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

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  8,922 ratings  ·  658 reviews
When Zlata’s Diary was first published at the height of the Bosnian War, it became an international bestseller and was compared to The Diary of Anne Frank, both for the freshness of its voice and the grimness of the world it describes. It begins as the day-today record of the life of a typical eleven-year-old girl, preoccupied by piano lessons and birthday parties. But as ...more
Paperback, revised, 240 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Penguin (first published December 7th 1993)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Steven Godin
I always find it difficult to rate diaries, especially that of a child, and you have to take into account diaries were never meant to be works of literature. This was a sweet, poignant, and sometimes devastating account of a young girl's thoughts recorded in a diary when she was caught up in the Bosnian war between 1991 and 1993. Zlata’s Diary consists of first-hand entries of her daily life and that of her family beginning in 1991, when her time was mostly normal and peaceful and fun, before th ...more
Luke G
Sep 19, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: people not trying to figure out what was going on between the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.
April 17. We got the UN relief package today. YO BABY YO, as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air would say. Tried to watch Murphy Brown but the sound was drowned out by shelling (I know, MORE shelling!) and then the rabbit ears were exploded by a sniper's bullet. RUDE! Pepsi just came out with limited-edition cans with Linda Evangelista on them. I wish I could get one. I haven't tasted processed sugar in over five months.

Got an A in math, biology, and piano! The piano was exploded so had to mime the re
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
There's not much you can say about this book. Wartime diaries are a very effective way of communicating what people suffer through on a daily basis. This book was clearly written by an intelligent and sensitive young woman. It was interesting to read her thoughts on being compared to Anne Frank--she didn't want to be compared to her since she didn't want to suffer the same fate. That to me was an insightful comment about people being more than just news items.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Zlata’s Diary is literally Zlata’s diary. Zlata lives in Sarajevo and starts keeping a diary in September 1991, not long before her 11th birthday. She excels in school, enjoys fashion magazines, and watches Murphy Brown on television. Six months later, she is recording the tragedies of war.

Reading about war from a child’s perspective is an interesting experience. Zlata mentions politics several times, writing that “politics has started meddling around. It has put an ‘S’ on Serbs, an ‘M’ on Musli
Why do I like this book so much? I really do.
Who is able to convene in this way all the pain, the tragedy and humanity and inhumanity of war, without any fancy shmancy false talk, without any presumptuousness, any falsity or hidden agenda? Simply by scanning the events that matter, from when you understand that this is different. It’s not fiction! This is 1st person singular non - fiction. Nothing’s invented. When this got to my brain, I cried… even though so many years have passed since I had
Apr 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
melodramatically edited and ghost-written. zlata's diary may have been a poignant, emotional, and honest account of a girl during war-time, but opportunist publishers seeking to maximize the emotional impact and emphasize the precocious "from the mouths of babes" aspect of a book about war written by a child have added improbable narrative and skewed the prose in a falsely cathartic way. the editing and doubtful translation have created something maudlin and cheap in an effort to over-simplify a ...more
Angela Watts
Jan 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I would not really recommend this book to anyone. Yes, it portrays the awful consequences of war in Sarajevo during 1991. It is Zlata's diary, and shows the awfulness of war, of course. But this book was not a good read. By no means, do I think war is easy, or that being in war you can pretend all is well. But God was not known in this book- Zlata wasn't a Christian, or certainly did not appear to be so. She mentioned killing herself a few times..... War is not easy, it sucks, but.... this book ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story was so touching, yet so heartbreaking at the same time. The young girl who wrote this diary was in the Sarajevo war at the time. One of the main themes in this book, in my opinion, is how wars can change people. Zlata, the author, certainly changed in many ways. I can feel her hope diminishing as time went on and things went worse. Before the war, she wrote about school, friends, and wanting a pet, just like the rest of us. As an eleven-year-old, she sound very innocent and carefree. ...more
It is very difficult to "rate" a book that is someone's personal diary. When writing a diary one is not usually thinking about telling and explaining everything in detail. It's a repository of one's thoughts and feelings. That is indeed what this book is....a place that an 11/12 year old girl went to write what she was feeling during the war that was tearing her homeland apart. Her city of Sarajevo was being bombed day and night.

I was very hesitant to give this book even 3 stars. Although let m
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Girls
I feel bad for not really liking this book... It is a diary of a girl in Sarajevo in the 90's during the Bosnian War.. Don't get me wrong, the diary is interesting, but I was hoping for something deeper and more descriptive.. You know.. Like Anne Frank. The entries are very repetitive, Bombing. Shooting. No electricity.. She didn't really go in to details about herself, or describe the house, or really any details at all.. I think the real greatness of this book is that at the time it brought a ...more
Apryl Anderson
It was interesting to revisit this 23 years on; the more things change, the more they stay the same, and all the more occasion to repeat the phrase. What will come out of Syria? Has the "Anne Frank of Aleppo" already been found, and how soon until the world gobbles up her words? What do we do with the cry of the heart? Who can answer? Who can save? Who can stop the "kids" at play when the children are caught up in the violence? This book makes me angry and disconsolate at my own lack of power, y ...more
Natalie Hogle
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
extremely sad and heart breaking, but overall an amazing read.
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zlata’s Dairy
Filipovic, Zlata

“A blast of gunfire!” doesn’t that sound scary. Have you ever heard gunfire before? If you have how does it sound? Did it sound loud and annoying or did it sound nice and peaceful? I think it probably sounded loud and annoying.

Zlata’s Dairy about a girl named Zlata Filipovic whose child life was ruined by a war in Sarajevo. Before the war started in Sarajevo, Zlata was living a great life. She took a lot of classes. She took music class, solfeggio class, tenni
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Zlata's Diary" is about an eleven year old girl living with her parents during a war in Bosnia (Sarajevo). "Zlata's Diary" is similar to "The Diary of Anne Frank." Both take place during a war, but Anne's was timed way before Zlata's was. And Anne died, Zlata didn't. Before the war started, her diary consisted of Birthday Parties, friends, school, piano lessons, and being able to go out and play without having to worry about a shell falling on their heads. But when the war started, she started ...more
Naeema Abedin
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Zlata's diary goes through so much for girl that is so young. The war started when she was 11 years old and she lived through the war for two years. She went through many shooting, shelling, bombing, etc. Zlata made me realize how lucky I am not living through a terrible war. I really admire Zlata's personality. She is very kind. For example, in her diary she writes, "It looks to me as though these politics mean Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. But they are all peo ...more
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

*3.5 star rating*

As you're reading this review, you'll most likely be suspecting that this is very much like Anne Frank's story. And this is not fiction, either, so don't make some masterful plan to prove me wrong, hah. *jokes* But I must say that Zlata's Diary cannot utterly even try to compete with Anne's diary at all, since this lacked so much, and had too much that took out the innocence and realism that
Mary Louise
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Zlata's Diary is the true story of Zlata Filipovic, a young girl who lived and suffered through the terrible siege in Sarajevo in the early 1990s. She received this diary before the siege began, and it's striking to see the difference in her writings from before and during the war. Before the siege, she was like any ordinary 5th grade girl- she studied, did well in school, took music lessons, watched television shows, and enjoyed family vacations. After the siege, her diary takes a turn to delve ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I'm really not ready to review this just yet. I'm still digesting.
1991-93 were years of tremendous upheaval in my own life, so all I really remember of the war in Sarajevo and surroundings was that you couldn't get a world map for love nor money here in my city (I was told things were changing too fast, they weren't being printed until the map printers found out what was where and who it belonged to). And that the conflict seemed to go on forever. Like I would know--I wasn't there. Zlata was.

Saqib Moosa
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An account of the details of wartime life and how difficult it is. As it was written by Zlata who was a child then, there isn't much details of why the war was happening or where the latest front was, who the warring parties were etc. just a pure view of how she perceived it and how much it upset her to be away from family, to have her best friend die at the age of 11, and how much this traumatized her.

It also reflected how tolerant her surroundings were as many of her friends were from differe
This book is about an 11 year old girl who lived through the Bosnian war, writing down her thoughts for nearly 3 years.

This is the 2nd time I've read this book, the first time when I was 7, so understandingly, most of the content I'd either forgotten, or not understood. I enjoyed the book the first time I read it, but this time not so much.

This time I found it to be very repetitive and very boring. I wasn't particularly attached or bothered by the events in the book this time. I think had Zlata
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zlata is ten years old when she begins to keep a diary. She has a typical life full of friends, school, after school activities, and vacations prior to the start of the shelling in Sarajevo. Her life changes when her home in Sarajevo comes under attack during the Bosnian War. In her diary, Zlata describes how the war if effecting her family and friends, such as a boy who was killed in the park near her home and the lack of electricity and water in her apartment. Zlata's diary is compared to that ...more
Daksha Chandra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing an Audiobook here is a recent departure for me, as this is just the second time I have done so. I recently discovered a collection of approximately twenty audio books that we have moved from house to house for years. It is time that most of them were moved on as tapes are rather out dated, although I might keep the classics. My first audio book review was back in April and I was planning to review about one a month. So much for good intentions, somehow the plan never materialised until ...more
I've had this book since I was 10 (29 now) but had not read it. Having completed it, I am glad I waited until this era of the internet so I was able to find out what happened to Zlata after the book ends. The ending is very abrupt, I just turned the page and the only printing that followed was a note that this edition was printed specifically for schools. I suppose that is always a possibility when it is a diary being printed, especially a diary of a living person during a current event, as I im ...more
Lauren Hopkins
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I go back and read this every few years after first reading it as a child in 1996. As much as you could learn about the war and the politics behind it, you can't truly understand it unless you hear the stories of those who lived it. It's why I also love Barbara Demick's "Logavina Street"...but Zlata's diary is even more special because it's written by a child. Zlata was 11 when she began writing in 1991, at first about grades and birthday parties, and only really paying attention to world happen ...more
Apryl Anderson
(04.04.1994), What a disturbing book! I think about the crises I encountered at the ripe age of 12… my life read more like Cici’s: heartaches for Toms, etc. Anyway, this is a genuine piece of history. Anything else? It doesn’t change anything, does it? How ironic that Zlata refers to the politicians as “kids”— it’s maturity that a child should recognize utterly childish behavior. Why do these ‘kids’ try to kill each other by attacking the innocents? Even Evil should recognize the uselessness of ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, diary
This book is a very quick read. It was a gift from my grandparents; Zlata interviewed my grandfather for a documentary, and she autographed a book for me as a gift. I knew nothing about the Bosnian War, so I did a bit of cursory research while reading the book.

What makes Zlata's Diary compelling is Zlata's ignorance. Thus the descent from an idyllic childhood to a spartan existence occurs with little buildup or contextual knowledge. Zlata's naïveté discernibly dissipates as her journal spends mo
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I read this book several times as a child and it's interesting to reread it as an adult. This remains a powerful and moving account. Zlata is very young when she begins writing: barely 11, and she doesn't understand or care about politics. Her life is depicted as a happy and privileged one until the war in Bosnia comes to Sarajevo. What's notable about this account is Zlata's age and the things she picks up on: the physical details of living through a siege, such as lack of food and light, and t ...more
Jayme(the ghost reader)
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was interested in this book since I read "The Freedom Writers". The book didn't disappoint. I liked Zlata and all she had to overcome. My first thought when she started writing her diary was : this girl watches alot of TV. She was a happy go lucky preteen. Then the war hit and I watched her change emotionally and mentally. She watched her firends move away. She had to endure bombing, no electricity, or water or gas, sometimes for days. Both of her beloved pets have died. She compared herself t ...more
Ashley Jesus
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, when you're put into a tough situation, you need to grow up, be mature, take care of others before yourself. Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic is the story of a typical 13 year old journal writing girl, except for the fact that she has to deal with one thing most teenagers don't. Zlata lives in Sarajevo, where a war is currently going on. Zlata must grow up and stay strong for her family and friends. She is taken out of school, piano lessons, and forced to temporarily skip through her ...more
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Zlata Filipović is a Bosnian-Croat writer and author of the book Zlata's Diary.
From 1991 to 1993, she wrote in her diary (called "Mimy") about the horrors of war in Sarajevo, through which she was living. Some news agencies and media outlets labeled her the "Anne Frank of Sarajevo". Unlike Frank, however, Zlata and her family all survived and escaped to Paris in 1993 where they stayed for a year.

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