A Sarajevo childhood

March 22, 2022

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Heya <<First Name>>,

When my friend Dzana Serdarevic read last week’s newsletter about “The Little Prince” — and how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote it in the middle of World War II — she sent me an email about her early childhood in Sarajevo during wartime.

Dzana gave me permission to share her story. It’s below, along with illustrations from two upcoming books she’s doing for us.

Sometimes the best things come from really dark times, and [Saint-Exupéry] made something beautiful in that horrifying period.

I don’t remember the war [in the former Yugoslavia] because I was born in 1992 in September and the war started the same year, in April. My parents didn’t want to leave the city, hoping it would end fast but it lasted almost 4 years. 

We lived near the cathedral in the Old Town, in the street that was good hiding from grenades. But it wasn’t good for my mom’s friend who lived in the building across from ours. A grenade fell there while her 4-year-old son was sleeping. He didn’t survive.

This is one of many horror stories I heard. I know a lot of people lost loved ones. Thank God my family survived. Every day was a minefield. You never knew if you were going to be shot or a victim of grenade.

My dad didn’t go into army because he wore glasses and without them he couldn’t see anything, so he stayed working (he was a lawyer) and going to bring us water and Red Cross food. Thank God my parents survived, and my brother. I was really lucky.

I watched every movie and documentary about that period … I read books, watched theater and every time I did that I cried. I couldn’t imagine how anybody could be so cruel. 

I will sound naive but why can’t different people get along?

I never draw anything to record that period. Other artists who survived have done that in a really good way.

I am too positive and I want my art to spread that positivity too.

Thank you for the gift of your art, Dzana.

Happy reading,

… who believe that reading with kids can change the world for the better. 

In our current story … these are your meander rights

“Davey Dobbs SHOULD NOT” concludes this week, but you can read the story from start to finish via the links below.

Our new story (“Davey Dobbs SHOULD NOT”) concludes this week.

“Davey Dobbs SHOULD NOT” is about a boy who, for the first time in his life, starts doing things he’s not supposed to, like starting stegosaur stampedes.

It would all be a great adventure if he wasn’t being chased by soccer coaches, violin teachers, and math tutors, all of whom are busy telling him that whatever he’s doing, he SHOULD NOT be doing it.

Part 1: The trouble started with a butterfly.
Part 2: Davey Dobbs isn’t used to having thoughts of his own.
Part 3: Davey wanders out of the story.
Part 4: Davey gets himself surrounded.
Part 5: Davey starts a stegosaur stampede
Part 6: Davey rides a rocket cycle in space.
Part 7: Davey captains a pirate ship.
Part 8: Davey runs out of meanders.
Part 9: Davey gets trapped.
Part 10: Davey finds the letters he’s looking for.
Part 11: What IS his story?
Part 12: Jetpacks!
Part 13: (Almost) everybody flies away
Part 14: Davey’s parents climb into an air canoe
Part 15: These are your meander rights

Look for a brand new story next week!

New: A girl with brains

Scarlet Bone is a zombie girl who’s about to have the most unforgettable unearthday ever.

It’s a day where she’ll gain friends, make enemies, meet a wolf, and take a journey to her grandma’s house for an encounter with something really scary: growing up.

Buy “Scar and the Wolf” >
<<First Name>>, we’d love to know what you think of this weekly story email. Just hit reply to talk to us.
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