Book Reviews & Extras - Elementary Girls

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Re: Library Building books? esp Elizabeth Yates

Unread post by doubleportion » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:50 am

That link will give me some ideas to go on. I was really looking for non-historical fiction or even good non-fiction. The historical fiction mostly I imagined would go in line with the history cycle years as we come to them.

My dd is 8 and reads at about a 5th or 6th grade reading level, but her comprehension and maturity challenges the choices, because much of what she "can" read she probably isn't ready for yet.

She has read all the Little House on the Prairie books. (Those are some of her favorite books!) She has read the other Patricia St John books that are not scheduled in the five year cycle. She has enjoyed The Littles books and read most of what is listed under the 2nd & 3rd grade general reading section in the TM. We have not read the Narnia Books yet. We feel she is not ready for them. I chose to leave out the Henry Huggins series and the Encyclopedia Brown books because I was not comfortable with the modeling. (we are pretty particular about that, not that it was inappropriate but just not a good fit for our family). We are not big on the science fiction and fantasy books. And the Borrowers vocabulary was a little over her head.

She has read a good portion of the list of the 4th grade general reading books. I preread Anne of Green Gables and felt the vocabulary would be over her head at this time. Probably will be a good fit for next year. She has read The Great Illustrated Classics versions of Black Beauty, Heidi, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, & Little Women. But they are abridged versions (which I am not crazy about). But I understand that the vocabulary in the original books are not yet in her realm of understanding.

I would love some more suggestions of good modeling books BUT that especially don't have any romance in them. She is not even aware of any of that yet. Allot of the "girly" books designed for her age deal with plenty of subject matter we are not comfortable with and attitudes toward siblings and parents that we feel don't line up with our family standards.

We so loved the two books by Elizabeth Yates!! (Mountain Born and A Place for Peter) That was part of what prompted the question. Elizabeth Yates has allot of books but I was unsure if all of them would be as good. I was hoping to come across someone who might have read some of her other works.

HTH clarify some things.


Julie in MN
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Re: Library Building books? esp Elizabeth Yates

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:17 am

Great clarification, Edie. I'm going to give it the old college try (whatever that means), and just throw out some ideas. Some may overlap the general reading list in the back of your manual - don't forget to look there. Others may not be as good as I thought or my memory may be failing, so hoping others will chime in. I have a granddaughter who's 9 and a reader, so I'll be listening for ideas, as well.

-Betsy-Tacy-Tib series (the first few books in the series, before they become teens)
-Boxcar Children series (#1 through #19 are written by the original author)
-Grandma's Attic series (the first one is used in Adventures)
-Hive of Busy Bees, and Another Hive (I guess there are shorter volumes that I haven't seen, but these longer ones are good)
-Storytime With the Millers & others in the series
-Marguerite De Angeli books such as Thee Hannah, except the one used in RTR (these will also apply to history)
-Barbara Mitchell books such as Pocket Full of Goobers (nonfiction)
-Jean Fritz books are history but often funny & can be re-read (I prefer her short ones), and she has one based on her own life, Homesick My Own Story
-Jean Craighead George's "One Day" books (nature)
-Funny books: Pippi, Piggle-Wiggle, Amelia-Bedelia (the older they get, the more they will understand the puns)
-Easier classics are still good: Beatrix Potter, AA Milne, some of Cynthia Rylant's picture books
-The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
-Flat Stanley
-The Hundred Penny Box (some conflict)
-5 Little Peppers
-Understood Betsy
-Lois Lenski books (some are historical)
-The Railway Children
-All of a Kind Family series
-The Little Princess
-Sarah, Plain & Tall (set of 3, although these are on some of the history book basket lists)
-Rabbit Hill
-Homer Price (might be too much like Henry Huggins?)
-Chalk Box Kid
-Meindert DeJong books
-Holling C. Holling books (maybe not independent readers)
-As a kid, I found Little Men & Jo's Boys easier reads than Little Women
-Narnia series (and the unabridged audios), although that's probably fantasy
-My Side of the Mountain series (we read the author intro about "wondering what it would be like if..." rather than actually running away to live on your own)
-If dd likes animals: Rascal, Old Yeller, Black Beauty, Marguerite Henry books (these may be too long)
-My son liked Nancy Levene's "Alex" series when he was in about 2nd grade; they are not as loose with morals as modern books, but they aren't super-great literature & have some conflict
-I liked these as a kid who liked to read, but I haven't read them recently: Bobbsy Twins series, Trixie Beldon series, Nancy Drew series
-Poetry for Young People series, Child's Garden of Verses, & other poetry
-ETA: I recently found and would recommend the Moody Family Series. I read the first book, Moody Family Summer. It's written by Sarah Maxwell, dd of the convention speaker Terri Maxwell. They are a bit similar to the Miller Family Series, except there is more of a continuing plot rather than short stories (throughout the Summer book, the children are learning to care for the pet they want).

Plenty of snow & ice here, for good reading times.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Library Building books? esp Elizabeth Yates

Unread post by baileymom » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:14 pm

Quickly...Brian's waiting for the computer to do school...

Understood Betsy
All of A Kind Family series
Sarah Plain and Tall series
Little HOuse books by Melissa Wiley about Laura's mom...grandma...great grandma
Pippy Longstocking
Dear America...Royal Diaries
Marguerite Henry's horse books (misty, etc)
Racketty Packetty House
Railway Children
Miss Piggle Wiggle

***on Little Women, Kylie is about to finish it for the 2nd time...and likes it so much better this time around...let her read some of the abridged now, she'll get to the big stuff, and appreciate them more when she's older

see ya soon...cracks us up how the town shut down over 7 inches of fluff!!!
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1

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early chapter book ideas

Unread post by booklovermom25 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:57 am

RachelT wrote:Hello! I am trying to help my daughter find more reading material that is appropriate for her reading level. She just turned 8 and is in 2nd grade and reads well.

She has read some Magic Tree House books, Amelia Bedelia, some of the chapter books based on the Little House series, Junie B. Jones, and just read about half of the first Pippi Longstocking book, but she needed to take a break from it - it has longer chapters and she was getting frustrated.

I got out Honey For a Child's Heart and I see lots of picture books and a chapter for "beginning readers", but most of the other books look like novels in the 9-12 category. I think she is in between. Any other good ideas about books that your children have enjoyed? I did read some of the Boxcar Children books aloud to them a few years ago, but haven't had her try reading them on her own. She is a "girly girl" who likes American Girl dolls, animals, fairy tales, etc. We are doing Creation to the Greeks this year and there just aren't as many selections in the reading list as in other years of history. I'm just brainstorming for more ideas. We have a good library that we can go to in town, too, but I like to "pick the brains" of my other homeschooling friends because sometimes you all know about books with a Christian influence that the librarians do not know about. :-)
We just discovered the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. My daughter is 12 and is a little old for them, but they may be just what your 8 yo dd needs. We have some of the Betsy Tacy books at our library. You may want to look these up and see if they would be a good fit.

Alosa, a great resource book besides Honey for a Child's Heart is The Book Tree - A Christian Reference for Children's Literature by Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott (canonpress puts it out). A mother/daughter team have joined together to produce this list of their favorites. Each book includes a short synopsis which really helps in choosing.

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Re: early chapter book ideas

Unread post by DS4home » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:31 pm

My girls enjoyed a series called The Cul-de-sac Kids by Beverly Lewis. They are published by Bethany House Publishers. On the back cover it says First Chapter Books ages 7-10.

Another short series is the Ruby Slippers School by Stacy Towle Morgan also published by Bethany House. It is about a homeschooling family that travels to different places because of the dad's job.

Just a couple of ideas to add to the pot :)

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Julie in MN
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Re: early chapter book ideas

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:08 pm

Another series I posted about here (and there may be a few more in that thread): ... 345#p68345
[and this thread]

And don't forget the list of "classics" in the back of the teacher manual

Have fun reading!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: early chapter book ideas

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:54 pm

Julie gave you such awesome links to look through - tons of suggestions in there!

- I ditto looking into Cobble Street Cousins by Cynthia Rylant (or any of her other easy readers).
- The Animal Stories chapter books by Janette Oke are awesome.
- My dd loved, loved, loved Betsy-Tacy books (the first 4), and the Grandma's Attic books. She rereads those all the time.
- If you're OK with letting her read the American Girl books, there are some fun stories in those -- might bring up things to discuss, but definitely easy to read chapters.

This is the age where they are capable of reading so much more than we are ready to let them read! Finding appropriate books isn't always easy, but they are out there.
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Re: early chapter book ideas

Unread post by mgardenh » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:28 pm

My dd likes Encyclopedia Brown and and Nancy Drew Notebooks books.
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Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
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Dear America books

Unread post by BHelf » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:06 am

Winkie wrote:A friend recently gave us a bunch of "Dear America" books. I'm not familiar with this series, so I was wondering if anyone else was (and save myself from pre-reading all of them! ;) ) Is there anything I need to be concerned about from a Christian perspective? How is the historical accuracy?
Thanks so much!
I've read a few of them. The ones I've read have been fairly good. I can't remember which one had direct references to their Christian faith but I don't remember being concerned about it. However, another mom that shares many same convictions as myself has said that there are some that may not be appropriate for my 8 year old. So I decided I needed to pre-read them before she does.

Sorry that is not too much help...but I would probably suggest reading them first.
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reading for 2nd grade

Unread post by erin.kate » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:54 am

karlafoisy wrote:Hello everyone,
My daughter just found Junie B Jones at the library. She has not been interested in reading much more than picture books before now, but she was SO excited about Junie B. today, saying, "Mom, these are SO good. I just love reading about her...Maybe I can read on the couch when Papa is reading his book....." But then....she started reading parts of the book to me, and Junie B. is somewhat disturbing. She calls people stupid, she says she wants to beat people up, and she wishes her brother had never lived with them. Besides that, she had terrible grammar, and says things like, "bestest" and "runned".

BUT....I've tried other books, and my daughter just isn't into I sacrifice grammar and good role models in order to find FUN READING for my daughter, OR do I wait and hope she finds something else that is better for her to read? I know she learns moral character from us and understands what is good/bad, and maybe they aren't any worse than Ramona Quimby....Maybe I am just more intentional now that my daughter is reading the books. Opinions, anyone? And/or reading suggestions?
I probably read them all at some point, and survived, but after hearing my girls giggle together through the first one about seeing words like "stupid" and such, I agree that this is such a tender age and children are so impressionable. I might keep trying to introduce other books that have more moral character to them but that are really interesting and capture the kids' attention and heart. A few that my girls love just as much ...

Andi and Taffy series: (You can get them at Amazon and I just got an email today that books 5 and 6 are done.)

The Burgess Adventures books are really good ... I get the $2-4 Dover thrift editions ... such as The Adventures of Reddy Fox, etc. This is great for narration, too, even informally. Short chapters full of good stuff.

The Boxcar Children

The Family Under the Bridge (a more advanced chapter book, but the language is not difficult ... just more text per page).

I hope that this is helpful. Best to you!
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
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Re: reading for 2nd grade

Unread post by gratitude » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:29 am

Erin Kate has some great recommendations for you.

I thought of another source that might help. Have you read Honey for the Heart yet that comes with the deluxe package of MFW1? It of course can also be read without MFW1. She has some great things to say about reading to kids. She also encourages children 4 - 8 to read and enjoy picture books. I thought that fact might help you. She thinks the picture books have much to teach us. She also has a good book list. I have only seen one book on her list that I wouldn't bring home; and MFW puts a note, about that book, in the front cover if you order it from them (if you have not read it that is).

Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: reading for 2nd grade

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:30 pm

I'm going to chime in now and say that Junie B shouldn't even be allowed on the same shelf in the library as Ramona . . . ;) Personal choice.

Can I echo my earlier recommendation? The Cobble Street Cousins series by Cynthia Rylant and Animal Friends series by Janette Oke. Best ever for 2nd grade girls!!!
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Re: reading for 2nd grade

Unread post by baileymom » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:03 pm

A few that come to mind for a 2nd grader: Little House series, Sarah Plain & Tall series, American Girl series, Sarah Noble, The Orange Shoes, Eloise, Sarah Whitcher, (?) some Magic Tree House, Racketty Packetty House, In Grandma's Attic series, Understood Betsy, All-of-A-Kind-Family...I think, too, at this age, you may find that Reading Aloud is still the biggest way to fit in literature (and who minds READING ALOUD? NOT ME!). It wasn't until my girls (and my oldest son now), were at the 2nd/3rd grade (or 8 years old-ish) transition that they were reading nice, big, quality, literature-type chapter books on their own. Longer picture books were more common in 2nd grade.

Here are a few links to 'Girl Book Lists' that may help too: ... onday.html ... s-and.html ... s-she-has/ ... -olds.html ... s-for.html

Happy Reading!
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1

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Re: reading for 2nd grade

Unread post by jckids » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:13 am

I agree that the content and grammar of Junie B Jones books are not what I would like to teach my child. There are so many great books with proper grammar and good values. However, when I let my 6 year old daughter read these books we turn it into a lesson. We ask "Why is this not okay?" "What could Junie B. do that would be kinder?" "How should we really say this?"
It may not work for every parent and child to address books with questionable subject matter. But I feel that my child is mature enough to read these books with me and have some discussions about some not so good behaviors. And that is WITH ME. I do not think I would let her read these on her own.

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Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by erin.kate » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:28 am

Kab wrote:I have a question about chapter books for young girls.

My oldest dd is in grade 1 and is reading about a grade 3 level (I think). She is currently reading through "Childrens Pilgrims Progress" and is enjoying it and understanding/comprehending what she is reading.

So.. my question is what other chapter books (either stand alone or a series) would be a good starting point. Right now any thing with a bible theme, and horses seems to be where her interests are. I appreciate any and all suggestions.

Thank you
My two daughters, 8 and 6, love ...

Besty and Tacy books
Andi and Taffi books
Rachel Yoder series
The Cobblestreet Cousins
The Adventures of ... by Burgess
Among the .. People by Dillingham Pierson

That's what comes to mind before I prepare lunch. Hope it helps.
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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by MelissaM » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:52 am

My daughter has enjoyed many of the American Girl (historical) series, as well as the Little House books, Black Beauty, there is a series called Animal Ark that were about all different animals - they have titles like Pony in the Pasture (or something, lol) that appealed to her, though she's outgrown them at this point (she's in 5th grade, though). Um, what else? We've liked the Betsy-Tacy books, but you would probably only want to read the first couple with your daughter until she's a little older. Boxcar Children books were a big hit with her too, as well as Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a bunch of the Beverly Cleary books...hmmm...she did not read all of these in first grade, though. I honestly can't remember which year(s) she read which books, so please preview them and go with what you think is best for you. I like getting booklists from different websites, etc., too - for independent and read-aloud suggestions. Oh, Pippi Longstocking was another one she read in 1st or 2nd grade. I can't think of what else, but I'm sure others will chime in!


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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by MuzzaBunny » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:10 pm

My dd and I just read a simple chapter book by Cynthia Rylant called Thimbleberry Stories. It might be too easy but dd loved the stories in it. Just a thought. :)

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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by cefcdana » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:07 pm

I was just researching this question for my daughter. Someone suggested looking at Sonlight's website for their list of readers by grade level. I found that helpful.

Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:15 am

this was my go-to booklist with my dd from Julie -- this whole thread is really good, but I tried to link right to Julie's list -- ... =25#p57926

When my dd was in 1st, she read *everything* by Cynthia Rylant. over and over. Our library had hundreds.
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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:00 am

you might want to get a book from MFW in the 1st grade deluxe called:
Honey for a Child's Honey.
nice reference book for library books.

Another way to think about it....
Who Should We Then Read? vol 1 and 2, by Jan Bloom. nice listing of authors and books.

And if you have any MFW manuals from ADV, ECC CTG RTR EX1850 and 1850MOD, check out the "general classics list" by "grade level" for ideas.

just from the been there, did that side of it..... preview everything. sometimes when children are reading above their age/grade level, they might run into topics that they will understand and comprehend, but in retrospect you might wish you had waited....


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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by homechoice » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:57 am

I recently found the "Ten Girls Who (changed the world, changed history, used their talents, made a difference, didn't give in)" series. They make them for boys, too. Just go to Amazon and search for Ten Girls (or Ten Boys), and they will pop up.

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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by MelissaB » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:07 am

Hi, Kim -

Thanks for posting this question.(!) We've loved reading the other Mom's recommendations.

Our oldest daughter, Mattie, loves to read. She's now in 4th grade. Over the last several years, here have been her very favorites:

1.) Moody books series by Sarah Maxwell. They're only available online at - We love these books because she cannot put them down, and the characters in the story are kind, helpful, and respectful not only to parents, but to their siblings also. Our daughter's attitude toward her younger sister, while always pretty decent:), grew into a very loving, sacrificial attitude as she read the behavior examples in the Moody books. Highly recommend them.

2.) YWAM biographies (Youth With A Mission Publishing) - hundreds of biographies about missionaries throughout history in adventures all over the world; as well as historical figures such as George Washington, C. Columbus, etc. What I really like about these biographies is that they are Christian, but they are not biased. The character flaws in the figure are not hidden. The characters are not made out to be more-than-life figures - They're every day people, just like my daughter. And she loves reading the amazing things God has done through them. Here's a direct link: ... n-now.aspx

3.) HEIDI by Johanna Spyri. Avoid the abridged versions. The original writing is beautifully written, and your daughter will not want to put it down - ever.

4.) Like a previous Mom (Melissa M), we loved the Little House on the Prairie series. (When Mattie completed reading all 9 of the books, we took a Mommy-Daughter field trip to Missouri to visit Laura & Almanzo's home...such a sweet time. We had started reading the books together when she was 4 or 5, and finished when she was 8. There are three or four LHOP museums/homes in various areas around the country.) And Black Beauty, too, is awesome - but get ready for tears. :)

These are wholesome recommendations so that you won't have to worry about the content. :-)

Enjoy your reading! -
Melissa B.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by Kab » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:45 am

Thank you for the answers. :) I have heard of some of them I will have to look up the others maybe borrow them from the library.

cbollin wrote:just from the been there, did that side of it..... preview everything. sometimes when children are reading above their age/grade level, they might run into topics that they will understand and comprehend, but in retrospect you might wish you had waited....
Thank you for this. Yes, I am begining to see this. ;) I completely forgot about "Honey for a Child's Heart" I will have to dig that out again to look through. I have some of the other previous suggestions on hold at the library waiting for pick up in a couple of days to preview for her.

HI Melissa, Thank you for the Moody Family link. I checked them out and they look great exactly what I was looking for. We have read Heidi (unabridged) as a read aloud about a year ago and the girls really liked it. I think I will pull it out again for her to read on her own. I like the YWAM site as well. We do have the little House books but I think a lot will be covered in the grade two so I did not want to jump ahead with them just yet waiting for to start them in grade 2 next school year.

Thanks everyone for all your great replies all very helpful.
Learning to wait on the LORD
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Mommy to two beautiful young girls.
Working through CTG
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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by alisoncooks » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:29 pm

Thanks for all these great recs! I've been looking into some of them for my 5 year old, who loves to "read" chapter books.
Just wanted to point out that many of the "Among the.... People" stories by Clara Dillingham Pierson are FREE for Kindle on Amazon!
Just added them to mine; great for travel reading (less books to pack)!
Married to DH since 2000, with 2 sweet girls (2006 & 2008).

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Re: Chapter books for young girls?

Unread post by kewkew34 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:46 am

I am so glad I decided to read this thread. Some awesome ideas for books to read to my girzls. Thanks
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Mom to
Steven-21 grad of PS, Floyd-19 working on GED, Krystal-16 lives with her dad and in PS
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