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Where did the phrase it takes a village to raise a child come from?

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Where did the phrase it takes a village to raise a child come from?
The phrase is attributed to an old African proverb. Its exact origin seems to be lost in time. In 1994 children's author Jane Cowen-Fletcher released a book, published by Scholastic Press, titled It Takes A Village in which a young African girl searches for her younger brother, only to find the rest of the village has been watching over him as well.

In January 1996 publisher Simon & Schuster released hillary Rodham-Clinton's It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. Reviews are mixed.

In May 2001, publisher Harper-Collins released the seventh book in the Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Events series titled The Vile Village, it was mentioned at the beginning of the book, "It takes a village to raise a child."
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