At first, the immediate impact of the developing Bosnian war appears to have more of an impact on the mom and dad than on their child, Zlata. While Zlata sees the “horrible” images on TV, her life is not immediately interrupted. She can still go to piano lessons and attend choir practice. The fledgling war in Dubrovnik doesn’t dampen her excitement for some impending snow.
Yet Zlata is a smart, complex child. She’s capable of feeling and thinking multiple things at the same time. While she continues to go on with her regular life, she doesn’t block the war out entirely. She confesses that she, like her parents, is worried about the violence in Dubrovnik. The town is where her parents got married. It’s also where their best friend lives.
The war also has an immediate impact on her dad, which, in turn, has an immediate impact on her because there’s the possibility that her dad will have to join the reserves.
When the war reaches Sarajevo, the war has a grave, life-changing impact on Zlata and the city’s children. Once the bombing starts, Zlata and the other children have to stop going to school. Nina, one of the girls who Zlata went to kindergarten with, is killed.