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

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

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by Zlata Filipovic
     
 

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In a voice both innocent and wise, touchingly reminiscent of Anne Frank's, Zlata Filipovic's diary has awoken the conscience of the world. Now thirteen years old, Zlata began her diary just before her eleventh birthday, when there was peace in Sarajevo and her life was that of a bright, intelligent, carefree young girl. Her early entries describe her friends, her new…  See more details below

Overview

In a voice both innocent and wise, touchingly reminiscent of Anne Frank's, Zlata Filipovic's diary has awoken the conscience of the world. Now thirteen years old, Zlata began her diary just before her eleventh birthday, when there was peace in Sarajevo and her life was that of a bright, intelligent, carefree young girl. Her early entries describe her friends, her new skis, her family, her grades at school, her interest in joining the Madonna Fan Club. And then, on television, she sees the bombs falling on Dubrovnik. Though repelled by the sight, Zlata cannot conceive of the same thing happening in Sarajevo. When it does, the whole tone of her diary changes. Early on, she starts an entry to "Dear Mimmy" (named after her dead goldfish): "SLAUGHTERHOUSE! MASSACRE! HORROR! CRIMES! BLOOD! SCREAMS! DESPAIR!" We see the world of a child increasingly circumscribed by the violence outside. Zlata is confined to her family's apartment, spending the nights, as the shells rain down mercilessly, in a neighbor's cellar. And the danger outside steadily invades her life. No more school. Living without water and electricity. Food in short supply. The onslaught destroys the pieces she loves, kills or injures her friends, visibly ages her parents. In one entry Zlata cries out, "War has nothing to do with humanity. War is something inhuman." In another, she thinks about killing herself. Yet, with indomitable courage and a clarity of mind well beyond her years, Zlata preserves what she can of her former existence, continuing to study piano, to find books to read, to celebrate special occasions - recording it all in the pages of this extraordinary diary.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A graphic firsthand look at the war in Sarajevo by a Croatian girl whose personal world has collapsed, this vivid, sensitive diary sounds an urgent and compelling appeal for peace. Filipovic begins her precocious journal in autumn 1991 as a contented 10-year-old preoccupied with piano and tennis lessons and saturated with American movies, TV shows, books and rock music. Soon the bombs start falling; her friends are killed by shrapnel or snipers' bullets; her family's country house burns down, and they subsist on UN food packages, without gas, electricity or water, as thousands of Sarajevans die. Filipovic, whose circle of friends included Serbs, Croats and Muslims, blames the former Yugoslavia's politicians for dividing ethnic groups and playing hell with people's lives. She and her parents escaped to Paris, and her diary, originally published in Croat by UNICEF, was reissued in France and has already been much written about in the U.S. Photos not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing; film rights to Universal; first serial to Newsweek; author tour (Mar.)
The ALAN Review - Joan F. Kaywell
When Zlata Filipovic, "the Anne Frank of Sarajevo," began her diary entries on September 2, 1991, her life was typical of many eleven-year olds. She enjoyed watching MTV, vacationing with her family, going out for pizza, playing the piano, and going to school. Even after the bombing of Dubrovnic, war was something too far away to be real, believable, or concerned about. By the time she ended her diary entries on October 13, 1992, war was very real and life was anything but typical: a wrapped tomato was the "nicest `bouquet' she ever got"; rationed electricity was both a blessing and a curse; and the dead, wounded, and constant bombings were a part of her daily existence. Referring to the Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim warlords as "kids," Zlata frequently remarks how she-ironically-has lost her childhood forever. Although Zlata's writing skill is reflective of her age, readers may find it useful to chart names and refer to maps to assist with their reading.
Library Journal
In September 1991, at the beginning of a new school year and while war was already as close as Croatia, Filipovic, a ten-year-old girl in Sarajevo began keeping a diary about her school friends, her classes, and her after-school activities. The following spring that childhood world disappeared when the war moved to Sarajevo. Instead of school and parties, her world came to consist of cowering in cellars during the shelling, trying to survive despite intermittent electric power and water supply, and sadness: sadness when friends and relatives left the besieged city for a safer area; sadness when those who remained behind were killed; sadness that her childhood had vanished. Filipovic has no interest in the politics of this war (she dismisses all political leaders contemptuously as ``kids'') but only in its effects on those close to her. The power of her book lies precisely in its concern with innocence lost. Recommended for popular collections.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
School Library Journal
YA-From September 1991 through October 1993, young Zlata Filipovic kept a diary. When she began it, she was 11 years old, concerned mostly with friends, school, piano lessons, MTV, and Madonna. As the diary ends, she has become used to constant bombing and snipers; severe shortages of food, water, and gas; and the end of a privileged adolescence in her native Sarajevo. Zlata has been described as the new Anne Frank. While the circumstances are somewhat similar, and Zlata is intelligent and observant, this diary lacks the compelling style and mature preceptions that gave Anne Frank's account such universality. The entire situation in the former Yugoslavia, however, is of such currency and concern that any first-person account, especially one such as this that speaks so directly to adolescents, is important and necessary. While not great literature, the narrative provides a vivid description of the ravages of war and its effect upon one young woman, and, as such, is valuable for today's YAs.-Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140374636
Publisher:
Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
Publication date:
01/28/2000
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book that you will never forget. An amazing story of hope, sorrow, and courage, it is a very powerful diary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, its one of those that keeps your interest and is hardto put down because u r so curious of what will happen next! I would reccomend this book to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very sad life that Zlata had in Sarajevo. I think she should earn all the stars and a medal because how she kept people reading in the book. How? Well, Zlata is basically a homeless person, and tries to find a way not to think about what was going up above ground.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this book Zlata's Diary is a sad and awesome book to read. Zlata's Diary should get 5 stars plus a gold metal for being so great. That is what I think of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a moving life story of a girl with a heart of gold.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was vrey good. We are readibg it at school for 10 minutes evry day and then writing our own thoughts and views about what happened evry day in our own Journals. You should read this book. You will enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This diary is a great. It really makes you think how blessed you are here in America! Read it today!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. It showed the world through her eyes and what she had to go through every day. 'Zlata's Diary' deserves a metal!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this story is about an eleven- year old girl who lives through an amazing war, with devestating destruction of Sarajevo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Zlata's Diary as a part of an application project for Honors 9 Geography. The refugees fit into the movement of people, one of the five themes of georgraphy (place, human environment interaction, movement, location, and region). The book helped me to understand the five themes of geography along with history of the world around me. Zlata is the author, and what I liked about her style of writing is the way she tells things like it is. She gets to the point making the book exciting and not boring like some of the books out there. To tell you the truth I didn't even relize that the war was only about 7 years ago. This book taught me alot about Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo, and the things that the people of this country went through. Zlata made me fell sad for her, her family, and her country. Losing her friends, relatives and not even being able to go out side and be a child. Even though this book is under my reading level a bit I really enjoyed reading about her life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book as part of an application project for my geography class. This book helped me understand what the civil war in Sarajevo was all about and how awful it really was. It was interesting to see how people lived in Bosnia, and to my surprise they live similar lives as us. Such as watching t.v. listening to music, looking at magazines, going on ski trips... But that all changed when the war broke out. I felt sad that this girls life was dramatically changed because of a stupid war. This was also an easy book to read, it was in diary form with every entry labeled with the date which made it easy to read and stay focused on. i would reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in Bosnia or civil wars, I would also reccomend this book to anyone who doesn't like to read big long books beacause Zlata's Diary is pretty short and easy to read. I am sure that you will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book but it did not keep my attention.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the story about a young girl growing up in Sarajevo. She was a very normal girl, she played piano, went to school, enjoyed sports, hated boys, and even liked to dance. Although when she was around 10, a war broke out near her home. She was forced to move out, live in harsh war conditions without gas, heating, or sometimes even food. All this caused her to feel like she couldn't go on anymore. Living in a country at war isn't very easy at all, especially when as a child you don't even know why the war is being fought. One thing I liked about this book was that it was a diary, the story wasn't altered to make it seem more interesting. It was all true. I really enjoy true stories. This book seemed very sad, but when I really sat down to think about it, it was simply about a girl wanting to get her story out there about the true harsh reality of a war. I guess this book really opened my eyes to what a war is really like. Although this book was great, I didn't like the fact that it was an Anne frank repeat. It was very interesting to read but it seemed like the girl wrote it just to have it published instead of for herself. It didn't seem like a true diary, it seemed like a book. I know what I write about in my diary and what I would write about during hard times, but the things she said just didn't make it seem to sincere. In the end I did enjoy this book though. I would recomend it to a younger crowd of kids though, middle school aged.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the same voice as Anne Frank, Zlata has kept a journal of the painful living, she and her family, had to endure through the through the war in Sarajevo. A book that proves that people do endure through the toughest of times!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing insight to the tragic things the people of Sarejevo faced. It was emotionally moving and had a great impact on how i now view the world i live in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story of her life. It was horrible to read what she went through at such a young age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am proud to be an american. I understand your story. This story is very sad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My review is that this story end differently as I expected. It looks like it didn't have no end. I realize that this was a true story. It was diffrent as the other books I read.It was wierd when the scences changing from one place to another.