When the country shutdown seemingly overnight last March the change was unfathomable for most adults, but even harder for children, says Aimee Chan.
The Albury author's latest book is inspired by the experiences of young children during the pandemic.
Dr Chan, who has two children aged 11 and seven, said everything changed so suddenly for children as they were torn from their friends in the schoolyard and thrown into home isolation.
"If we think it was scary for us, imagine what it was like for kids who don't understand what a virus is, or what a pandemic is, or what's going on and why things have changed," she said.
"We talk a lot about the impact of lockdown and the pandemic at an adult level but not much on a child's level about what their experiences would have been like day-to-day."
In Dr Chan's The Happy Mask, protagonist Maggie is stuck at home with no friends to play with while her dad works from home.
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In the book, Maggie is about preschool age.
"She's bored but doesn't want to go out because she has to a wear mask, and she thinks masks make people look mean," Dr Chan said.
"Her dad came up with a clever way so she can express how she's feeling while wearing mask."
Dr Chan said the idea for The Happy Mask came from her niece who spent six of her first 12 months locked down in Melbourne, growing up in a world where facial expressions were hidden by masks.
She said it also came from her own experiences with mask-wearing in public.
"I'd go into shops and people would walk up and be friendly to me and I'd get a shock because we've come to associate masks with bank robbers and other negative things," she said.
"I didn't realise they must be smiling underneath because you couldn't tell."
Dr Chan said much would be written in literature and history about the pandemic, but she wanted to create a record of what this unusual period was like for children.
"It's a really weird moment in history, so it's a bit of a time capsule," she said.
"It's something no one on the planet has experienced for 100 years.
"In the future we will forget what it was like to go from normal life to 'pandemic life' so I wanted something to capture that feeling of kids being stuck at home."
Dr Chan has already begun work on her next two books which are based on Border paralympian Eliza Ault-Connell and Todd Heery who spent a year in Antarctica during the pandemic.
The Happy Mask and Dr Chan's second book The Very Hungry Reader will both be launched on May 30 at the Albury Library Museum.
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