We can't let this month pass without special mention of Olivia, that small pig with the outsize ego who has captured the hearts and minds of so many preschoolers and parents.
We can think of no other character in children's lit who illustrates our theme so well. Olivia is, undeniably, all about herself -- in the best of ways (no worries about her self-confidence) and the most bemusing (check the expressions on her parents' faces).
You probably already know that the Olivia books are endlessly entertaining to kids and parents alike. But we also think they are way more than that. Throughout these stories, the brilliant Ian Falconer has embedded a lighthearted guide to building a child's confidence and sense of self.
To prove the point, we present to you: Wise Words from Olivia and Her Maker, along with our Savvy Cliffs-Notes to Olivia, Queen of Self-Esteem.
"This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things." -- Olivia
(Olivia's creator builds her up.)
"Luckily I knew how to do everything." -- Olivia Saves the Circus
(She's internalized the message.)
"To Olivia, she sounded just like a real band." -- Olivia Forms a Band
(A one-pig circus, a one-pig band -- is there anything she can't do?)
"'Mommy, can you make me a red soccer shirt...? Please?...'
'But then you'll look different from everyone else on the team,' explained her mother.
'That's the point.'" -- Olivia... and the Missing Toy
(Taking it to the next level: not only can she do anything, she can be anyone she pleases.)
"Now I have a present for you. It's a self-portrait. Won't it be beautiful over the fireplace?" -- Olivia Helps With Christmas
(Didn't we tell you -- preschooler self-portraits are key! By the last book of the series, Olivia is ready to represent herself.)
"Most of [Olivia] was really about me anyway." -- Ian Falconer in an interview with Publisher's Weekly
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