More than Words

Born in Zagreb: A Town Fairytale

Are you always on the lookout for new hangout spots to visit with your kids? In this blogpost, we bring you a slightly different, yet memorable idea to try.

As a child, I always found Zagreb very fascinating. From people-watching in the busy streets, to quiet, untouched parts of the city, I was constantly mesmerized by its beauty and its people. My happiest memories come from exploring all the corners of my hometown, while playing, and spending quality time with my family.

What if I told you there was a book that incorporates all that and even more? Spouses Mirta Combaj Ujlaki & Dalibor Ujlaki are the authors of the children's playbook "Born in Zagreb“, a kid's guide to explore and learn all there is to know about their hometown, in a fun and kid-friendly manner. It comes in two editions – for boys and girls, filled with many learning opportunities about their surroundings and nature. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

How it all began...

Mirta Combaj Ujlaki is a mom of two, wife, and German language teacher from Zagreb. The perks of her everyday family life are documented on her blog, “Mirtini dani“. Everyday games, challenges, excursions, walks in nature, cooking, gatherings, reading picture books & more are the center of her world, and she decided to broadcast all of it for us to see. Mirta is also active on her Instagram account, which is filled with posts about lovely moments with her family. 

Image credit: J. Duval, TZGZ

When her kids are asleep, Mirta gets to reminiscence about every special moment they got to experience that day, and fully grasp the meaning of true happiness – their little ones. All of that ultimately led to starting her blog, where she gets to share that bliss with the online community, offering parenting tips, tricks & ideas for spending quality time with the whole family. Over time, that idea grew into an inventive children's playbook, offering the best bits of Zagreb to explore. 

Let's take a peek into the pages

The idea for this project stemmed from the lack of social activities during the pandemic, where we all suddenly found ourselves at home, with little to nothing to do. This was especially hard on kids – with limited travel and outings, Mirta & Dalibor came up with a way to make it a bit easier on them. What got them thinking is that they noticed that a change in approach changes children's whole perspective on familiar spaces. In their eyes, even their everyday playground can be a great new adventure every single day, if you guide them the right way.

Image credit: Mirtini dani

This playbook takes you on small adventures through 7 sights, or locations in Zagreb, and gives you ideas about how to spend a very exciting day in a town you already know very well, in a completely new way. This way, alongside their dearest ones, your young ones will start paying attention to details they may not have noticed ever before. From the water in the fountains, an angel on one of the city's roofs, to learning why Tomic street used to be called Bregovita, and how to spend the whole afternoon just in the Upper town – it is possible!

The perks of an illustrated Zagreb tour guide

Children love exploring the world and everything in it! Is there a better opportunity to familiarize them with their hometown than this? The playbook serves as a guide for kids, teaching them to observe changes in nature, changes around them, situations in everyday life, places already familiar to them, in a completely new way, and through the process, learning to appreciate everything around them. The picture book contains spaces to insert photos from the most beautiful places in our city, and spaces to write down their impressions. For starters, parents/grandparents can photograph their children, develop photographs, and paste them inside the picture book, like a small journal, and next to them they can write down their most beautiful impressions and memories from sightseeing. Pretty impressive, don't you agree?

Image credit: Mirtini dani

Along with that content, you can find a picturesque dictionary for the youngest, who may not be able to read yet, but can still participate in touring the city. The playbook is essentially a children's memoir, because it contains a child's earliest memories and information, such as date and place of birth. In addition, the playbook is filled with beautiful illustrations designed by Mirta's husband, Dalibor. They thought about every detail!

Image credit: Mirtini dani

The point of this whole endeavour is to bring children joy and a new perspective, right here in Zagreb, while being with their loved ones, and making new memories. Sounds like a win-win for me! You can find out more about the playbook and the idea behind it on the website: Enjoy the sunny days and feel like a true Zagrebian!

Header image credit: J. Duval, TZGZ

Author: Ayna Emina Kapetanović