Today’s Word Power episode is about a child’s life in Sarajevo. We will talk about Zlata’s Diary and learn 10 new words in context.

Audio Podcast

Zlata’s Diary

Late in 1991, Zlata Filipovic, a ten-year-old Bosnian girl of mixed ethnic heritage, began keeping a diary. For two years, through the destruction of her native Sarajevo and an atmosphere of incessant fear, she wrote about the mounting atrocities of a war she could not comprehend.

Having read Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, Zlata decided to imitate her role model by writing to an imaginary friend, Mimmy, about the start of an ordinary school year, piano lessons, and tennis. However, this sheltered, peaceful life soon became balefully dramatic. Rumors of war filtered in from Slovenia and Croatia, and by the spring of 1992, Sarajevo was under siege. Zlata’s entries are filled with details about the hardships of hiding in basement shelters; contending with shortages of food, water, electricity, and fuel; and trying to maintain a mien of normality while friends go into exile and artillery shells shatter her apartment windows.

The utter ordinariness of Zlata’s impressions is what makes her diary heart-rending. In one section she notes that the streets are full of abandoned purebred dogs. In another, she realizes that since the war began, she has outgrown her clothes. She is torn between pleasure and guilt as she discovers a whole new wardrobe in an apartment vacated by her neighbors. Her report of a canceled field trip to a concert is matter-of-fact; since there would be 10,000 children there, a teacher fears that some group might plant a bomb or take them all hostage. Zlata’s writing is engaging and compelling as she tries to keep her spirits up. Only occasionally does she sound disconsolate, as when her friend Nina is killed by a shell.

Zlata grows from an innocent child to a maturing adolescent during the course of her diary. She begins self-consciously as a little girl confiding all to her “best friend”; by the end of her memoir, however, she has become perceptive and even audacious, as when she scornfully comments on politicians:

It’s a war between idiots. … Ordinary people don’t want this division because it won’t make anyone happy, not the Serbs, not the Croats, not the Muslims. But who asks ordinary people? Politics only asks its own people.

The existence of Zlata’s Diary first became public when parts were published in a Croatian edition by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Months later, a French photographer took a copy of the diary to Paris, where an interested publisher pressured authorities into helping Zlata and her parents immigrate to France. The book was an instant best seller in France and the United States, and some of the profits from its sales have been donated to war relief.

Interactive Activities






Crossword Puzzle

PDF Practice Worksheet

Become a patron at Patreon!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<a href="" target="_self">English Plus</a>

English Plus


English Plus Podcast is dedicated to bring you the most interesting, engaging and informative daily dose of English and knowledge. So, if you want to take your English and knowledge to the next level, look no further. Our dedicated content creation team has got you covered!

You may also Like

Three Laws That Must Be Obeyed | Word Power

Three Laws That Must Be Obeyed | Word Power

In this episode, we explore the meaning and usage of ten interesting keywords from a text about Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. We discuss words like “apocryphal,” “behemoth,” “brevity,” “dally,” “depreciate,” “paraphrase,” “reinforce,” “relatively,” “respite,” and “svelte,” and share their definitions and common usage. Join us as we deepen our understanding of these words and learn how to use them effectively in our everyday conversations and writing. Don’t forget to follow our podcast on your favorite platform, share it with others, and leave us a rating and review to help us reach more listeners!

read more
Learning the Ropes | Word Power

Learning the Ropes | Word Power

In this Word Power episode – Learning the Ropes, we discuss 10 commonly used English keywords, including Gothic, impregnable, riven, insularity, elite, reverence, mystique, exhort, sundry, and primal. We define each of these words and explore how they can be used in different contexts. Plus, we offer tips for practicing these words to help expand your vocabulary.

read more
Stick Style | Word Power

Stick Style | Word Power

In this episode of Word Power, we explore the unique architectural style of the Great Camps in the Adirondack Mountains, and learn 10 new vocabulary words that will help you describe and appreciate this historic design. From the rustic charm of the buildings, to the prepossessing interiors filled with luxurious accoutrements, to the patina that has developed over time, we delve into the fascinating world of the Adirondack Great Camps. Along the way, we learn the meaning and usage of 10 new vocabulary words, including redolent, romantic, fastidious, and prototype. Plus, we provide exercises and resources to help you practice and retain these words in your own vocabulary. Don’t miss this engaging and informative episode of Word Power!

read more

Recent Posts

You Can Also Learn from Audio

You Can Also Learn from Audio

Discover the unique benefits of audio learning through podcasts and audio courses. This editorial explores how listening can enhance your knowledge on the go, providing flexibility, enhanced focus, and accessibility.

read more
You Can Learn English from Anything

You Can Learn English from Anything

Discover how learning English can be a fun and engaging adventure with our editorial, “You Can Learn English from Everything.” Explore tips and tricks for picking up the language through movies, music, conversations, games, and everyday activities. Embrace a positive mindset and enjoy the journey as the world becomes your classroom.

read more


Follow Us

Pin It on Pinterest