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OBI'S MUD BATH by Annette Schottenfeld & illustrated by Folashade Adeshida

OBI'S MUD BATH was inspired by an actual event that occurred in Zimbabwe during a drought when a white rhino bull was unable to eat or drink after a tire became trapped around his horn and snout. Park rangers and vets calmed the rhino and pried off the tire, and he made a full recovery. This lovely book calls attention to the fact that litter, including nets and tires, is frequently found on the banks of the lake where animals graze, and drought conditions throughout southern Africa have been a major ongoing issue for the residents and wildlife.

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Five Reasons Why You'll Love The Picture Book 

OBI'S MUD BATH  by Annette Schottenfeld


Obi is an adorable little rhino. His determination and silly antics earn him new friends and laughs from readers along his journey.

The story is based on an actual event with a happy ending. 

Spoiler alert, Obi and his friends show off some dance moves. Readers can dance along with Obi and his friends.

OBI’S MUD BATH is partnering with a charity that supports worldwide water efforts, enabling more children to attend school and their families to have better living conditions. 

​The story has STEAM connections and can be used to spark classroom lessons on topics such as taking care of our environment, the importance of access to clean water, animals living in Africa, and counting in other languages.

I’m an avid believer that inspiration for stories can be found anywhere. Simple things, such as watching a ladybug scurry across a leaf, observing a good luck ritual or hearing, a child’s playful banter, can spark a story idea. Practicing mindfulness is a gift we should all give ourselves. This means being truly present, so we can capture each tiny moment.

The seed idea for OBI’S MUD BATH came while I was reading a newspaper article about an actual event that occurred in Southern Africa. On a scorching day, a little rhino bull named Mark was searching for juicy greenery. As luck would have it, his snout and horn became stuck in a tire, leaving him unable to eat or drink. A team of vets came to the rescue. They calmed down the rhino and pried off the tire. Mark made a full recovery.

Drought conditions throughout Southern Africa have been an ongoing issue for both the residents and wildlife. Litter, including nets and tires that had been discarded in bodies of water, is frequently found on the dried-up banks where Mark was grazing.

After I read this article, the incident kept playing in my mind. I pictured the little rhino full of determination, exhausted and then finally free. I envisioned a picture book that could not only entertain, but also bring attention to the important topics of respecting our environment and addressing worldwide water issues. The backdrop of Southern Africa, with its rich traditions, added to the appeal of writing this story.

And, OBI was born!

Check out to learn more about global water conservation. A portion of book proceeds from OBI'S MUD BATH will be donated to this fantastic organization!

Annette is the author of OBI'S MUD BATH, her debut picture book, launching late 2021 (Clear Fork/Spork Publishing).

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I am thrilled to reveal the cover for Not So Fast, Max: A Rosh Hashanah Visit with Grandma on The Nerdy Book Club! The characters in the story are near and dear to my heart and I hope they will become your friends as well.


The Story Idea

The seeds for the story were planted when my children were little. Each fall, we would take a trip to the orchard and my daughter and son delighted in picking their own apples. Many times, their Grandma would come along and share stories from her own childhood. Once home, the kids raced to the kitchen where we would make caramel apples, mini apple pies, and apple fries (crinkle-cut apple slices baked and topped with cinnamon and sugar). 


The Holiday

There was always an abundance of apples picked from our day at the orchard. At Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important Jewish holidays–which centers on the theme of renewal and hope–we served the apples dipped in honey (for a sweet Jewish New Year). We also baked fresh apple cake using a recipe passed down from generation to generation. The recipe continues to be shared with extended family and friends and has traveled to many parts of the country. 


Story Elements

When writing the story, I wanted to convey these treasured traditions and highlight the special elements of Rosh Hashanah. Most children love apples (called tapuchim in Hebrew), so I felt they should be at the ‘core’ of the story. Given today’s focus on social media, electronics, and instant gratification, it is understandably difficult for children to learn patience. This important virtue was woven into the storyline.


Tada…The Story

Poor Max, when his savta (the Hebrew word for grandma) visiting from Israel mentions making caramel apples, he wants to get started right away. Savta, on the other hand, says ‘not so fast.’ First, she has something special planned for Max and his sister Emily: a trip to the orchard.  During her visit, the kids learn some amazing things about their spunky Savta. Together, the threesome come up with a new tradition and in the end, Max discovers that good things are definitely worth the wait.

Why Writing Jewish Stories Is Important

Contemporary Jewish stories provide a lens for children to view the significance of Jewish values, traditions, and culture in an organic and fun way. These stories allow young readers to see themselves in the characters and empower them to be proud of who they are. The children can then find these elements in their own homes and synagogues and incorporate them in a way that is meaningful to themselves.


Not So Fast, Max: A Rosh Hashanah Visit with Grandma

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NOT SO FAST, MAX: A ROSH HASHANAH VISIT WITH GRANDMA by Annette Schottenfeld and illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham

When Max and Emily's spunky savta comes from Israel for a Rosh Hashanah visit, she's got some surprises up her sleeve. Max just wants to hurry up and get started, but he learns that sometimes new traditions can be worth the wait.

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Annette Schottenfeld grew up with a book in her hands and a world of endless possibilities in her heart. She is passionate about writing for children, hip-hop dance and environmental issues, believing all have the power to change lives. An expert baker, Annette created the secret recipe for the decadent Uglie Muffin. A registered dietitian, she has written about food, nutrition and fitness.

​Annette lives in New York with her husband, two kids and dog, Rupert, who at times thinks he’s a little rhino. Her picture book debut, OBI’S MUD BATH, is based on an actual event in Africa and will launch in 2021.

by Annette Schottenfeld and Jennifer Buchet

The stars have aligned and “the” response you’ve been waiting for, in what seems like forever, arrives…"We’d like to acquire your manuscript for publication." After contract signing, celebrating, social media announcements, & coordinating with your editor (and possibly illustrator), your release date is at long last approaching.
As you experience this amazing & wonderful next level of the publishing process, here are just five (of many!) things we wish we knew ahead of time:

1. Build relationships with your local indie bookstores and libraries before your book’s release. 
This may sound daunting, especially for writers & illustrators, as we tend to be a bit of an introverted bunch. Make a list of local bookstores and libraries in your area, then make plans to visit them. When visiting bookstores introduce yourself to the owner and/or manager, and at local libraries, meet the children’s librarian(s) and strike up a conversation. Booklovers are a friendly sort and there’s lots to connect over. No need to “hard sell” the first time you meet someone—that can wait until you actually have book in hand!​

2. Keep a list of tips and ideas for book promotion. 
Once our books were under contract, we immediately began researching how to promote them. Your agent/publisher should provide guidance, but there are also great blogs and websites with quality tips, including Kidlit 411 & SCWBI, and of course, social media. Make note of any associated costs, so you can budget accordingly.

3. Speak to published authors and start a calendar of tasks to complete leading up to your release date.
Keeping a calendar is so important! Depending on your lifestyle, perhaps only one task a week is realistic or maybe five are attainable. And, support these published authors and illustrators by reviewing their work on Amazon and Goodreads, and requesting their books at your local library (which gives you a great conversation starter, too!) Remember that the 6 months up to your book’s release are important promotional months.

4. Join a debut group for support, ideas and cross promotion.
​The kidlit world is a supportive, loving community and joining a debut group (or book birthday group, if this isn’t your first rodeo) is very important. Check on Twitter and other social media platforms for groups to join.  But don’t join too many at once—remember, you’ll be expected to support others in your group in return for their support. More so, you’ll learn a lot by chatting with folks walking the same path as you.

5. Pace yourself, your job is far from over.
This is one of the hardest things to remember. You think you’re all done once contract is in hand then, boom—edits are needed, boom—pre-sales marketing hits, boom—your debut group needs help, boom—more edits are coming! And of course, there’s always that sequel or two you may want to write!

​Writing and illustrating children’s books is a true marathon, not a race. Yet with the support of others, the run can actually be fun vs grueling.

Stay strong and create on, friends!

Annette's debut picture book, OBI'S MUD BATH and Jennifer's debut picture book, LITTLE MEDUSA'S HAIR DO-LEMMA are both launching in late 2020 with Clear Fork Publishing. Both authors are currently working hard on their next books and of course, pre-marketing their soon-to-be-released picture books! 

You can chat with both authors on Twitter at any time! Strike up a conversation with Annette @nettschott or shoot the breeze with Jennifer @yangmommy.

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