On Tuesday night at the London Book Fair – the world's biggest publishing trade fair after the Frankfurt behemoth – Melbourne book store Readings was crowned International Bookstore of the Year as part of the LBF International Excellence Awards.
It's the third year of the awards, described by the LBF as the "UK's recognition of international publishing industry excellence".
The judges said Readings took the gong for "its community outreach, support of Australian authors and its help for non-profit organisations working on literacy initiatives".
Though Readings was the only Australian winner at the awards, it was not the only finalist.
Austinmer-based outfit Quirky Kid was among the top three in the Education Initiatives Award.
The child psychology clinic decided it wanted to put its knowledge into book form, so teachers and schoolkids would have a tool to help build social and communication skills.
In between counseling sessions they turned their clinical expertise into a series of books. It has become a quiet Australian success story, used by thousands of organisations around the world.
Quirky Kid principal child psychologist, Kimberley O'Brien, said she was at the fair looking for partners to take their project to a global audience – and through the London Book Fair they'd found new interest for a potential Chinese translation, and distributors in the Middle East.
"Instead of repeating myself in the clinic setting I wanted to have that out there for all kids so they can understand their emotions," Dr O'Brien said.
"Rather than feeling stuck or confused, they understand what's happening for themselves and they can express it and then they can resolve it - in families as well as in the playground."
Quirky Kid manager Leonardo Rocker said they felt incredibly encouraged by the overall experience.
“Meeting people from different parts of the world with similar interests has inspired many new ideas and partnerships. The prospect of translating our resources into Arabic and Chinese to give more children the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution and other skills is better than we could have anticipated,” he said.
“The Best of Friends was shortlisted together with other inspiring programs, also committed to improving children's lives, like the UN African Union Mission and Darfur project.”