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Croatian director Bruna Bajić releases children’s book to help kids with a parent out at sea

Bruna Bajic

Like many kids on the Croatian coast, Bruna Bajić had to adapt to growing up with having a father who was away from home a lot working on the boats out at sea.

Her upbringing was the inspiration for her superb 95-minute film about the life of sailors and their families.

Bruna’s film ‘The Blue Cage’, which also was the first successful documentary crowdfunding campaign in Croatia, was named among the Best 10 Documentaries in Croatia in the year it was released.

Bruna has now released a children’s book.

The book ‘The Blue Horizons and their Guardians’ is a visual and audiobook that provides a connection between the family member away at sea and their children using vivid stories and soothing soundtrack.

The Blue Horizons and their Guardians

The stories in the book, which is set to be released shortly, are done by Bruna, whilst the illustrations are done by Doris Živalj. Music compositions are done by Ozren K. Glaser.

We caught up with Bruna. 

What inspired you to write a children’s book for people who travel a lot, most of all sailors?

Being a child of a sailor for 30 years made me think about that way of living and how it made me feel when I was a child. I remember as a child I felt an emptiness in my heart the moment my father would leave. Sometimes for 3 months, sometimes 4, 6 even a year. Saying see you soon if it means 4 months or more, equals goodbye in children’s minds.

Let’s not forget every human being was a baby before he or she turned into a bad version of themselves. Being aware of the influence we have on our children is not something we have to know by birth, but it is for sure something we have to start thinking about for the sake of a healthier society.

What you engrave in the mind of a child in the first 7 years of their life is precious or it can be a ghost that will hunt their life forever. Feeling of security, giving a right to a child to be ”just a kid” is something to be thought about.

Also there are so many ways to deliver that or take it away during their childhood. The healthier mindset of a parent, the healthier the child. I believe changes start from small things, focused effort and a big heart.

The Blue Horizons and their Guardians

What inspired you to name the book ‘The Blue Horizons and their Guardians’?

”The blue horizons” is standing for something wide and open. Something full of possibilities and yet unknown, which can be easily related to life initiation, the fact that children really have huge horizons ahead of them.

”Their guardians” is standing for a statement ”you’re not alone”. The fact we easily forget, but that’s precious information. Children have so many questions and not one single answer can be as good as the answer they come across in their mental process.  So I think it can be read just as a title, or it can be analysed in terms of my emotion that lead me there.

Is it just a book for children living in families with seafarers or do you find it more general literature?

It’s primarily a goodnight book. A book that was most of all inspired by my life but yet a whole space inside the book is left for a child to mirror himself in the eyes of love, family, devotion and acceptance.

The moment the emotion is said out loud it moves from trauma to healing and I believe we all need it when struggling with all the challenges that life brings, and let’s not underestimate the emotional roller coaster children really have.

I was watching my niece crying the other day because of a doll that was destroyed. And what I saw was that she was really, truly upset.

Her face was all down and red, her arms position was specific, tears went down her face. She really had a moment of deep sadness over a destroyed doll. This made me realize that we upgrade the things that make us sad, but that doesn’t mean children should be ignored because of the level of their reality experience.

Let me conclude with Le petit prince, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. For example, that’s not a book for airplane pilots who crash in the Sahara and meet a boy who will ask them to draw an elephant. No, it’s a story that has a set up for storytelling and storytelling has a purpose to talk about love, devotion, human imperfection, choices and beliefs. Same values are used in The Blue Horizons and their guardians. A story set up is a girl who loves her family and her father happens to be a Captain of the ship. And the purpose is love, family, feeling secure, loved and wisdom of lessons learned as you grow up.

Children’s book (21x26cm, The Blue Horizons and their Guardians ) book with USB (music and audiobook)

What does the book contain?

The book contains 12 goodnight stories, followed by 24 amazing illustrations made by my super talented sister Doris Živalj who happens to be a visual designer and 12 instrumental compositions composed by Ozren K. Glaser. I had a really clear vision of the project so I was so happy to work with people who have strong talents and creative expressions. I also read and recorded all the stories followed by music, so they will come out with music as an audiobook on the personalized USB that will come with the book. Can’t wait.

Is book translated in English?

Yes, we’ve translated it in English and we’re currently working on a Spanish translation too.

Is it also going to be useful for parents?

Absolutely. The bridge of communication has to start somewhere and it is especially hard when children are small since they notice everything, even the sadness of a mother who is left alone with all the worries on her back.

It’s not easy to shut down your emotions no matter how mature you are, especially because children can feel something is wrong if your face is not interacting with your energy. The book starts with ”An intro for parents” giving them a certain space of comfort and understanding.

Children don’t come with ”how to use properly” instructions. It’s a learning process for parents as well as for children. Expressing emotions on a warm and loving way and making space for peaceful dreams, I believe this book will serve to many.

Children’s book with USB (music and audiobook), The Blue Cage film/subtitled on USB, Adult book”- Director’s memoirs: The Path to the Blue Cage – pdf version available in English, Film soundtrack/CD

Why have you decided to make a goodnight book?

Sleep is as important as much as an active way of living and being awake. Our brain couldn’t live without sleep, as well as our body.

We need time to restore, recover and regain the energy for moving forward. Sleep time is one of the most important parts of the day in every person’s life, but for children, its meaning is underlined. Beta waves of the brain keep slowing down entering theta and delta and children get into a certain hypnosis state, where they drop down all the barriers between reality and illusion. They work on a different mental level.

It is very important to use that time to connect with your child, make their mind relaxed and secure, and make the right programs enter their mind. I believe those are the moments of a very deep connection between parent and a child and for that reason, I decided to make good night stories.

Do you have a message for the readers?

First of all, I want to thank Croatia Week for following our story from the start. You were our support and you really made an impact on our work and story. Right after that, I’d like to shout out to all the people..be careful with your mind, soul and body. It’s a holy trinity we use daily and what you implement in those three elements will become your reality. It’s not enough to eat healthily. You have ears and eyes you eat with them too so beware that what enters your mind, forms you and your reality. Time is precious and so is love. Use every moment to share, give and inspire, feel free to ask, feel happy to answer.

And for children and their parents? It’s a precious little gift you were given the moment you start a journey together. Rise yourself and your child will be risen by laws of reciprocity.

See you in some new horizons.

To order the book visit the website here

The Blue Cage film is available on USB with English subtitles. It will also available from mid-November.


The Blue Horizons and their Guardians (Intro)

My name is Bruna. My dad was a sailor all his life. I used to wonder where he goes, what he does, what horizons he sees. I dreamt of becoming a toy and hiding in his suitcase full of clean and ironed clothes. I used to hide my favourite toy among his lucky charms.

Do you do that too? Don’t laugh. I know you do. The real magic is that you are going to grow up and you’ll have a great story to share. Believe me, there is no reason to be afraid.

“In a quiet night when you fall asleep take enough love with you for a new day or week.

Let the bright stars in the sky watch over your Mum, dad, grandma, grandpa and everyone else you adore.

Your room is lit up by the moon, As the ships under blue sky play their tune.

Hold tight and count to five, because in a wonder world we shall now dive.“

Visit the website for more details.

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