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Larchmont Grad Student a 'Giver' for World Book Night

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Sometimes the best medicine is a good book, said Alana Rome, who will visit the The Children's Hospital at Montefiore with 20 copies of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" on April 30.

"Having a book, a fiction book in particular, is a great way to escape," Rome said. "I know a lot of people use reading fiction as an escape for them. I think being able to transport to another world is a nice outlet for them to have."

The Larchmont resident and graduate student at Iona College signed up to be one of 50,000 "givers" for World Book Night (WBN), a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy worldwide by sharing the gift of a good book with those who don't regularly read. The organization, based in the UK, wants to reach one million light or non-readers this year.

The education major will join the Iona chapter of Project Sunshine , run out of Iona's Campus Ministries, on one of their regular trips to the Montefiore Medical Center April 30.

Project Sunshine is an international nonprofit organization that provides educational, social and recreational programs to children and families facing medical challenges, said Angeli Alonzo and Jordan Gilruth, co-coordinators of the Iona chapter. They bring the kids arts and crafts activities and read to the kids as part of "Book Buddies," a program the two created.

"We bring books to the hospitals and our volunteers read one-on-one or in groups with the kids," Alonzo said. "We leave the books behind so that the kids can continue to read on their own and discover the value of reading and the enjoyment that comes with it."

Similarly, Rome will leave 20 copies of Maya Angelou's most famous work in hopes the kids will enjoy it, then pass it on to someone else.

"Givers" chose one of 30 titles, which a panel selected and sought permission from authors and publishers to use. The nonprofit then packs them in individual boxes for each volunteer ands ships them to a pick-up location near that volunteer, such as a library or bookshop.

Rome picked her books up from Anderson's Book Shop.

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