Cover Reveal: Not So Fast, Max: A Rosh Hashanah Visit with Grandma by Annette Schottenfeld, illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham

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.

The Team

My editor at Kalaniot Books, Lilian Rosentreich, was a delight to work with. She shared my vision and passion for this intergenerational story and has worked her magic on pairing the copy with the expressive and beautiful illustrations by Jennifer Kirkham. 

The process of bringing NOT SO FAST, MAX to life has been an amazing journey! Thank you, Nerdy Book Club, for hosting and highlighting the book.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a copy of the book. Deadline November 1, 2020.

Photo by Andrew Werner

Annette Schottenfeld is a children’s book author, registered dietitian, and expert baker. She lives in New York with her husband and two grown kids. Apples can be found at many holidays in her home. You can find Annette online on TwitterFacebook, or

Jennifer Kirkham is an Illustrator based in England. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art and L’ENSBA, Paris. Jennifer shares her studio with her cat, Heath and dog, Scout. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Not So Fast, Max: A Rosh Hashanah Visit with Grandma will be published on March 2, 2021 by Kalaniot Books, an imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing. To learn more about this book and other great books for Jewish kids, go to

At Kalaniot Books, our mission is to help parents expose their children to the rich mosaic of Jewish culture and history. Through our list of exciting and engaging picture books, we hope to entertain, instill pride in, and demonstrate the diversity of this truly dynamic community. Our imprint’s name is inspired by the fragile wild poppies, or “kalaniot” that bloom on the hillsides of Israel in the spring. With careful planning and cultivation, these beautiful flowers have continued to flourish from generation to generation. It is our hope that these books become a tool for families to explore this vibrant culture. In this way, from generation to generation, Jewish culture will continue to flourish as well.