Why is the cellar a place of refuge for Zlata and her family? What does Zlata think of their cellar? How does she change her mind about it? What is her mother afraid of in the cellar?

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Zlata says the cellar is cold, dark, smelly, and revolting—but it's a place of refuge from the war. When bombs rain down on Sarajevo, the cellar offers Zlata and her family some hope of not becoming casualties of the war. One day, she realizes that the "awful cellar" might be...

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Zlata says the cellar is cold, dark, smelly, and revolting—but it's a place of refuge from the war. When bombs rain down on Sarajevo, the cellar offers Zlata and her family some hope of not becoming casualties of the war. One day, she realizes that the "awful cellar" might be the only thing that could save their lives and, to Zlata, it suddenly appears almost warm and nice. It's a place of defense.

She writes that their cellar isn't safe enough and they go to stay with the Bobar family in their cellar next door. Zika calls them when the shooting gets bad and they go across the yard, over a ladder and table, into the building, and to their door. They can't take the street over because of the danger.

Zlata's mother is terrified of mice. This makes it difficult for her to go into the cellar, which is infested with mice.

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