When I moved from London to Boston, or I should say from London, England to Boston, MA, a few years ago, I knew many things would be different. It hadn’t occurred to me that children’s books would be one of those things. For whatever publishing reason, although there may be different release dates in the UK and USA for adult books, the offering appears to be broadly the same, even if presented differently. The offering of children’s books though differs. And it’s not just single books that differ. Best-selling authors with millions of copies sold may be unknown on the other side of the water. My impression is largely anecdotal – playground asides with other parents, scanning the book baskets and shelves of the kids’ day care, chat with their teachers. It’s not so much that they’re unavailable, but unknown. I looked one favourite up on the Amazon bestsellers list: USA – 3,000 in Books, UK – 18,000 in Books.
Some of it may be the setting, some may be the deals the publishers make. But I shop for books wherever I go and had become accustomed to reserving some of my weight limit for books whenever I travelled (along with plenty of tea and the biscuits that I can’t quite do without.) One pressure of the pandemic for many has been the inability to browse/borrow in the library or bookshop, and for me, to buy UK published books.
With a tip to the future and a hope for a vaccination date, I’m going to write about some of my cross Atlantic book-friends – in the hope they can become more trans-Atlantic. If you know and love these books already, I hope you will enjoy the spotlight on an old friend. If they are new to you – enjoy! Most are available, if not known, in both countries – try Bookshop and Bookshop UK to support local, independent bookshops.