A picture book written in Albury and based on a child's COVID-19 lockdown experience is now resonating with overseas readers.
The Happy Mask, launched by Border author Aimee Chan in May, is being distributed in the UK, India and Singapore, with plans to be sold in the US next year.
"I love it, it's so exciting," Chan said.
"To feel you can write this story, at home, particularly, you know, we're in little Albury, it's lockdown, maybe you're writing most of it in your pyjamas.
"Then suddenly people are reading it all over the world and you're getting messages from people in different countries, in different languages."
In The Happy Mask, a young girl is stuck at home without anyone to play with and doesn't like having to wear a mask when she goes out.
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Chan has received some emotional reactions to the story.
"To see that day to day experience being captured in a book so quickly while we're still living through it is very powerful for people," she observed.
The writer is now working with director Rachel McNamara and musician Connie O'Connell to create a stage adaptation of The Happy Mask through HotHouse Theatre's Celsius Independent Theatre program.
They're aiming to develop a one-person show with an original score, hoping to attract additional funding to bring it to Border audiences as soon as possible.
"I think it could be a really, really powerful way to get that message across of the importance of mental health, the importance of community, the importance of maintaining connections, even just with strangers in the street," Chan said.
Her next book, a collaboration with Border sportswoman Eliza Ault-Connell, has reached the illustration stage just as its subject prepares for the Tokyo Paralympics.
"It's a story about how being different from other people is actually a positive thing, not a negative thing," Chan said.
"It's been fun, she's such an inspirational person, the things she's doing are pretty amazing and ground-breaking."
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