Zlata Filipović wrote her diary from 1992 to 1993 during the Bosnian war. Located mostly in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Zlata began writing her diary in 1991, just after she began fifth grade. The war began just before her eleventh birthday. Zlata's diary chronicles her daily life and the war's increasing impact on her home town of Sarajevo. Reporter Janine di Giovanni, who met Zlata in 1993 and wrote the introduction to the book, described Zlata as "the Anne Frank of Sarajevo." Like The Diary of Anne Frank, Zlata's diary contains many descriptions of the horrors of war as viewed from the innocent view of a child. Furthermore, both diaries take place during conflicts at least partially motivated by racism and ethnic differences.
In 1993, a small press in Sarajevo published Zlata's diary and released it for the UNICEF week. Following the release of her diary, Zlata became moderately famous. International journalists visited the Filipović family's apartment and interviewed Zlata. In December 1993, the United Nations helped Zlata and her mother move to Paris.
Her diary has also been adapted into a choral work by Anthony Powers.