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The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

November 2020 Adult List

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  1. Little Cruelties
    by Liz Nugent
    Simon & Schuster
    Nov 24, 2020
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    Hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author A.J. Finn as “a dark jewel of a novel,” Liz Nugent’s new work of fiction follows three Irish brothers, and delves into the many ways families can wreak emotional havoc across generations.

    All three of the Drumm brothers were at the funeral.
    Only one of us was in the coffin.

    William, Brian, and Luke: three boys bound by blood but split by fate, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do...yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games—those little cruelties—grow more sinister, more merciless, more dangerous. And with their lives entwined like the strands of a noose, only two of the brothers will survive.

    Crisply written and quickly paced, perfect for readers of both sophisticated literary fiction and breathtaking suspense, Little Cruelties gazes unflinchingly into the darkness: the darkness collecting in the corners of childhood homes, hiding beneath marriage beds, clasped in the palms of two brothers shaking hands. And it confirms Liz Nugent, whose novels have been celebrated as “captivating” (People) and “highly entertaining” (The Washington Post), as one of the most exciting, perceptive voices in contemporary fiction.
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  2. Ready Player Two
    by Ernest Cline
    Ballantine Books
    Nov 24, 2020
    FICTION / Science Fiction / Action & Adventure
    Hardcover

    Description

    The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.

    AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY?

    Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything.

    Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous—and addictive—than even Wade dreamed possible.

    With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest—a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize.

    And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants.

    Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

    Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
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  3. Joni Mitchell Backstage Pass
    by Michael A O'Neill 'Canada'
    Danann Books
    Dec 11, 2020
    MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Folk & Traditional
    Hardcover

    Description

    One of the most important female recording artist of the last 50 years Joni Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and throughout western Canada, before busking in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario. In 1965, she moved to the United States and began touring. Settling in Southern California, Mitchell, with popular songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock”, helped define an era and a generation. Mitchell’s fifth album, For the Roses, was released in 1972. She then switched labels and began exploring more jazz-influenced melodic ideas, by way of lush pop textures, on 1974’s Court and Spark, which featured the radio hits “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris” and became her best-selling album. Mitchell is the sole producer credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s. A blunt critic of the music industry, she quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. With roots in visual art, Mitchell has designed most of her own album covers. She describes herself as a “painter derailed by circumstance”.
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  4. Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything
    by Kristin Bair
    Alcove Press
    Nov 10, 2020
    FICTION / Women
    Paperback

    Description

    A quirky, nervous wreck of a New England mom is forced to face her many fears in this touching, irresistible novel from author Kristin Bair.

    Agatha Arch's life shatters when she discovers her husband in their backyard shed, in flagrante delicto, giving the local dog walker some heavy petting. Suddenly, Agatha finds herself face to face with everything that frightens her...and that's a loooooong list.

    Agatha keeps those she loves close. Everyone else, she keeps as far away as possible. So she's a mystery to nearly everyone in her New England town. To her husband, she's a saucy, no-B.S. writer. To her Facebook Moms group, she's a provocateur. To her neighbor, she's a standoffish pain in the butt. To her sons, she's chocolate pudding with marshmallows. And to her shrink, she's a bundle of nerves on the brink of a cataclysmic implosion.

    Defying her abundant assortment of anxieties, Agatha dons her "spy pants"--a pair of khakis whose many pockets she crams with binoculars, fishing line, scissors, flashlight, a Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD, candy, and other espionage essentials--and sets out to spy on her husband and the dog walker. Along the way, she finds another intriguing target to follow: a mysterious young woman who's panhandling on the busiest street in town.

    It's all a bit much for timorous Agatha. But with the help of her Bear Grylls bobblehead, a trio of goats, and a dog named Balderdash, Agatha may just find the courage to build a better life.

    "Fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will love this clever romp."
    --Publishers Weekly, starred review
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  5. The Kingdom
    by Jo Nesbo
    Random House Canada
    Nov 10, 2020
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    Jo Nesbo, author of the bestselling Harry Hole crime series, is back with a vivid psychological thriller about the bond between orphaned brothers. How far would you go to be your brother's keeper?

    Before Roy's father died in the car crash that also killed Roy's mother, he told his teenaged son that it was his job to protect his little brother, Carl, from the world and from Carl's own impulsive nature. Roy took that job seriously, especially after the two were orphaned. But a small part of him was happy when Carl decided that the tiny town of Os in the mountains of Norway wasn't big enough to hold him and took off to Canada to make his fortune. Which left Roy to pursue the quiet life he loved as a mechanic in the place where they grew up.

    Then suddenly an older Carl is back, full of big plans to develop a resort hotel on the family land, promising that not only will the brothers strike it rich, but so will the town. With him is his fierce and beautiful wife, Shannon, an architect he met on his travels, a woman who soon breaks down the lonely Roy's walls. And Carl's reappearance sparks something even more dangerous than envy in his brother's heart--it sparks fear. Carl's homecoming threatens to shake loose every carefully buried family secret.

    As psychologically acute as it is disturbing, with plot twists you never see coming, Jo Nesbo's new novel is the work of a master of noir at the top of his game.
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  6. Dearly
    by Margaret Atwood 'Canada'
    McClelland & Stewart
    Nov 10, 2020
    POETRY / Women Authors
    Hardcover

    Description

    The collection of a lifetime from the bestselling novelist and poet.

    By turns moving, playful and wise, the poems gathered in Dearly are about absences and endings, ageing and retrospection, but also about gifts and renewals. They explore bodies and minds in transition, as well as the everyday objects and rituals that embed us in the present. Werewolves, sirens and dreams make their appearance, as do various forms of animal life and fragments of our damaged environment.

    Before she became one of the world's most important and loved novelists, Atwood was a poet. Dearly is her first collection in over a decade. It brings together many of her most recognizable and celebrated themes, but distilled - from minutely perfect descriptions of the natural world to startlingly witty encounters with aliens, from pressing political issues to myth and legend. It is a pure Atwood delight, and long-term readers and new fans alike will treasure its insight, empathy and humour.
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  7. This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing
    by Jacqueline Winspear
    Soho Press
    Nov 10, 2020
    BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Jacqueline Winspear has created a memoir of her English childhood that is every bit as engaging as her Maisie Dobbs novels, just as rich in character and detail, history and humanity. Her writing is lovely, elegant and welcoming.”—Anne Lamott

    The New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs series offers a deeply personal memoir of her family’s resilience in the face of war and privation.


    After sixteen novels, Jacqueline Winspear has taken the bold step of turning to memoir, revealing the hardships and joys of her family history. Both shockingly frank and deftly restrained, her story tackles the difficult, poignant, and fascinating family accounts of her paternal grandfather’s shellshock; her mother’s evacuation from London during the Blitz; her soft-spoken animal-loving father’s torturous assignment to an explosives team during WWII; her parents’ years living with Romany Gypsies; and Winspear’s own childhood picking hops and fruit on farms in rural Kent, capturing her ties to the land and her dream of being a writer at its very inception.

    An eye-opening and heartfelt portrayal of a post-War England we rarely see, This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing chronicles a childhood in the English countryside, of working class indomitability and family secrets, of artistic inspiration and the price of memory.
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  8. Extraordinary Canadians
    by Peter Mansbridge 'Canada'
    Simon & Schuster
    Nov 10, 2020
    BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
    Hardcover

    Description

    From Peter Mansbridge, the beloved former anchor of CBC’s The National, and Mark Bulgutch, former CBC producer, comes a collection of first-person stories about remarkable Canadians who embody the values of our great nation—kindness, compassion, courage, and freedom—and inspire us to do the same.

    In this timely and heartwarming volume of personal stories, Peter Mansbridge and former CBC producer Mark Bulgutch bring together inspiring Canadians from across the country, who in their own way, are making Canada a better place for all.

    Hear Gitxsan activist Cindy Blackstock describe her childhood in northern British Columbia where she straddled two communities—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—and her subsequent fight for equitable health care for all children as the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Meet Matt Devlin, the US broadcaster who found a new home in Canada when he got a job with the Toronto Raptors, and read how he helped calm the crowd when a gunman began shooting in Nathan Phillips Square after the team’s NBA championship win. From the young woman living with Crohn’s disease—and proudly modeling her ostomy bag—to the rabbi whose family fled Nazi Germany—and who now gives the benediction on Parliament Hill each Remembrance Day—Extraordinary Canadians celebrates the people who have overcome adversity and broken down barriers to champion the rights and freedoms of everyone who calls Canada home.

    Featuring voices from all walks of life—advocates, politicians, doctors, veterans, immigrants, business leaders, and more—this collection gets to the heart of what it means to be Canadian. These stories will change the way you see your country and make you fall in love with Canada all over again.
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  9. The Fires of Vengeance
    by Evan Winter
    Orbit
    Nov 10, 2020
    FICTION / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
    Hardcover

    Description

    In order to reclaim her throne and save her people, an ousted queen must join forces with a young warrior in the second book of this"relentlessly gripping, brilliant" epic fantasy series from a breakout author (James Islington).

    Tau and his Queen, desperate to delay the impending attack on the capital by the indigenous people of Xidda, craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the Queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the 'true' Queen of the Omehi.

    If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne, and if she can reunite her people then the Omehi have a chance to survive the onslaught.

    The Burning
    The Rage of Dragons
    The Fires of Vengeance
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  10. A Galway Epiphany
    by Ken Bruen
    Mysterious Press
    Nov 13, 2020
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
    Hardcover

    Description

    In the newest novel in Bruen’s thrilling series, ex-cop turned private eye Jack Taylor is pulled out of his quiet new life on a farm by three mysteries that soon prove dangerously linked

    Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.

    When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt.

    But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal.

    Sharp and sardonic as ever, “the Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel” (Irish Independent) is at his brutal and ceaselessly suspenseful best inA Galway Epiphany.

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October & November 2020 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. 3 2 1 Awesome!
    by Eva Chen
    Feiwel & Friends
    Oct 06, 2020
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Concepts / Counting & Numbers
    Board book

    Description

    Instagram superstar andNew York Timesbestselling author ofJuno Valentine and the Magical Shoes Eva Chen shines a spotlight on 20 amazing women—including Megan Rapinoe, Sonia Sotomayor, Shirley Chisholm, Greta Thunberg and more!—in3 2 1 Awesome! a sassy and fun counting board book, perfect for the youngest of budding feminists.

    Why stick to counting on fingers and toes when you can count:

    3straight sets for Billie Jean King's historic win...

    2groundbreaking suffragettes named Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton...

    1singular, sensational YOU!

    With Derek Desierto's bold and vibrant art, Eva fans and readers of all ages will be transported through "herstory."

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  2. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily
    by Rachel Cohn
    Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Nov 03, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance / General
    Lexile measure 780L
    Paperback

    Description

    For Dash and Lily, it's beginning to look a lot like...distance! Just in time for the series release of Dash & Lily on Netflix comes a new helping of love--this time across the pond as best-selling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan send Dash and Lily to England.

    Dash and Lily were feeling closer than ever...it's just too bad they're now an ocean apart. After Dash gets accepted to Oxford University and Lily stays in New York to take care of her dogwalking business, the devoted couple are struggling to make a long distance relationship work. And when Dash breaks the news that he won't be coming home for Christmas, Lily makes a decision: if Dash can't come to her, she'll join him in London. It's a perfect romantic gesture...that spins out of Lily's control. Soon Dash and Lily are feeling more of a gap between them, even though they're in the same city. Will London bring them together again--or will it be their undoing?
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  3. The Enigma Game
    by Elizabeth Wein
    Penguin Teen
    Nov 03, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Historical / Military & Wars
    Lexile measure 820L
    Paperback

    Description

    A stunning new historical novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Wein, featuring a beloved character from the award-winning Code Name Verity; for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

    A German soldier risks his life to drop off the sought-after Enigma Machine to British Intelligence, hiding it in a pub in a small town in northeast Scotland, and unwittingly bringing together four very different people who decide to keep it to themselves. Louisa Adair, a young teen girl hired to look after the pub owner's elderly, German-born aunt, Jane Warner, finds it but doesn't report it. Flight-Lieutenant Jamie Beaufort-Stuart intercepts a signal but can't figure it out. Ellen McEwen, volunteer at the local airfield, acts as the go-between and messenger, after Louisa involves Jane in translating. The planes under Jamie's command seem charmed, as Jamie knows where exactly to go, while other squadrons suffer, and the four are loathe to give up the machine, even after Elisabeth Lind from British Intelligence arrives, even after the Germans start bombing the tiny town . . .
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  4. Instant Karma
    by Marissa Meyer
    Feiwel & Friends
    Nov 03, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance / Romantic Comedy
    Hardcover

    Description

    InNew York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer's young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her – both good and bad.

    Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

    Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

    When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate… and fate.

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  5. And the People Stayed Home (Family Book, Coronavirus Kids Book, Nature Book)
    by Kitty O'Meara
    Tra Publishing
    Nov 10, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Poetry
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Kitty O’Meara…offers us wisdom that can help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. She is challenging us to grow."—Deepak Chopra, MD, author, Metahuman

    “Kitty O'Meara is the poet laureate of the pandemic"—O, The Oprah Magazine

    "An eloquent, heartwarming reflection that will resonate with generations to come… encouragement for a brighter tomorrow."—Kate Winslet

    “Images of nature healing show the author’s vision of hope for the future…The accessible prose and beautiful images make this a natural selection for young readers, but older ones may appreciate the work’s deeper meaning.”— Kirkus Reviews

    “This is a perfectly illustrated version of a poem that continues to be relevant.”—School Library Journal

    “A stunning and peaceful offering of introspection and hope.”—The Children’s Book Review

    “It captured the kind of optimism people need right now.”—Esquire (UK)

    “Thank you, Kitty O'Meara…for pointing out that at this very moment, this very day, we can seize the opportunity to restore wholeness to our world."—Sy Montgomery, bestselling author of The Good Good Pig and The Soul of an Octopus

    “A poem by American writer Kitty O’Meara has deservedly gone viral.”—Edinburgh Evening News

    And the People Stayed Home is a beautifully produced picture book featuring Kitty O’Meara’s popular, globally viral prose poem about the coronavirus pandemic, which has a hopeful and timeless message.


    Kitty O’Meara, author of And the People Stayed Home, has been called the “poet laureate of the pandemic.” This illustrated children’s book (ages 4-8) will also appeal to readers of all ages.

    O’Meara’s thoughtful poem about the pandemic, quarantine, and the future suggests there is meaning to be found in our shared experience of the coronavirus and conveys an optimistic message about the possibility of profound healing for people and the planet. Her words encourage us to look within, listen deeply, and connect with ourselves and the earth in order to heal.

    O’Meara, a former teacher and chaplain and a spiritual director, clearly captures important aspects of the pandemic experience. Her words, written in March 2020 and shared on Facebook, immediately resonated nationally and internationally and were widely circulated on social media, covered in mainstream news media, and inspired an outpouring of creativity from musicians, dancers, artists, filmmakers, and more. The many highlights include an original composition by John Corigliano that was premiered by Renée Fleming.
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  6. Maurice and His Dictionary
    by Cary Fagan 'Canada'
    Owlkids
    Oct 15, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Historical
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient W, Lexile measure GN450L
    Hardcover

    Description

    This is the story of one refugee family’s harrowing journey, based on author Cary Fagan’s own family history. The graphic novel follows a young Jewish boy, Maurice, and his family as they flee their home in Belgium during the Second World War. They travel by train to Paris, through Spain to Portugal, and finally across the ocean to Jamaica, where they settle in an internment camp.

    All the while, Maurice is intent on continuing his education and growing up to be a lawyer. He overcomes obstacles to find a professor to study with, works toward a high school diploma while in the camp, and is ultimately accepted to university in Canada. His English dictionary becomes a beloved tool and beacon of hope through the danger and turmoil of the family’s migration.

    Moments of lightness and humor balance the darkness in this powerful story of one refugee family’s courage and resilience, and of the dictionary that came to represent their freedom.
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  7. The Library Bus
    by Bahram Rahman 'Canada'
    Pajama Press
    Nov 24, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Books & Libraries
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient M, Lexile measure AD560L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn.

    It is still dark in Kabul, Afghanistan when the library bus rumbles out of the city. There are no bus seats—instead there are chairs and tables and shelves of books. And there are no passengers—instead there is Pari, who is nervously starting her first day as Mama’s library helper. Pari stands tall to hand out notebooks and pencils at the villages and the refugee camp, but she feels intimidated. The girls they visit are learning to write English from Mama. Pari can’t even read or write in Farsi yet. But next year she will go to school and learn all there is to know. And she is so lucky. Not long ago, Mama tells her, girls were not allowed to read at all.

    Brought to life by the pensive and captivating art of award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard, The Library Bus is a celebration of literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.

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  8. Pig the Slob
    by Aaron Blabey
    Scholastic Canada
    Nov 10, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
    Hardcover

    Description

    The world’s greediest Pug returns — and he’s lazier than ever!

    Pig was a Pugand I’m sorry to sayhe was shockingly lazy.Such a shameful display . . .

    Pig, the world’s greediest Pug is back—and he won’t get off the couch! Pig spends all day, every day in a horizontal position, binging on snacks and TV. Trevor tries to convince him to come out and play, but Pig won’t budge!

    Until one day when something happens to get Pig up off the couch once and for all . . .

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  9. Bedtime for Superheroes
    by Katherine Locke
    Running Press Kids
    Nov 03, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Bedtime & Dreams
    Hardcover

    Description

    Superheroes meet bedtime in this fun, entertaining, and sleepy time picture book perfect for young kids fighting the bedtime routine.

    Being a superhero is hard work! Fighting evil, catching bad guys, saving the day, and it's messy too! After a long day of being a superhero, even the best superhero has to take a bath, wash their superhero clothes, and rest up for another day of saving the world. With punchy words, bouncing lines, and a whole lot of respect for the hard work superheroes do, this is a great bedtime read for all kinds of superhero kids.
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