A children's book written and illustrated in Te Awamutu will soon be captivating readers all around the world.
Kat Merewether has signed an international deal with UK-based publishers Award Publications Limited.
Kiwicorn will be hitting shelves in bookstores in the UK, USA and Australia.
The story follows a gender-neutral protagonist, Kiwicorn, who empowers children to be unique and embrace their individuality.
Kat collaborated with illustrator Loryn Engelsman, who hand-lettered each word in the book and created a Kiwicorn font.
Award Publications showcased Kiwicorn at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy last week. It will also take the book to the London Book Fair this month.
The international deal is a dream come true for Kat, author and illustrator of the popular Kuwi the Kiwi series.
"On December 31st I wrote a list of 10 things I wanted to achieve in 2018 — being published internationally was one of them," Kat says.
"Two days later I found out it would happen. It feels a little bit surreal."
Award Publications Limited requested only a couple of changes to Kiwicorn.
It wanted the book to be printed in paperback, rather than hard cover.
It also requested the word farts to be changed to "puffs" — which Kat thought was hilarious, but agreed to.
Kat is positive the story will be adored by international readers.
She wants every child to identify with Kiwicorn — a character Kat describes as more edgy than some of her characters from previous books.
Kat also hopes being published internationally will boost kiwi conservation.
She is a passionate ambassador for Kiwis for Kiwi, the charity dedicated to protecting New Zealand's native and endangered bird.
It's exciting times for the mother-of-three, who also has another book series up her sleeve, Flit the Fantail, published by Scholastic New Zealand and due to come out in June.