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Elivia Savadier (1950-) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1950, in Postmasburg, South Africa; Education: Attended Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town; Royal Society of Arts (London, England), teaching diploma. Politics: "Left of center/humanistic/pacifist, strong anti-apartheid history." Religion: "Jewish background, Buddhist leanings."


Children's book author and illustrator. Has worked variously as a middle-school art teacher, as an English-as-a-second-language instructor in the United States and England, and as an adult literacy teacher in England, the United States, and South Africa. Freelance illustrator, beginning c. 1990.


Graphic Artists Guild, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Sydney Taylor Award for Best Children's Picture Book, Jewish Association of Libraries, 1993, and Smithsonion Notable Book designation, 2000, both for The Unin-Elivia Savadiervited Guest and Other Jewish Holiday Tales; Children's Choice designation, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council, 1995, for Hotter than a Hot Dog!; American Booksellers Association Pick of the List designation, 1996, for A Bedtime Story; Sydney Taylor Award, 1997, for The Mysterious Visitor, and 2003, for Jewish Holidays All Year Round; Nebraska Golden Sower Award nomination, Americas Award commended book, and named a Top Children's Book for a Global Society, Boise State University—Idaho, all for I Love Saturdays y domingos; Best Books for Babies designation, Center for Early Literacy, 2002, for Boo Hoo Boo-Boo; Jewish Book Council Award finalist, 2002–03, for Jewish Holidays All Year Round.



No Haircut Today, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2005.


Marjorie Weinman, The Best Place for Imagining, Silver Burdett (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1992.

Juanita Havill, Treasure Nap, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1992.

A little boy with a tangle of hair is due for a haircut from his hairdresser mother, but manages to postpone the dreaded event for another day in Savadier's endearing picture book No Haircut Today!

Andrew Clements, Billy and the Bad Teacher, Picture Book Studio (Natick, MA), 1993.

Nina Jaffe, The Uninvited Guest and Other Jewish Holiday Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

Stephanie Calmenson, Hotter than a Hot Dog!, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

Las nanas de abuelita, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Libby Hathorn, Grandma's Shoes, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

Mem Fox, A Bedtime Story, Mondo (Australia), 1996.

Diane Hoffmeyer, Mama Mabena's Magic, Little Library/Cambridge University Press (South Africa), 1996.

Nina Jaffe, The Mysterious Visitor: Stories of the Prophet Elijah, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Norma Farber, I Swim an Ocean in My Sleep, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1997.

Marilyn Singer, Boo hoo Boo-boo, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

Alma Flor Ada, I Love Saturdays y domingos, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Ilene Cooper, Jewish Holidays All Year Round: A Family Treasury, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.

Joyce Sidman, When I Am Young and Old, Millbrook Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Leslea Newman, The Eight Nights of Chanukah, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2005.

Illustrator for juvenile and English-as-a-second-language publications for numerous publishers, including Harcourt, D. C. Heath, Children's Television Workshop, U.S. Kids Magazine, Walker, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press.


I Love Saturdays y domingos was adapted as a video recording, Disney Educational, 2002.


Born and educated in South Africa before relocating to the United States, Elivia Savadier is an illustrator who has also moved into the author's chair with her picture book No Haircut Today! A "touching and playful story" about young Dominic's first haircut, according to School Library Journal reviewer Wanda Meyers-Himes, the book addresses the trauma that confronts many young children when confronted with a pair of sharp scissors wielded by a white-smocked stranger in a barber shop. In Savadier's simple tale, Dominic is lucky: his mother is a hairdresser, but he still hopes to postpone the inevitable. The author/illustrator's "graphic black strokes, jabs and squiggles" enhance her "spare" text, which a Kirkus Reviews noted combines varied fonts, italics, and other typesetting techniques to "mirror … the maniacal mishmash" of the young boy's unruly locks.

In her illustrations for books by other authors, Savadier has been praised for creating gentle watercolor art that reassures young picture-book fans. Praising Alma Flor Ada's I Love Saturdays y domingos, which was also adapted for video, School Library Journal contributor Barbara Auerbach cited Savadier's "colorful, homey watercolor illustrations," while a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that the paintings "highlight the diversity and similarity" in Ada's multicultural tale. Savadier's "full-page, predominantly joyful pencil-and-watercolor works open each story" of Nina Jaffe's Stories of the Prophet Elijah, in the view of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, and her work for Ilene Cooper's Jewish Holidays All Year Round: A Family Treasury, the illustrator created what School Library Journal contributor Martha Link described as "lively pen-and-ink and color sketches of diverse families celebrating." While Cooper did not work directly with Savadier on this volume, a project sponsored by the Jewish Museum, her reaction was positive. "I didn't see Elivia's contributions until the book was almost finished," Cooper explained to Booklist colleague Stephanie Zvirin. "I was really pleased. I think her pictures are so joyous … reminding readers that Judaism is a religion whose adherents come from many places.

"Savadier told SATA: "I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and spent my first twenty years there, growing up in a sensuous atmosphere, filled with warmth, color, luminous light and shifting moods.

"This seaport is on Africa's southernmost tip, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. It is bathed in a Mediterranean climate with aquamarine seas and purple mountains, named Lion's Head, Devil's Peak, and the Twelve Apostles. Cradled by the town, magnificent flat-topped Table Mountain becomes awe-inspiring when a cascading waterfall of clouds tumbles over it, threatening to engulf the city before it evaporates.

"Even growing up in an apartheid era, different South African languages and dialects filled the air; as did people descended from Africa, Asia, and Europe fill the streets. It remains a life-force that I carry deeply with me.

"I have also lived in Greece, England, and now the United States, and have bicycled through various parts of Holland, Belgium, France, and Italy.

"I am married to a South African who practices both family medicine and jazz with ardour. Our house has a homely and messy studio atmosphere, a lush garden, and is shared with two terriers and a cat who takes dog walks with us."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, August, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Boo Hoo Boo-boo, p. 1976; October 1, 2002, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Jewish Holidays All Year Round, p. 345.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2001, review of I Love Saturdays y domingos, p. 1680; April 15, 2002, review of Boo Hoo Boo-boo, p. 579; April 15, 2005, review of No Haircut Today!, p. 481.

Publishers Weekly, August 19, 1996, review of A Bedtime Story, p. 67; February 24, 1997, review of The Mysterious Visitor, p. 83; December 10, 2001, review of I Love Saturdays y domingos, p. 69; September 20, 2002, review of Jewish Holidays All Year Around, p. 68; September 26, 2005, review of The Eight Nights of Chanukah.

School Library Journal, December, 1996, Liza Bliss, review of A Bedtime Story, p. 92; June, 1997, Susan Pine, review of The Mysterious Visitor, p. 108; Janu-ary, 2002, Ann Welton, review of I Love Saturday, p. 89; March, 2003, Martha Link, review of Jewish Holidays All Year Round, p. 216; June, 2005, Wanda Meyers-Himes, review of No Haircut Today!, p. 126.


Elivia Savadier Home Page, http://www.savadierstudio.com (December 20, 2005).

Additional topics

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