Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo

by Zlata Filipovic

Paperback, 1994


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Call number

J Fi


Scholastic Inc (1994), 200 pages


The diary of a thirteen-year-old girl living in Sarajevo, begun just before her eleventh birthday when there was still peace in her homeland.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
In 1991 Zlata was living a normal life. She went to school, she had friends over for a birthday party, she watched MTV and sitcoms.

When war broke out in Sarajevo, Zlata's life changed forever. Suddenly she was thrust into a world where bombs pummeled her city every day. Innocent people were shot by
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snipers, so it was unsafe to leave the house. Schools were closed. Electricity, gas, and water only came on intermittently. Zlata and her family had done nothing wrong. They were like thousands of other Bosnians, caught in the crossfires of a war, trying their hardest just to survive.

One thing that really hit home for me is that Zlata is just about my age. On the very day that I was throwing my 10th birthday party, Zlata was carrying water from wells because they had no running water. She was receiving packages from the UN with "luxuries" like soap and cheese.

Zlata's descriptions are amazing. She writes about when springtime comes, but you can't tell because they've cut down all the trees. There are no trees to blossom, no birds to burst into song. This is a sobering book and an inspiring one.
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LibraryThing member SmithSJ01
diary written from a children's point of view just before the outbreak of war in Sarajevo. Zlata is 11 and likes all the things an 11 year old should: school, friends, pets, music and simply being a young girl.

She was already writing her diary before war broke out. When she was writing about her
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experiences it was refreshing to read them from a child's point of view. However, as another reviewer says below it becomes disjointed and there are so many people mentioned. Then again, it was written by a child. She writes incredibly well, with adult insight at times.

A short read for an adult, a more complex read for a child in my opinion. However, the cover is a bit dated now and might put a lot of people off.
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LibraryThing member DrJane
A child's account of life in Bosnia during the conflict.
LibraryThing member jon1lambert
I've read several books like this recently: the world closes in and isolates an individual and/or a race. There was Dora Bruder; then there was Helene Berr Journal; then Brodeck's report by Philippe Claudel; then this young girl's account of a shrinking Sarajevo in 1992/93.
LibraryThing member coffeeandtea
I reviewed this book for a possible project at Fulmore Middle School. Although not a very complex book (with respect to reading level) middle school students will connect with many aspects of the author's life, especially the many references to American culture such as Michael Jackson, Fast Food
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Restaurants, and television shows.
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LibraryThing member Venqat65
Eye-opening account on the war in Bosnia as seen from the eyes of a child living in Sarajevo.
LibraryThing member jshillingford
I was required to read this for a college course my freshman year. I recall how everyone compared it to "The Diary of Anne Frank" (how could they not?). Unfortunately, the comparison does not do this book any favors - Anne's Diary is more compelling, and more horrific. Zlata is a modern girl in the
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sense that she is aware of herself, and the world. Further, she lives with her family in her home - yes, the city is suffering the consequences of the Bosnian war, but she is not in hiding, quite literally forced to be near-silent all the time to avoid discovery. Two very different girls, with two very different fates.

However, taken on its own terms, this is a worthwhile read that gives a glimpse into a modern conflict through the eyes of a child. I can see a lot of value in having students in high school read both books - to see how war is different now, and also so very much the same. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member smheatherly2
Plot: Zlata, an eleven-year-old girl is living during the war in Sarajevo. She is unable to leave because her father is in the military police and he is forbidden to do so. She sees the war unfold in front of her eyes and watches helplessly as many of her friends and family are able to make their
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escape, while she is forced to suffer through it.

Themes: Survival and endurance; holding onto hope

Characterization: Zlata develops throughout the book from a scared little girl to a girl who has been forced to grow up too faced. She is angered by the politics around her and wants people to understand that they are not taking into consideration the innocent citizens who are forced to endure this horrible life.

Rating: I would rate this an 8 out of 10. It was interesting reading about a girl and her survival, however, it does not promote the student to understand why the war was taking place to begin with (she briefly mentions the Serbs, Croatians and Muslims but never goes into depth).

Genre: Non-fiction, Diary
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LibraryThing member Yona
I can't believe I just tripped over this among the books my local library was clearing out. It was such a part of some of the things that I've been reading that it was one of those things that makes me wonder about coincidences.

I liked it very much. This kind of perspective on things that are going
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on around the world has become important to me and Zlata did a good job of putting her feelings on paper. It won't however challenge The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. In that age range the three year (was it three) difference seemed immense as far as how they expressed themselves. It definitely affected me though.
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LibraryThing member snash
This book provides a view of life in a war zone. The grinding deprivation and fear are partially compensated by the community of neighbors, friends, and family who band together to help each other out. Since it's a child's diary, any sense of the why's are not there (but then that may be more
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realistic. Maybe no one knows).
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LibraryThing member indygo88
It's hard to rate & review a diary. I found this enlightening, given my relative ignorance in respect to wartime in Sarajevo in the early 1990's. However, it wasn't what I would call a gripping read. But then again, it was written by an 11-year-old. I did find the included photos interesting, and
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after finishing the book I of course had to go google Zlata Filipovic. There are a few interesting Youtube videos of her in recent years. She seems to be very well-spoken and worldly.
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LibraryThing member benuathanasia
Meh. Zlata writes without the level of emotion required to draw me in. Quite a bit of it was just a relaying of events. She seems largely disconnected from what was going on around her.


Original publication date


Physical description

200 p.


0590487922 / 9780590487924


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