publicly for it a little while ago but will gladly state it again; I am sorry, it was an oversight and I will do better.  As someone who does not live by any religious calendars, I am at times not clued into major holidays and celebrations, I try but sometimes I fail.  I also know that every year the start date will naturally collide with other holidays, school breaks, or crazy weather.  There simply is no great start date that works for the whole world.  The date I pick every year doesn’t ever work for my own students, we always start two weeks late but rather than push it further in the year, I keep the same and make it work.  Please make it work for you as well if you want, just don’t read ahead, or if you do, don’t spoil it.

That I wish this project could be everything you wanted it to be.  I try, the community tries, but sometimes it won’t work, and that’s ok too.  No need to announce your departure or slam the doors, just do what you need to do and know you will always be welcomed back.

I never set out to create a global project but it is what I have created.  I love this project like a fifth child, and this year in its tenth year, it still floors me that so many of you show up every year.  I am one person and so as one person I can only give you my deepest appreciation for the love you have shown this project and for the love you have shown me.  I hope this year’s project is amazing for you, I know I cannot wait to get started myself.

With all my best,

Pernille

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110 thoughts on “Dear Global Read Aloud Community, We Need to Talk #GRA19

  1. Alison says:

    I have to be honest. I cannot fathom someone complaining about this. Don’t do it if you don’t want to. This project is a labour of love end of story. I am eternally grateful and appreciative of all of the behind the scenes things that happen to bring GRA alIve. I will support you and this effort for as long as it exists. I will also happily share the burden of it if you wish to lighten your load. Thank you.

    • Ryan says:

      I’ve been participating for three years now and I absolutely love everything about it! Thank you for all you do for the GRA project!

      • Fiona says:

        Thank you for initiating GRA and sharing such inspiration through your choice of books. I am in awe of all you’ve done. I live in New Zealand and love the global approach that has allowed myself and my class to join in. I have learned so much from you and other participants and keep learning. 🙂

    • Joanne Maxwell says:

      Dear Pernille, Please read every kind and thankful word in these replies and tuck them away in your heart. Rid yourself of the complainers, the rude ones, the knock you down comments that hurt. Know that I am more thankful and appreciative that I can ever express The GRA has impacted my teaching and my learning more than anything I’ve ever done. I wish you knew how excited, on task, motivated and relevant the GRA is to each and every one of my students. As a fourth year participant, I’m here for the long haul! I wish your load was lightened and hope you reach out to others to help. From the bottom of my heart, thank for all that you are and all that you do!

      • Clare King says:

        I am sorry to hear some people are so negative. This is such a positive global project! Thank you for starting and continuing it! Sending strength and hugs from Sweden!
        Clare

    • Amanda F. says:

      Thank you for putting so much effort into this project. I look forward every year to GRA and continue to love the books that are chooses. Through this project it has inspired my teaching to be so much more then it was without GRA because I try and carry it through the year with great books that inspire deep discussion. You are greatly appreciated by so many. Thank you thank you thank you for all that you do!

    • Jennee says:

      I am sorry you feel you must apologize for the work you are doing. You have inspired a world of educators to join together and read. Its so basic and simlle that it is beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes we miss the point. Sometimes we forget Real Humans are behind these mindless screens. I hope you can feel the impact you have made. It’s a genious idea and its awesome how far it has come.

    • Jill Wolborsky says:

      I love the GRA! This is my 3rd year participating and it’s my favorite time of the year! I love being part of a big community reading the same books! I celebrate Rosh Hashanah and just started the day after. No big deal. We actually do our own relaxed schedule and it works. Thank you for creating this and just know you are doing something amazing!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      So. so true. I couldn’t agree more with what Alison posted.This is my first year of involvement, and I am shocked that you have had to endure feedback that would cause you to feel anything but appreciation and admiration. Participating in GRA was one of my “absolutes” in terms of goals for myself this year, and I value every second I put into thinking about, planning for it, and sharing it with the students. Thank you for all that you do, from the bottom of my heart. Naysayers are clearly missing the point.

      • Fran, School Librarian says:

        I am also shocked to hear that anyone would have complaints! Please remember that the majority of the participants truly appreciate the work that you do. You are an innovator! The GRA is fantastic on so many levels, and I am proud to be participating. Thank you!

    • Teri says:

      I have done the GRA with one of my classes every year for the past 3 years. Due to our district’s privacy laws, there is much I cannot do, but I have adapted and used much material from the generous postings of other teachers (and this year, Padma). As a teacher, I have so appreciated the effort you, Pernille, have put into connecting all of us. T I am so sorry that there are those who have vocalized negative things and complained. Please know that there are so many more of us teachers and students who benefit from the GRA. Thanks for all that you do!

    • Marianella Garza says:

      Dear Pernille,

      Your contribution to the educational community has been impactful! For every negative/immature/unprepared comment, there are 20 more that are making it work/being flexible/and just enjoying the project! I work very hard at being the best person/teacher/friend/and family member every day, yet I STILL get snarky or immature gossip spread about me.

      Thank you, for your time and your effort. I truly appreciate it

    • Susanne White says:

      I love love love this project , every year I look forward to the places it will take my little classroom in Maine. You have created a wonderful community – please don’t let any negativity get you down. Prtnille Ripp is a name my students know because I tell them every year whose super idea this was to connect us to all these amazing people. You and your efforts are appreciated.

      • Deborah Kaye says:

        It is unbelievable to me that anyone would have a reason to complain about this most beautiful and heartfelt project. I recently found out about it three years ago and love love love that it exists. I look forward to the books and can’t wait until they are picked so I can proof them for next year’s class. I get my non teacher friends to read them and talk with me about them in prep for the discussions I will have with my students. I spend my summers finding resources to enrich the teachings within the books, and I enjoy the learning that provides to me. The global sharing part is fascinating to my students. I am appreciative that in order to do this project justice, it forced me to become more computer savvy. I’m not always on par with the deadlines because, well because classroom life takes over, but we keep going. Last year’s book, Refugee, and the experience it provided for my students (and myself) is something I will never forget and truly cherish. I have students from last year who still come to me and want to talk about that book, one I might not have stumbled across without your dedication to this GRA project. Really, you are a hero…. impacting lives for the betterment of society. Those that complain don’t get it and should remove themselves from the project quietly ( less embarrassment to themselves) until they do get that the impact of being lucky enough to belong to this group is world changing…and it all started with a selfless idea from a busy mom/ teacher, just like us with a vision for something better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your time and energy on this. This is my first year, but has created connections and discussions that have been deeper then usual. Again as a 30 year veteran of this profession, I thank you for bringing back my joy in teaching and books.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have been teaching for 24 years and began the GRA last year and absolutely LOVE this initiative and deeply appreciate all your hard work. A truly magnificent accomplishment! Be proud.

  3. trish Hewitt says:

    Penelope, thanks for all you do! This is only my 3rd year involved in the GRA but it has been an amazing experience. It has exposed the children I have taught to truly rich reading experiences. Even books I was not sure about have been incredible. For any complaints you may receive, please know there are so many of us out there who are incredibly thankful for your enthusiasm, time, and talent. Thank you for enriching the learning experiences of my students.

  4. Lisa Terrall says:

    I think you have done something truly amazing and appreciate all of your time, devotion and passion for reading in general, and this project specifically. You inspire me to be a better teacher.

  5. Gail Groot Riddering says:

    I’m not sure my first post went through, so I’ll try again. Quite simply, thank you for all of your hard work! This is my 4th year participating and it’s awesome!

  6. Lindsay Clark says:

    Hello Pernille, I am so saddened by the heartbreak you have felt by other people slamming down on you and your project. I hope you are able to hear all the positive that you have brought to teachers, students and their community through your project. Know that deep, positive and empowering conversations and learning happens with the books and projects that come from GRA. From myself and my students, we thank you for all that you do and all that you have done to make this project so meaningful to us.

    Sincerely, Lindsay Clark Grade 2/3 Alpine P.S., Kitchener, Ontario

    On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:49 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud > community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be > a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the > stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re” >

  7. Erica Cox says:

    Thank you, Pernille, for all that you do and have done. This year’s middle grade book I know will be a challenge for me to teach. I read it this summer and I debated whether to participate this year. I’m glad I took up the challenge to push my students’ thinking and expose them to ideas I’m sure they and/or their families have thought about, but we don’t explicitly talk about enough in school. Thank you for exposing me to novels that start important conversations. Forever a fan.

  8. Laurie Stanley says:

    Thank you for all you do every year. You have made the difference in so many students lives because of the experience they have during GRA. I am grateful!

  9. Nance Helmig says:

    Pernille, I just read your recent letter with a heavy heart. It saddens me greatly that you have to write such a message. I have nothing but absolute respect for all that you do to encourage literacy for not only the students of the world, but their teachers. I am not usually a person to reach out like this, but the Global Read Aloud and the work you do with it, have changed my teaching for the better since I joined a year ago. The same is true of my colleagues, and students, who got on board when I shared with them this fantastic opportunity to truly connect and reflect on meaningful literature. I read somewhere that it takes 10 positive comments to help void a single negative comment, I am hoping this message will help eradicate any negative words that came your way!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    You are my idol! Please don’t let anyone bring you down. This project has been a platform for us for the past few years for us to do service learning and make a difference in this world. This all started with YOU! Thank you for your vision and dedication to GRA! Please keep going!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please know how many classrooms you have impacted in such a positive way over the years! Your dedication to education and children is inspiring! Keep the faith and know how MANY supporters you have around the world!

  11. Natalie Watterson says:

    Good Evening,

    I just received this email and in the midst of starting this exciting, amazing experience with my students, this has made my heart heavy. All I can say is “Thank you.” The fact that *anyone* would say anything but thank you, is beyond me. Last year I was the sole teacher in a school of 1100 students who participated in the GRA,. Somehow, even with all the complainers, our entire school is participating in the GRA this year. One hundred students LOVED *Refugee* last year, and 1,1000 students are loving *The Bridge Home* this year. I want to go on and on about the people who make you question your commitment to this project, but in my mind somehow that validates their concerns. In 15 years of teaching, this has been, and continues to be, the best thing I have experienced as a teacher because my students connect with the world. The GRA connects my small-town students to the world. Last year, we actually had google hangouts with 8 different COUNTRIES and 6 different states and we talked about the book! We had a google hangout with a syrian refugee who was brought to tears because my sixth grade students had even heard of Aleppo. Thank you. Thank you. I am sorry you feel anything but appreciated for this incredible opportunity for all of our students. You are amazing, and I am thankful I stumbled upon the GRA in a google search for SAMR activities.

    On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:48 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud > community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be > a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the > stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re” >

  12. Elizabeth Army says:

    Your post breaks my heart in so many ways.What you have done is amazing. You have not only united students from all over to discuss a novel, but the end result is that they see that children all over the world are alike in so many ways. Every year my students have been changed by this project. they beg to listen to the book being read. They beg to Skype, use padlet or send a letter to partner classes. You have brought together a group of educators who are willing to share resources and teach each other to use unfamiliar technology. We now have educator friends who are willing to try other projects throughout the school year with us. In my thirty years in the class room, it is the GRA that has impacted my classes and myself as an educator the most. Kudos to you, Pernille, for your vision and all your hard work!

  13. Therese Keegan says:

    This project is inspiring, motivating, and incredibly rewarding for everyone involved! I love having this lens (through books) to tackle difficult subjects and to share our thoughts, insights, and feelings with a global community. It is amazing! I wish I knew about the #GRA sooner! It’s only our second year, but I hope this project continues to grow and develop! Thank you!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I hope that the excitement, joy and engagement experienced by so many of the kids and teachers outweighs whatever negativity you encounter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t believe people would complain about anything with the GRA. I am sorry for the negativity and I cannot thank you enough for doing this. My kids, some who have been very quiet, have suddenly come to life because of this project. They are seeing themselves and hearing stories from each other and helping me with the Spanish not because I need them, to do so, but because I invited them. I am sorry to say this is my first try because it just didn’t work until this year. I wanted to give it the attention and time to do it right and every year I hoped. Finally new school and my schedule was right and I was able to get the books and find awesome partners and my kids are able to join the world. It is a daunting thing you do. But I am so happy you do. It Thank you! You are my hero. I hope you will continue-our kids need more champions like you. Thank you! I don’t know how you do all of what you do! But know that Many of us would help -just ask! We are here for you. We love the GRA.

  15. Krystal says:

    I stumbled upon the GRA just last year and so enjoyed reading new books to my students that I was not familiar with at the time. I started small and made one connection that blossomed into a year long pen pal exchange, but loved seeing all the posts. This year I was once again excited to share books I was not familiar with yet. My district offered a class to work on preparing for the GRA this year and it has been great to brainstorm with colleagues on how to best use the books in the classroom. As teachers, we often strive to make everyone happy, but it will never happen. It saddens me to hear fellow teachers are expressing negative thoughts about the GRA. Participation is voluntary. Personally I am grateful that you take the time to gather the books each year and organize the logistics of when it will happen. Again, not going to please everyone. I’m glad I am a part of the GRA again this year and do hope that you will continue to organize this amazing opportunity for students and teachers around the world! I thank you for your time and energy needed to organize this. You are amazing!

  16. libgal2 says:

    Dear Pernille,

    I just read your email and I want to tell you that I am very grateful for what you have done in creating this project. I do appreciate the time and care that you devote to the GRA. It is evident to me and also to my teachers. This year, only my 2nd GRA, I have the entire school, K-5, involved.

    I read the books prior to deciding which ones will be the best fit for my community of readers, I asked the teachers for their input and this year I approached our guidance counselor to participate in the discussion. Not because I was not going to do the books but because she would be able to offer suggestions of how to approach the “difficult” parts sensitively. By the way, she was so taken with the sample of The Bridge Home that I had her read, she came and sat in on the class during the read aloud and asked for a copy so that she could finish the book.

    Everyone has been positive and the kids are already abuzz about the stories and the characters. Many of my parents have expressed their excitement that their children are having this opportunity to get to know another culture through literature and to talk with other children.

    I can understand how disheartening it must be to read the negative comments, but please know that there are many like me out there who are cheering you on and truly see the value in what GRA is.

    I just wanted you to say Thank YOU!

    Gabriella

    Gabriella Miller, Librarian

    Keystone Technology Innovator

    Edgeworth Elementary School

    200 Meadow Lane

    Sewickley, PA 15143

    412.749.3638

    millerg@qvsd.org

    ________________________________

  17. Rana Holland says:

    I cannot even begin to thank you enough for this amazing project. This is my first year, and it has already exceeded my expectations. We are reading Front Desk. My students are so excited about the pen pals we have in a different country, whom we have just mailed our first introductory letters to. This was the first time most of my students had ever addressed an envelope, and when we walked to the mailbox and dropped them in, they were all fascinated! They are in grade 5 and had no idea how letters are sent! They are so engaged in the book that I can hardly get any reading done. They are initiating so many interesting discussions because the book is so rich! We are only in week one of the reading, and we have already done so many wonderful things as a class because of it! Next week we will begin our postcards, and I can’t wait for the day our first postcard arrives! I am sorry that people sometimes feel the need to be critical. These people are missing out on such an amazing opportunity for meaningful learning in their classrooms. I am truly grateful for all of the time and effort you have put into this project. I have been teaching for over twenty years, and have never done anything with my classes that even comes close to this project! From the bottom of my heart-thank you! Sincerely, Rana Holland

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  18. Jo Weir says:

    Kia Ora , You are amazing – I have loved the books you choose and am always excited to share them with my students. I have been both fully into the GRA and also (like this year) just on the outskirts – this is just because of the nature of our school year here in New Zealand – we are about to head into our final term before summer and have a lot of sporting commitments so I don’t want to sign up to share with classes overseas and then not be able to fulfil the commitment. I am super excited to start reading Front Desk with my year 5/6 students when we return to school in a weeks time and they will know that other classes are reading the same novel around the world. Thank you for all that you do. Kia Kaha (stay strong) from Aotearoa (New Zealand).

  19. Nichole Ruggles says:

    Pernille, people are simply combative. You are inspiring and your book choices are spot on. I have a sixth-grader who has already read The Bridge Home three times this year – that’s how much she loves it. Please remember that for every negative comment there are dozens of others who feel as you do about books/ reading/students/ teaching. I will continue to read, and support your work, and promote your book choices in my class. We need more people like you!

  20. Linda Kautzman says:

    This is the first year doing GRA and I am amazed and love it. Thank you for your energy, love, and commitment…. I hope to do it every year for years to come…but really, girl, get some help!
    I did not realize that you did not have a staff of people working on this endeavor.

  21. mona goodman says:

    You are an amazing, professional and passionate teacher. I can’t even imagine living in your shoes in terms of all the things you are involved in. I have participated in GRA for the past 4 years. Each year it has been a wonderful experience for my students allowing them opportunities to interact with other classes through hangouts, Padlet, Flip Grid, Kahoot, shared resources such as Hyper Docs. Thank you for everything you do! You ignite my passion for reading which then is passed on to my students

  22. Robin says:

    I love this project that you created ! It is amazing how much it has grown each year. Each year has been an amazing experience for my students. I have done it for the past four years and have loved every book for different reasons. I love that we have the choice of a variety of selections and that we can participate as big or as small as we choose. Thank you for all of your time and dedication!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I see so much collaboration and shared resources I had no idea it was run by one person. Hopefully, those that criticized will reflect on your letter.
    I admired that you asked us not to sell lessons. That’s what made it possible for many.

    Perhaps like those million dollar companies that started in basements you could reach out and have a group or committee to lighten the load?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I will echo what many have started above. There is a choice to do the GRA or not. We are adults and should act like one and be professional. The is such a wonderful opportunity for students. Thank you for all that you do.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for all you do. I have spread information on this project to as many people as I could because I love it so much. It’s the best experience I’ve had in teaching.

  26. Tracie Shepherd says:

    This is my 2nd year with GRA. I am a librarian in an elementary school. Last year I pushed this out to my 4th and 5th grades as a trial run, and also because I heard about it late in August. The teachers loved Amal and so did the students! This year I took the plunge and proposed it to the entire school and everyone bought in! Yay! Today I had a discussion with a 1st grade teacher who is whole heartedly embracing the picture books. We spoke about the negative comments. We both agreed that as professionals we should know our students and what they can handle. We should be able to discuss concerns with them with the idea that we are opening up their young minds to new ideas and we know how far to go. We also can make the decision not to read a book if it is going to cause distress, I also need to add that as librarian I purchased copies of the books for all my teachers to read over the summer in preparation. Some did and some didn’t but I impressed upon them the importance of knowing the content before sharing with their children. All have preread before the start date and are prepared. That is what professional do! Thank you Pernille for this wonderful experience. We are already looking forward to next year. I am sure you could call on any one of us to assist you if you needed. This is a huge undertaking and I marvel at your ability to do this. ❤

  27. cllsawyer says:

    It hurts my heart that you had to worry that post. Please know that there are so many more of us that love and appreciate all you do than there are those who are unhappy. This is my 2nd year with GRA and I love it! THANK YOU, for ALL you do!

  28. Melissa says:

    This project has brought new light, new ideas and new experiences for not only to our students but our staff! I’m so happy I have started this, and will continue to do so in years to come! Thank you for all of it!

  29. Emeliza Ciavarro says:

    Pernille, you are amazing. Block out the noise and bask in the amazing way you have positively affected so many people around the world. Sending you strength and power. With gratitude, Emeliza

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  30. Jessica West says:

    Thank you so much for organizing this entire project year after year. It’s a huge endeavor and it’s absolutely amazing. You are never going to be able to please everyone but I hope you know that you are making an impact and we appreciate everything you do! Please don’t quit!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  31. K Dias says:

    All I will say is that I just discovered this program last year and Refugee was one of the BEST novels I’ve ever done with a class. And that’s saying a lot when we’re talking about grade 7/8 students who don’t read unless I force them to!! I had boys actively searching out more books by Alan Gratz after we read your novel choice. So I thank you for an excellent unit and all of the time you’ve put in to this project. It is so appreciated 🙂

  32. Kasey Gupton says:

    Oh Pernille,
    I am saddened to hear of these reactions. I have been with you since year one and am so grateful for this program being I teach at a “global” school. All of my students and colleagues have loved every minute of GRA and have always been flexible and adjusted to times, dates and schedules, as a teacher so often has to do. . We MODIFY on a daily basis. Please know you are appreciated and loved for all of your work and efforts . We as humans are not perfect… yet we as teachers, are often held to higher standard than we can possibly live up to. Take heart dear friend, the world needs you and we send many comforting hugs to you and yours from Loveland Colorado ♥️

  33. Carmen Matsuura says:

    Aloha e Pernille,

    I am so sorry that you have had negative comments coming your way. You have created such a wonderful experience for students and teachers around the world (this is my third year) and while you did not intend for it to go global, I am so glad that it has.

    I wish I could help you forget the all of the negativity but I tend to dwell on everything myself…the good and the bad. I relive the bad without even having to reread a statement and so I try extra hard to relive the good things. I also save and enjoy repeatedly kind comments left in email, cards and observations. You amaze me with all that you do and I appreciate what you have given me and my students through this project. My counterpart and I are hooked…we just received our purple heathered t-shirts yesterday and last year our two class were able to skype with Elana. Not to mention, Bat, in last year’s book, “A Boy Called Bat” happened to describe my student very well. My second graders did not connect him to the character, but it gave us additional chances to discuss celebrating our differences.

    Mahalo (thank you) for sharing your feelings. I hope that the rude people will realize their ways and apologize. How dare they! Hang in there and know that you are appreciated by many.

    Me ke aloha,
    Carmen

    2nd grade teacher
    Kamehameha Schools Maui

    From: The Global Read Aloud
    Reply-To: The Global Read Aloud
    Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 3:46 PM
    To: Carmen Matsuura
    Subject: [EXTERNAL] [New post] Dear Global Read Aloud Community, We Need to Talk #GRA19

    CAUTION: This email is from an outside sender. Do not click on links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.

    Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re”

  34. Stephanie Shamblin says:

    I love this project! Please know that the majority of folks love it and appreciate your hard work!! There are always going to be negative people in life and that is their problem! People need to know their students and how to handle sensible topics… if needed!! My kids are loving it!! ❤️

  35. Brad says:

    The GRA has been an amazing experience for all of the classes I work with as a Teacher-Librarian. It has connected our classrooms to communities around the world. My students have learned about other cultures and I have made great professional connections in other countries. Thank you so much for bringing people together in a time where we seem to be driven apart. Thanks again.

  36. Gayle says:

    Thank you so much for creating this opportunity for us. I am working with 11 teachers reading four different books. Lots of great stories here. But, one third grade class reading Stella Diaz Has Something to Say has the best so far. The teacher has two Spanish speaking bilingual students. They told me that their teacher is counting on them to pronounce the Spanish words and translate them for her so she will “get them right.” Such pride in their faces. The other comment is from a boy in the same class. “This is exactly the kind of book I like to read.” Thank you, Pernille.

  37. Margaret McLaughlin says:

    Pernille: Thank you for your vision, your devotion, your hard work and for inspiring children around the world to connect, share and deepen their love of reading. This is a great gift and an incredible opportunity for everyone. Know that you are appreciated and never give up! 🙂
    Margaret

  38. hughtheteacher says:

    Pernille,

    I’ve been with you with this project for 8/10 years I believe… & 8 straight. I love it & every teacher I’ve connected with in this project loves it too. My classroom has visited places all over the world, met some wonderful friends, & we discovered this awesomeness through the love of a great book we were reading at the same time as other classes.

    You helped invigorate my love of reading & in turn the love of reading in every student I taught & students in classroom we’ve connected with through this project. Whatever path you choose know that your efforts to help find quality books around important topics is truly appreciated & has positively impacted an infinite amount of people. I can’t thank you enough. This project and the why behind it is inspiring & I believe encompasses all that is good in learning & teaching.

    Thank you!

  39. Sam Beetge says:

    Pernille, please know that for me the GRA is the highlight of my year. I cannot express efficiently enough the benefits it brings to my classroom. So I say thank you, thank you, thank you. You are appreciated!

  40. Corrie Kemp says:

    I am sorry for any hurt you have received. As a working mother to five, I can relate to the workload but I am in complete awe that you manage this whole project independently. There are not enough words to say how utterly impressed I am with all that you are doing, and doing well. Thank you for sacrificing time to make a difference in the world. It is a great, big difference that you are making. I could go on and on about how wonderful this project is and how beautifully challenging the book choices are. I think you must know the value of the work you are doing or you wouldn’t be doing it so I simply want to say that what you are doing is noticed and appreciated.

    God bless, *Corrie Kemp* Media Coordinator, Hertford Grammar School 252-426-7166 | ckemp@pqschools.org | 603 Dobbs St. Hertford NC 27944 [image: Picture][image: Picture]

    On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:45 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud > community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be > a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the > stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re” >

  41. Desaulniers, Kristi D says:

    Hello, Ms. Ripp,

    Thank you for such an honest, well-crafted e-mail, but I am sorry that you had to write it due to the negativity that has come across to your incredible project. You are one in a million – one LEADING a million – and that is no small undertaking.

    My school and students with to sincerely thank you for all you offer and do and so clearly state that we can participate to the degree we wish to be involved. We’ve had rich discussions from “The Bridge Home” and our mid-western students are gaining a more global perspective and appreciation for all that we have – and don’t have – due to the diverse literature that you bring to classrooms all around the globe.

    I wish you rest, I thank you, and please know there are MANY, MANY people on this planet that are better global citizens because of you.

    Thank you again!!!

    Thank you.

    Kristi Desaulniers – Grade 4
    Legacy Elementary
    Tea Area School District
    Tea, South Dakota

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t gather people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
    ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

    Note: This e-mail and any attachments may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this e-mail and any attachments is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately by returning it to the sender and deleting it from your computer system. Thank you for your cooperation.

  42. Darshell Silva says:

    I want to thank you for all you do! You have provided so much for so many students and educators. Don’t ever let anyone try to take away your shine. And SHINE you do! If someone doesn’t want to participate, then it’s their loss. Concentrate on doing what you can and want to do. There are many many of us that appreciate it more than you could ever know! Sending positive energy for you to ignore the haters and complainers 💜 .

  43. Carla says:

    This is an amazing gift you have given so many students teachers around our global…truly a global gift! You are an inspiration. YOU are a gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Poor planning on the part of others does not and should not fall on you. Thank you again for all that you do!

  44. Sarah Dale Sabens says:

    Just remember, Pernille, that you can never please everyone. And there are some people whom you will NEVER please. And those are the very people who will never expend the energy to organize a wonderful project like the GRA. I think I am correct in saying that most of us absolutely LOVE the project, and so please know how much we appreciate the work you do on our behalf and, more importantly, on our students’ behalf. My seventh graders love the GRA, and we think you have chosen awesome books. Thank you from the bottom of our book-loving hearts.
    Sarah Sabens
    Clinton Prairie Jr-Sr High School
    Frankfort, Indiana

  45. Laura Guzman says:

    Dear Pernille,
    I feel so sad for you right now, and I guess I just hope you know how much this program means to almost everyone. No one person can ever please everyone unfortunately. Please know, however, that what you are doing matters so much to students and teachers alike. I do not know how you could have chosen better books, authors or teaching materials, This is my first year doing this program, and I already want to do it again next year, With that said, you need not be an island. If there is anything teachers can do to help (for free) I’m sure many of us would gladly step up to the plate and help you. YOU are a good person. Your motives are pure. Word!
    I am sending you the world’s largest hug right now. You deserve it.
    Laura Guzman, NBCT
    7th Grade ELA
    Glen Ellyn, IL

  46. diggers27 says:

    Dear Pernille

    I have followed your teaching blog for years! I only joined in the GRA for the first time last year and am now a devotee 🙂

    I always read two or three of the books you suggest before I make my decision for my students … that is my responsibility, not yours! I love that you choose books that challenge our thinking and give us opportunities to expand our students’ horizons. I do think teachers’ confidence in their own abilities to guide children through issues and in the children’s ability to cope with interesting/challenging texts has been eroded by many elements including Administrators (I am also a Principal) and parents mollycoddling children. I agree with a previous comment that children only take in what is relevant to them at the time.

    We need to build relationships with our students that allow them to explore challenging ideas and issues in a safe place. I wonder if those criticizing the choice of books are as fussy about the Internet browsing their students do?

    Due to school holidays in Australia we always miss the official first week of GRA … don’t panic! I just do what good teachers do and adapt to make it work. I confess last year we read the first week before our holidays and my students made a pact not to reveal any spoilers online until we returned to school in week 2 of GRA. This year we have decided to wait until after our holidays and we will catch up two weeks of reading starting on Monday 7th October. It NEVER occurred to me or my students to slam you for not choosing a date that suited us.

    I also think that teachers have come to this project by so many different avenues (word of mouth, social media, …) that maybe they just needed to be reminded that this was started by one amazing person, with one brilliant idea to connect the world. Well done to you for dreaming it and making it happen!! How we participate is up to us … you just provide the spark.

    I am interested to know (and I will be looking back through the GRA site in a minute) if you set a theme each year? I know you ask for ideas/nominations and I feel that is an area where the GRA community can help to lighten the load and I would like to try to be more active in suggesting books in the future.

    Keep up the good work 🙂 Even the battle weary long timers (I’ve been teaching for almost 30 years) need people like you to keep us fresh, inspire and challenge us.

    Thank you
    Helen Digby
    Principal
    Nullawil Primary School
    Victoria
    Australia

  47. Lisa Hudik says:

    I am so sorry that your efforts have been brought down by negative comments and thoughts. My mother always told me if you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all! I think many people hide behind their screens and say vitriolic things that they wouldn’t in person. I stumbled upon the Global Read Aloud last year and although I was unable to find time for my science classes to participate in it, I have continued to follow along and join again this year in the hopes that if we are given an advisory period, I will be able to use this heartfelt project in it! Thank you for your time, hard work and passion–with 4 small children, your energy is inspiring!

  48. Kitty says:

    Dear Pernille,
    Don’t you ever let these naysayers stop you from the gift you give to all of us. You have reignited teachers love for teaching reading, students can’t wait to get to the next chapter, but singlehandedly you have helped us up our game and enabled us to connect to the world. About books! My principal already knows when GRA begins, I’m coming out of our textbook and teaching curriculum through whatever book you select.
    I’m late to the party this year because we’re not finished with our current novel. But I’m not worried,I know connections will be there when we jump in.
    We are all so proud of you and thankful that you have started this global network. Whenever I hear former students ask my kids what are you reading this year for GRA, and then add -“You gotta Read Refugee or Long Walk to a Water”, I whisper a silent -thanks Pernille.

    Thank you from my kids and I,
    Kitty Merk

  49. lisa momblanco says:

    I am also sorry and shocked you have had any negative feedback. I take all you offer and love it all! I appreciate all you do, all your time, all your efforts, all your work! I hope you hear that more than you hear the opposite.

    Please don’t let the negative sway you and your purpose even though it is hard!

    You have created something quite amazing!

  50. Vickie says:

    I could not read such a heart felt letter and not reply! I am sending hugs of appreciation and echo all the wonderful and positive comments above! I hope the gratitude everyone is expressing helps heal your heart.

  51. Geraly Westervelt says:

    Pernille, You have brought so much good into my life, my library and to my students. Your book recommendations have always been a great resource and I admire the tireless energy you put toward promoting literacy. Although I have participated in GRA in the past, I chose not to do it in my library this year because I read, and did not love, the choice for the grade level I was going to have participate. That’s okay! I did, however, recommend some of my classroom teachers participate and I guided them toward the books I thought would best suit their students. We are so lucky that we have choices and we are so lucky to have YOU as a literacy leader who works so hard on our behalf. Thank you!

  52. Cathy Okeefe says:

    It saddens me that there has apparently been negativity about GRA. This is my 6th year doing GRA, and it is always the highlight of my teaching year. My students feel the same. I am beyond grateful to you, Pernille, and to my teacher friend, Kathy Iwanicki, who brought this incredible project to my attention. I cannot even begin to imagine the work you continually put into this so that we and our students can have this experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  53. Rebecca Marsick says:

    Pernille,
    Thank you for the time and effort you put into the GRA every year. Please do not let any of the negative comments affect the great work you do. Everyone can choose what they would like or not like to participate in. And they should be doing it silently as we all have different constraints that don’t affect one another. I am sorry that you ever feel a heavy heart about any of this. I don’t know how you do it all, but I hope that you will continue to do so.

  54. Malcolm McGuire says:

    Pernille,

    I don’t know you. I don’t read all of your blogs. I don’t follow your every word. However, I am a 6th grade reading teacher who wants nothing more than to ignite and cultivate the POWER of reading in my students. You have given me an incredible tool through the GRA. As with anything I do in my room, I take what works and is doable, and I leave the rest behind. Everyone should do that.

    I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for what you’ve done with this project and what you are doing in the bigger picture for children.

    Thank you!

  55. Melissa Harrell says:

    Wow! I appreciate the love and passion you put into this project. If a type pf gofundme was started I would gladly donate to this cause. This is my first year and I am so excited about the project. Thanks for all the love, sweat and passion you put in to this, so the love of a good story stays alive.
    Melissa

  56. Christine says:

    I love what you have created, thank you. I am sorry you have been criticized for all the love, time, and effort you have poured into this world. I hope my note lets you know there are teachers who are so appreciated for what you have created. This is my third year participating and I have changed my reading classroom through you! This program is amazing, keep pushing, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  57. Marie Ziller says:

    This is year 4 for me and I absolutely look forward to it every year! My kids also learn so much and love the connections we make. It hurts my heart that you have to deal with this type of negativity and please don’t let them bring you down. This is an amazing project you have created and everyone has a choice to either participate or not and figure out how to make it work. One year i connected with teachers in New Zealand and my class started when they did-not a big deal because we worked together!

  58. Aimee Pischea says:

    Terrible that you felt compelled to use your precious time to write that explanation. Don’t be shy with the SCROLL feature when negativity rears its ugly head. You are AWESOME.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Dear Pernille – I am so sorry that you even had to write this letter. I truly love your passion for education and building connections. It saddens me to know that anyone would complain. If it doesn’t work for you then simply don’t participate. I understand your frustrations, but hope you will be able to continue this absolutely amazing project. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  60. Ann Buehl says:

    Hi Pernille,

    You do a wonderful job. I appreciate all that you do. Thanks, Ann

    On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 8:45 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud > community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be > a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the > stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re” >

  61. Jennifer Reyes says:

    Pernille, your effort with this project does not go unnoticed by the staff and students here in Darien, IL. We love your concept and have made it work for us in our own way with your guidance and support. That’s the beauty of being a teacher. Thank you for sharing your inside thoughts. It saddens me that people can be so hurtful in situations, and I can only hope that your words will get through to them. Hang in there. We’re behind you. 🙂

  62. mshofersclass says:

    Dear Pernille, I am new to the GRA and I love it and your efforts, even after just 5 short days. Please know that for every person who feels the need to post negative comments (for whatever reason they use as justification), there are so many more people who are thrilled by your efforts and so pleased that you made the big step to start and share this special project. As Margaret Atwood so eloquently wrote (ha ha): nolite te bastardes carborundorum. A little humour to put a smile on your face, I hope. 🙂

  63. Suter, Stephanie says:

    Dear Pernille, I am heartbroken that you have had any negative reactions to your amazing work. Please know it is recognized, appreciated and loved by more people than you know. I am a 4th-grade teacher in Southold, NY. and this is a highlight in our year. It has been an amazing experience for both the students and the teachers. Please keep shining! Thank you.. Stephanie Suter

    On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:45 PM The Global Read Aloud wrote:

    > Pernille Ripp posted: “Dear amazing, incredible Global Read Aloud > community, we need to talk. Because while this week has been amazing to be > a witness to; the connections, the sharing, the love for the books and the > stories that connect us all, it has behind the scenes been re” >

  64. Christine Shepherd says:

    Thank you for all you do! I am sorry that there are so many negative comments. We are all professionals and need to make the best choices for our own situation. I did pre-read 3 of the books this summer and while I enjoyed them all. I decided that one of them would not be appropriate to share with my audience, that ironically was the book I enjoyed the most.

  65. chanilichtiger says:

    Thank you for reaching out. We have been participating in the GRA for a number of years now. We learned about it at an ISTE conference and have loved participating every year. Our Prek – grade 5 are participating. We appreciate all the hard work you put into it and feel lucky to be able to join this amazing event and experience. We were looking forward to the topic this year , as our Jewish heritage can be compared and contrasted to your theme of diversity with our students We are excited to learn about other cultures and communities. We are hoping that maybe one year you might consider Jewish heritage as a GRA choice. We were surprised that the date lined up with our holidays, but we are doing our best to work with our cohort schools to make it work. It can be a challenge but feel it is most worthwhile and an incredible experience for our students and staff. Thank you for all your time, effort and commitment to making this GRA experience come to fruition. With much gratitude, Chani Lichtiger Yavneh Academy Paramus New Jersey

    Chani Lichtiger Director of Technology

    >

  66. Annemarie L. Durkin says:

    I love what you do!
    I am sorry that those who the GRA does not work for never learned…if you don’t have anything to say- don’t say anything.
    Thank you for helping me find diverse books!
    I look forward to hearing you speak in Virginia Beach on the 26th!

    Annemarie Durkin
    Library Media Specialist
    Thoroughgood Elementary
    @DurkinClass

    (757)648-3920

    http://www.thoroughgoodes.vbschools.com/

    Put Students First. Seek Growth. Be Open to Change. Do Great Work Together. Value Differences

    ________________________________

  67. Dawn says:

    Thank you for all you have done and continue to do with the Global Read Aloud. This is my first year participating and it seems like the best form of teacher collaboration! Un gros merci from my students and me!

  68. Steph C says:

    Thank you for all you do, Pernille! I have loved all of the book choices and will continue to be a GRA supporter! I’m so sorry that you don’t feel as appreciated as you should! My students and I are loving GRA again this year. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. Badger Reader 9 says:

    Yes! Thank you for EVERYTHING YOU DO and all the hard work and time you spend on the GRA. I started to think about whether or not I made the right decision with my book choice for this years GRA, but then I remembered something you had said before about voices in our books for our students to relate to. My book choice is the right book for so many reasons, and if it touches tough topics we have built a community of learning that is safe and accepting. You rock and you are so greatly appreciated by many! As Viji in The Bridge Home has talked about the bruised fruit and cutting it away…. those haters are the bruises- cut them away, but keep the sweetness of the fruit and let it overpower the ugly bruising. 🙂

  70. Sarah says:

    I am honored to be a part of this community. What you have done is to bring people together and you have given us a chance to globally collaborate and to give our students a chance to see that people across the globe can have a similar experience with a book. That makes the world a smaller place and a place where students can have important conversations. Thank you for doing this and continuing.

  71. Mary says:

    Keep doing what you are doing! Please don’t let other people change your commitment to this wonderful project. Some people get tunnel vision about their own struggles and forget that others are doing the best they can. You have been patient and kind. Please understand that so many of us quietly appreciate all that you are doing. We might not take the time to let you know, though.

  72. Sarah Milleville says:

    Hi Pernille, This is my first year doing the GRA and my students are loving it!! I am also proud to tell the students that a fellow educator from Wisconsin started it all. Thank you for your amazing work.

  73. Michelle HK says:

    Don’t let the negative ninnies get in the way of the beautiful work you do! You are admired and appreciated by many. So many see your value and the importance of the work you do for children and adults. Some people selfish and entitled. MOST are not – and these are your people. Embrace them and leave the others to each other!

  74. Sophie Blavet says:

    You are truly amazing! I am so happy I joined this incredible initiative. I am the first school in Italy to do, it and we are so proud to connect with people all over the world. Thank you again. I am Jewish too , and please do not worry about it. It is all about literature, enjoying books, sharing information and connection. Bravo and keep going! A BIG THANK YOU AND BRAVO!

  75. Dina A. Crowe says:

    Pernille, you are awesome. Anyone who says otherwise needs to exit, stage left! You don’t need that negative energy in your life while you are spreading so much good in the world. I love the program and if I didn’t, I would just stop participating. Honestly, who criticises like that? Goodness. Not worth your time or energy, special lady!

  76. Anonymous says:

    You are amazing! Thank you for all you do, Pernille. I’m so grateful as an educator and so are my students. So grateful. Thank you.

  77. lisamnoble says:

    Dear wonderful, beautiful human:
    This letter made me weep. The GRA brings so much to my students, to my professional learning network, to me. It is such a gift – as you are. I cannot wrap my head around how much work it is, and how you continue to make it work. Please know how appreciated you are.

    There are always, always going to be people who are looking for a quick solution – for a cookie cutter project, for something they can just whip out and do. I realize every year that I need to do more unpacking for my kids as we go, and so I do. I always do some talking at the beginning about their being some tough content, and that this isn’t going to be easy for us – that I will be challenged reading some of it to them. We build bridges, we build trust, we build community – that is what this is all about.

    I learn so much from you. Please hold your precious people close, do your darndest to let the negativity roll off, and know you are so very much more than enough.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Pernille….You are an inspiration to me and amazing to have created this project! I have and still learn so much from you, your book Passionate Readers, and from doing the Global Read aloud! I have not signed up this year due to new curriculum and regret it already! 😦
    I am actually going to try to fit it in starting next week. I applaud you for all you do to keep things going, and keep it fresh for all of us! You are probably the most inspirational teacher I have ever looked up to in such a powerful way. Thank you for all you do every day for our students! By the way I celebrate Rosh Hashanah and had no problem with the fact that it overlapped with the Global Read Aloud….people have to be flexible in this field! Just saying!!!
    🙏🏻😊

  79. Michelle Mangan says:

    Pernille,
    You are an inspiration! Our PTO sponsors books for our entire 600-student elementary school & this is our fourth year participating in the GRA. I am sending you all my love and gratitude for the amazing work you have done to create this. It makes a difference. We were happy to see that the books chosen this year coincided with our celebration of Hispanic heritage.
    Keep up the hard work!
    Your admirer in Oak Park, Illinois,
    Michelle Mangan, Longfellow PTO Co-President

  80. Belinda says:

    Thank you for your compassion, passion, and honesty. Thank you for writing me off the ledge last night when my heart hurt so much for some of my kids, that I questioned for the first time in twenty years, why I chose this terribly hard job of teaching. Reading your “I am Reminded” blog helped me feel less alone in my beginning of the year feelings. Thank you for being you and sharing your talents. You are amazing and should be celebrated for your tireless work not only for your kids but for kids around the world. Thank you!!

  81. Wendy White says:

    I want to say THANK YOU for everything you do to keep this going. I absolutely love the GRA and how it works in my classroom. I change grades, sometimes every year, but one thing that goes with me is joining the DRA. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Roz in The Wild Robot. I was skeptical when first starting to read the book. But, my kids could relate to Roz and begged me to get The Wild Robot Escapes as soon as it came out. It was released over our spring break. The kids had their parents email/text me to make sure I remembered to get it so we could read it as soon as we got back from break. Well, that group of kids are now 8th graders and I have the pleasure of having them back. The very first week of school, many of them asked me what book was I going to read to them this year. Because of the GRA, 28 wonderful kids, that wouldn’t otherwise have had books read to them, absolutely LOVE being read to and sit quietly and listen for however much time we have to use. I also started reading for the first 5-10 to both of my 7th grade classes. I use it to get them quiet and ready to listen and learn. They love being red to also. They used to waste so much time talking and taking forever to get ready for class. Now, I give them 1 minute and I start reading, softly. It took about 3 days for them to figure it out. Now, they are ready in less than a minute and sit quietly waiting for me to start reading.
    So again, THANK YOU, for all that you do…. It does make a difference….

  82. Jacinda says:

    Being a teacher in New Zealand and having some students who participated last year when I announced we were going to do again , a cheer went out in the class. I feel so lucky and privileged to be part of the GRA as my students live geographically so far away from most of you. We had a psychologist who came to do a survey and most of the students feel worried about their and the world’s future. The single most successful action was to get on Flipgrid and get postcards as the world suddenly is full of smiling faces and people wanting a better place just like they do. Their faces were appalled at what happened in the story to make the girls leave their home in ‘The Bridge Home’ and so it should. Fiction makes it ok to think and be different and try new thoughts in a non-threatening place. Many thanks Pernille.

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