Westfield author Rosanne Kurstedt's picture book 'And I Thought About You' received an honorable mention from the New England Book Festival in the Children's Books category.
Kurstedt, along with the other winners, will be honored in a private awards ceremony to be held Jan. 19 at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston as part of the 2012 New England Book Festival.
Published in spring of 2012, the children's story was inspired by real-life events when Kurstedt and her young son were living in Hong Kong.
"The story is about a working mother and her son, and she comes home from work and he says, "What did you do today, Mama?" and she recounts her day and after she says what she does, she says "And I thought about you.' It's a touching story," Kurstedt told Patch just before the book was released.
The work is illustrated by Kurstedt's friend and neighbor, Lisa Carletta-Vieites. Following its publication, the two signed copies at The Town Book Store, where it is currently available for purchase.
Kurstedt, who also serves as vice president as the Westfield Board of Education, said it feels great to receive this honor.
"Lisa and I are thrilled that 'And I Thought About You' is getting recognition because it addresses an important childhood issue simply and honestly," the author said. "Children come to understand that they are in their mom's (or parent's) hearts even when they are not physically with them.
"Quite a few people have told me that the book has helped their children deal with separation and they have even begun to use the phrase 'and I thought about you' in their day-to-day lives. That makes me smile. So this recognition will hopefully get the word out so more families can enjoy the book."
A working mom herself, Kurstedt is an adjunct professor in the Masters Literacy Teaching Program at Fordham University. She previously penned a professional book for teachers "Teaching Writing With Picture Books as Models," published by Scholastic.
While this is her first published work of fiction, Kurstedt is no stranger to the genre. The writer said she has eight other manuscripts, all based on personal stories, that she hopes to publish as well.
"I'm working on a few manuscripts at the moment but nothing is close to being published. I'm actually in the process of looking for an agent. So we'll just have to see," she explained.