The Israeli author Yael Biran wrote the educational children's book "A Fence, some sheep, and a little guy with a big problem".
In my small bedroom, on my desk, back in 1991, was an open physics textbook and a mostly empty notebook, for writing down equations and calculation while revising for my final exams.
I must have been staring at the wall for a long while before I started doodling in my notebook. I was very tired; my parents where in the other room watching the evening news, so it was probably around 9pm, I was thinking how you count sheep in order to fall asleep and my hand drew a sheep.
I looked at my sheep; it was jumping over a fence.
With a head full of physics exam questions and applied problem solving, I picked up my pencil again and drew her friend- pushing herself under the fence.
Suddenly I was awake, a new puzzle was raising it’s head and it was so much more interesting than ‘ A ball is falling to earth in an arc from a low gravity planet…’
I can’t tell you how long it took me but by the time I had drawn 15 different sheep, my parents where still watching the evening news. I was so proud of my little flock that I went to show them to my Dad. He was an amazing man, and instead of saying something along the lines of ‘Is this what you call studying for your physics exam ??!!’ he flicked through my notebook, then handed it back to me and said ‘go draw some more’. When excitedly I returned with 24 sheep, he smiled and said ‘now go write their story’.
Today, these little sheep teach adults and children all over, about the rainbow of possible solutions when facing a problem. The sheep in the book are non-judgmental; they don’t rank in order of anything. They are simply options, each with its pros and its cons, each relevant for some fences in life and not for others.
These little sheep have taught me a lot.
Talking to kids about the book is always fantastic; it opens an indirect door into important conversations, and gives us a glimpse into what is going on in their life. I vividly remember a moment when a 10-year-old girl taught me about ‘points of view’.
She told me how the band of committed sheep I wrote about - a group of sheep who get together and with the strength of a common goal simply trample the fence - each bringing the little she has in order to create an unstoppable force, that group of proud and united sheep- scared her. How she saw them as a group of bullies, as aviolent mob. I was struck by the complete opposite way an action can be experienced. It made total sense, but until she said it I never thought of them that way.
I must admit, it also made me happy that the sheep were described in such a way, that they allowed for individual meaning to be easily applied, regardless of what I meant it to be.
I love this book, a lot because it is adaptable; I really hope you will too.
The book was published in israel, the first edition was in Hebrew and in 2013 it was translated to more languages.
We at Pashoshim.com are truly honored to have the book in our catalog and it is recommended for young children.
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