I've just returned from Vancouver.
While there, I visited an independent children's bookshop, Kidsbooks and met the bookseller, Phyllis Simon. What struck me first about her shop was its size and then after a long browse its huge range of books.
"Business thrives," Phyllis told me, " because parents in Vancouver are very concerned about their children's literacy and they support the bookshop".
Phyllis, who has a library background, is an Anglophile and is enthusiastic about our children's literary tradition. She wanted to talk about Philippa Pearce and Minnow on the Say, Lucy Boston and the Green Knowe stories, Anne Fine and Helen Oxenbury. However, there was a note of disappointment when she described the range of books she saw in a large London bookshop when she was recently in the UK. Whereas the best of the UK's children's books get into bookshops in Canada and the US she didn't see it happening so much the other way round and, as a result, thought the UK was missing a lot of good books originating in North America.