Olivia is a fictional pig character in a series of children's books written and illustrated by Ian Falconer.
The Olivia book series was inspired by Ian Falconer's niece, Olivia. "I was just entranced by her," he stated. "I wanted to make a little present for her, so I started working on the Olivia book."
The series is different from many children's picture books because of its stark minimalism. Inspired by the style of Dr. Seuss, Falconer chose to draw uncluttered images in black and white with the occasional splash of red, along with the insertion of real artwork by famous artists — Degas and Pollock, for example. Each book in the series explores the use of another signature color in addition to the original black, white and red images.
Olivia books have been translated into many languages including Czech, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Hebrew and Latin.
In the original Olivia series:
- Olivia, 2000 – a 2001 Caldecott Honor book, named as one of the "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children" by the National Education Association in 2007, listed in the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal
- Olivia Saves the Circus, 2001 – the 2002 Booksense Illustrated Children's Book of the Year
- Olivia's Opposites, 2002
- Olivia Counts, 2002
- Olivia...and the Missing Toy, 2003
- Teatro Olivia, 2004
- Olivia Forms a Band, 2006 – winner of 2006 Child Magazine's Best Children's Book Award
- Dream Big (starring Olivia), 2006
- Olivia Helps with Christmas, 2007 – Falconer won the 2008 Illustrator of the Year in the Children's Choice Book Awards for this title
- Olivia Goes to Venice, 2010, 2010
- Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, 2012
In the television based series:
- Dinner with Olivia - storybook
- Olivia Trains her Cat - Ready-To-Read book
- Olivia Leaps - deluxe board book
- This is Olivia - pop-out pages book
- Olivia the Magnificent - Lift the Flap book
- Olivia Acts Out - Hardcover book
- Meet Olivia! - Coloring book
- Brava Olivia! - Coloring and sticker book
- Caldecott Honor for Olivia, 2000
- Parent's Choice 2000, Gold Award Winner
- Nick Jr. Best Book of 2001
- ALA Notable Children's Books 2000 & 2001
- Child's Best Book of 2001
- Los Angeles Times Best Books of 2000 & 2001
- Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 2000 & 2001
- BookSense Illustrated Children's Book of the Year for Olivia Saves the Circus, 2002
- Voted "Favorite Illustrator" for Olivia Helps with Christmas by over 50,000 children at the Children's Choice Book Awards, 2008
In other media
- In 2006, Olivia was one of eight characters to be featured by the United States Postal Service on first-class stamps as part of the "Favorite Children's Book Animals" issue.
- In 2008 Nickelodeon partnered with children's media company, Chorion, to bring the bestselling Simon & Schuster Olivia books to life in a new animated television series. The new 3D CGI series was produced by Academy Award nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films and launched on Nickelodeon on January 26, 2009.
- In 2011, Polin8 Media partnered with children's media company, Chorion, to create an interactive iPad application "Olivia Acts Out" available on the iTunes Store.