LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Larchmont resident Alana Rome knows there are a million reasons to read a book, and will promote that ideal by volunteering to give out books in her community for World Book Night.
World Book Night (WBN) is a non-profit organization founded in the U.K. in 2011 that promotes literacy worldwide by sharing the gift of a good book with those who don't regularly read. World Book Night is held annually on April 23 -- the date of William Shakespeare's birth and death.
Rome is a graduate student in Iona College's education program. She hopes to join Project Sunshine , a program run out of the college's Campus Ministries, on one of their regular trips to the Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla to distribute 20 copies of a book to children who could use them.
"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."
Rome was selected to be a volunteer for World Book Night, which means she can give out 20 books to anyone, anywhere, as long as they are light or non-readers. The goal of WBN this year is to reach one million light or non-readers by arming 50,000 volunteers with 20 books each.
"As a future English teacher, this is the best possible thing for kids," Rome said. "It's a good outlet to get them interested in reading that's not school related.
The books are special WBN editions printed with their partners in the publishing world, according to the WBN website .
Volunteers choose from a list of 30 books , which a panel selects and seeks permission from authors and publishers to use. The non-profit 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 doesn't yet know which book she will receive, due to the high demand for certain titles like "The Hunger Games," nor does she know where she will pick them up. But, she does know why she volunteered.
"I think everyone has a cause that's close to their heart," Rome said. "U.S. hunger is a very big thing for me, and the other big thing is promoting literacy, because I've always been a fan of reading and writing. It's something that I think everyone not only needs to be capable of doing, but being able to find joy in it. There' s so many ways to enjoy reading and writing."
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