Ivana Bukejlović is a librarian in the Doboj National Library, and is currently working at the department for readers up to 14 years, or children’s department. In addition, she also works on organising promotions and cultural activities in the library. Her biggest interest is children.

Ivana drew my attention thanks to the picture-book “The Ugly Duckling is not a Swan”. It is a picture book, or rather the first picture book with texts and illustrations whose authors are children. Ivana had prepared it or she takes the credit that this picture-book came to existence.

I talked to her in the Doboj National Library building, which is a beautiful, new building, restored after the major floods of 2014. Dobojs now have a very nice library that not only allows them to find books they will read, but can also spend their time efficiently in visiting book exhibitions and promotions that are more and more common thanks to new space available.

Ivana Bukejlović:

It is a picture-book containing six award-winning works from the competition on the occasion of the International Day of Children’s Books.

And what this is about? I always enjoy organising some unusual events and to activate children creatively. Since the International Day of Children’s Books is marked on the day of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, the author of “The Ugly Duckling”, a fairy tale that I’m not saying we all know but is commonly known. I wanted to break the flow of his book at one point and give children the possibility to continue the story. I asked them what would happen if the ugly duckling did not turn into a swan. Would it turn into something else or nothing at all? And I said – here, it’s up to you, your will, your imagination, end it in a drawing or a story.

And so they responded and there were plenty of works. We had a commission that selected the works and that was supposed to be it, awards were handed over. But I wasn’t happy. I wanted something more when I saw how hard they tried. Then I thought – why not print it? I proposed it to our administration and it was accepted. The Doboj Library has been engaged in publishing for a long time, but this is the first printed story authored by children.

Ivana also holds a “Required Reading Class” in the Library, and a year ago she started running workshops for children. There are currently ten children and there are still many interested ones.

I do all sorts of things with my ten children. We of course read there, but we do various things and we always somehow link it with some topic. Let’s say on the day of our town, we make Ćiro,  our town’s symbol and learn a little about the Doboj Fortress.

You promised to give us several of your recommendations to children and young people to read, for those who like to spend time reading.

For somewhat younger ones, kindergarten or preschool age, I’d recommend Zunzara’s Palace by Brano Cvetković.

I can’t do without Branko Ćopić, what can I do, and Hedgehog’s Home.

Now, from the editions of Ela’ World, it is Karen McCombi “The Past, the Present, and the Loud, Loud Girl”. This is a bit unusual book, let’s say for girls though I don’t like classifying like that.

This is a book for everyone. It is a book that is especially dear to me, by Uroš Petrović, “Aven i jazopas u Zemlji Vauka”. I recommend it to both young and old. It’s an adventure, saving of the work, and full of miraculous creatures.

Do you enjoy writing and are you writing yourself more and more often?

My works have been published by Detinjarije, the children’s portal Mama Klik (Frozen and I or How can one roll of toilet paper freeze the world!) and Lola magazine in Banja Luka, Kultiviši se from Serbia – 25 interesting things about David Bowie and the story of Lazarus.

But I am particularly pleased that the Novi Sad magazine Kult published my text on “Zoran Živković’s Literary Creation”.

The text titled Frozen and I or How can one roll of toilet paper freeze the world! tells how precious is every moment dedicated to children’s upbringing and is published on web portals of Detinarije and mamaklik.com.



The question I asked everyone, so I’ll ask you as well – do you have any ideas how to keep young people here, or did you ever consider moving abroad?

I don’t feel like moving away from here, to make that clear, but then again you have that other economic side that of course is most likely to encourage you to go.

You can follow Ivan at ivanabukejlovic.net