Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing


(Written on the 12th July, 2019, back when I couldn’t see)

It often surprises me when people think I am younger than I am, or when I am in the company of people my age and I feel younger than they are. Not physically, mind you – the face reveals everything. No matter how much we may try to hide it. But younger in spirit.

And then a day quite like this one takes place – the results of high-level English exams arrive, for children I’d worked with  since their kindergarten age, and who are now 18 or so. And in all that excitement and enthusiasm, I suddenly realise that those children will not be attending lessons again, that those children are not even children any more, and what’s best and most important, I know how much they’ve grown up, and how much still lays before them. And they are so well-directed or life and simply wonderful.

For some people it may seem strange for anybody to get attached to other people’s children like this, children you’d only seen maybe once or twice per week, but this connection is extraordinary and magical, filled with emotions, severe turbulence, changes and progress. And it lasts. And this is where I reach my key point – how this relates to my feeling of youth.

When there are such amazing young people growing up around you, you feel proud that life has given you a chance to be at least partly their guide, their teacher. And now that they are setting out on their journey of adulthood, it gives you a feeling of hope that the world will be a better place, that there will still be good, caring, kind and smart people around. Because you know that they are. And this hope makes you young at heart.

(There is lots more written on this paper, but it is empty and only shows traces of me moving my pen – the pen had run out of ink, but I could not see that then. Never mind. All is well now.)

#teaching #education #love #joy #work #cvrcak

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Children’s books – news!

Just beacuse I was unable to see this past year, does not mean I was dilly-dallying. Here is something new/old!

These are special funbook editions of my already existent stories, Winky’s Colours, Mimi Finds Her Magic, The Good Pirate and Spikes for Hank. They were prepared by me, the author, but I am also a storytelling teacher and creative parent. Apart from the original stories (full but in black&white), these funbooks are also filled with photocopiable worksheets, riddles, colouring pages, songs, games and more. They can be used by parents, educators or children themselves. Each story contains a positive message about growing up, our environment, accepting our differences, friendship and family. Have fun! Read with a kid!
#reading #learning #teaching #childrensbooks #kidlit…/mimi-…/paperback/product-24297998.html


Can you be a good man and a pirate? Anything is possible for love!

It’s easier to let others do stuff for you, but nothing tastes quite as good as when you find it yourself…

There may be something about yourself you don’t like, but everything we are adds to our strengths – we just have to learn to accept ourselves as we are…

Sometimes we all need some more colour in our lives. But nothing ever comes by itself – seek it!
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Keep it simple

So here come the big news…

They say ‘write what you know’, so I took that piece of advice. The Question Mark Method (in my teacher workshops we called it the wh-method) is my new book baby! I am still waiting for the paperback sample, and then you will all see it, and some will receive it, as they have deserved it.

This is a book I am particularly proud of – my first non-fiction book, a short manual about a teaching method I apply in my lessons, which has developed during the last 25 years, and it has been proven to work. The book was written last year, but some life events connected to my health prevented me from publishing it then . A massive thanks to all those who have been waiting patiently, and kept encouraging me not to give it up in the past year. The methods and ideas are applicable to most subjects, not just the one I teach – English.

I spent the past year thinking (I had to) about what matters to me, and, as far as work is concerned, I decided the only thing I could – there is no competition – I love both teaching and writing, and they are both a part of me which I do not wish to constrain. My family knows this best!

I cannot wait to get back into action, both teaching and writing, although I have been keeping alive ideas from both my areas all this time I spent recovering, and as I have been developing them, I keep hoping I will be able to add to them with a touch of a newly acquired maturity, as well as playful gratitude for being alive.

I would like to thank some people who have had impact on this, so let me thank them publicly like this, and if I have not listed someone, feel free to comment;).

To my first teacher of English, Gordana Kovač, thank you for being such a teacher that you made me immediately love learning with games and singing, and for making all my thoughts of the English language always be positive and filled with memories of her smile, song, authority and warmth!

Sadly, I am unable to tag my high-school English teacher (may she rest in peace), but I know my high-school friends will know what I mean. Branka Liebhardt Šupe was more than a teacher – she was the support and inspiration and she convinced me to find courage and become who I am, because in me, as in many of us, she was able to see and encourage what made us unique and good people.

To my (first) boss, Vesna Matulić, thank you for listening to all my beginner woes, and then placing before me challenges which made me grow and develop, both as a person and a teacher, and even as a writer. Thank you for everything. Just a little bit more and I will be back!

I can never thank enough to my family and friends for everything, but there will be plenty of hugs, talks and fun, and that is the most important thing!

Many thanks to my colleagues Dunja Črnko and Tena Jurišić who took on a tough task last year – to scan the book for any and all mistakes with merciless precision! Thank you for all your suggestions and help.

To all my former and present colleagues, both in teaching and writing, thank you for all your support, constructive criticism, patience and kindness!

Just a little bit more. And then some new magic. (And my Čarolarije (Playing with Magic)… more on that soon – I hope.)

paperback @Lulu
ebook @Lulu

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The magic AFTER reading

“Everyone always talks about the magic that happens when a child reads a book or hears the story. I love it, too. But do you want to know what my favourite moment is? It is when children finish reading the story and step out of it, bringing the magic with them into the real world. When they finish Alice in Wonderland and realize there is always more than one way of looking at the world. When they read The Little Prince and know the box can contain anything you wish – it is all up to us. There are so many stories which can empower us all to be better and stronger versions of ourselves. May we all find them and spread that magic to the world. “
(From the afterword of Spikes for Hank,
#parenting #rhyme #story #kidlit #educational #teaching #autumn #winter #ebook

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A fun new children’s funbook!

It is funny how giddy I feel over this new project!

This is a special funbook edition of the story Winky’s Colours, prepared by the author who is also a teacher and a parent. Apart from the original story about Winky, this funbook is also filled with worksheets, riddles, colouring pages and wordgames, and all the illustrations are black&white. Have fun!

Winky is a little penguin who lives his life with a black&white family in nature filled with black, white and gray. All he dreams of are colours! So one day he decides to leave his home and go on an expedition to find colours. He will meet friends, face life-risking adventure and find more than he expected.
#childrensbook #learning

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Rhino Magic

An excerpt from Rhino Magic, my story in Looking into the Abyss:

‘Mummie, mummie, come here quickly! You’ve got to see this!’

Ginger dragged her feet from the kitchen to the living room for the hundredth time that day. There was no gingerly step left in her to justify her name, not after a sleepless night spent trying to get her son’s fever down.

‘What, honey?’

She struggled to sound interested, and failed miserably. Jake was kneeling on the bed and pointing at the TV, his blurred eyes sparkling with excitement, above the gloomy eyebags and thin cheeks.

He used to be so big and strong that they called him their beast. No seven-year-old should have to suffer kidney problems.

‘The man in the show… the documentary… he said the rhino is considered to be the unicorn’s cousin. Unicorn! Can you believe it?’

Thank you for inviting me onto this project, @Paul White.

#love #education #storytelling #quote #charity #books #teaching #story


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Seeing every tree – my book seen through the eyes of Jean Gill

This has been an extraordinary experience – being interviewed by a person I admire. Jean Gill drilled me about my book The Forest of Trees, but more importantly, about some life issues I consider very important.

Seeing every tree

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Another one…

Well, there it is – I have managed to combine my two professional loves, both not really known in my life as big money-makers:) – teaching and writing. Perhaps two minuses can make a plus, huh? Just kidding.

As the note says, this is the rough draft which I will soon be typing into the plan, proofreading and sending off to some beta readers.

As for the teaching method described, it refers to a little mindset I have devised for myself and shared with colleagues. I know it works because it has served me well these last two decades, from the micro to macro lesson planning, and thinking about learning and teaching in general.

Looking forward to revisions and edits, and all the little ‘bloopers’ I probably let slip. Ta-ta for now!

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Well yeah…

Still so much to do… such a great feeling!

#amreading #amwriting #amteaching #KindnessMatters #Thankyou

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Challenged to a video interview

Well, it’s taken a long time but I have finally given in to being challenged to a video interview by author, book promoter, blogger and owner of Readers Review Room – Traci Sanders. 

If you do decide to take a peek, please be gentle with my over-loquacious babble. This is the first time I’ve given such an interview. Time will tell if it’s the last.

video interview link
PS: A huge thanks to Traci for being such a patient and amiable host, as well as for her overall support for the independent authors.
Pic 1: part of the display I set up for the interview

Pic 2: a promo for my new children’s book Spikes for Hank

Pic 3: a promo for The Threshold, my semi-horror novella Traci asked about

Pic 4 : my books, both kidlit and adult, and their links below


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