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White Plains Lawyer Shares Love of Reading for World Book Night

This story has been updated.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains' Allison Greene handed out 20 copies of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou on Monday to the staff of My Sisters Place, a domestic violence shelter in Yonkers.

Greene's act of kindness was part of an international effort among approximately 50,000 volunteer "givers" worldwide who handed out 20 books each for World Book Night Monday.

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, in its first year in the U.S., is held annually on April 23 – the date of William Shakespeare's birth and death.

"I read it originally in the 70s," said Greene, a court attorney referee in Yonkers family court. "It's such a powerful book. It talks about unbelievable abuse and poverty and it just shows resilience and survival. It highlights that in a harrowing and moving way."

Greene, who said she handles mostly domestic violence cases, chose Angelou's book because it is "easy to approach." She felt the book could resonate with people who work with families facing circumstances similar to those addressed in the book, including self-esteem, disenfranchisement and overcoming tragic circumstances. By giving out these books, Greene hoped it would be passed from the My Sisters Place staff to others, including clients.

"I just knew the good work they did, and, often in a not-for-profit organization, the staff works for very little and don't often get a lot of recognition," Greene said.

Greene was selected to be a volunteer for World Book Night, which set a goal to reach one million light or non-readers on a single day. Each book is a special WBN edition 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 and ships them to a pick-up location near that volunteer, such as a library or bookshop.

Greene picked her books up at the White Plains Library last week. In all, two people picked up their books from White Plains.

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