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5 Beaverton Children's- Science Fiction and Fantasy
1 Hawthorne Children's Middle Readers- General

The City of Ember


The City of Ember Cover



Reading Group Guide


1. Doon and Lina like very different things. Doon wants to work in the Pipeworks; Lina yearns to be a messenger. Doon likes to study how things work. Lina likes to run and explore. But their friendship grows because they are ultimately searching for the same thing. How do they complement one another and help one another develop through the novel?

2. Earth today has many environmental and social issues. What sort of problems could have led to the building of the City of Ember?

3. Clary tells Lina, “Everyone has some darkness inside.” (p. 168) Light and color both play very key roles in the novel. In what ways, other than the failing street lamps, are color and light important?

4. The possibility of never-ending darkness changes many of Lina’s friends and many of the townspeople. She discovers that her friend Lizzie has begun to accept things from Looper, who is stealing things from the storerooms. Why does Lina turn down the gifts that Lizzie offers her? Do you think that she was right to do so?

5. The city of Ember was built when people were worried that the human race might not survive. Do you think this was a good plan?

6. The mayor is the most corrupt character in the novel. He squelches the thirst for knowledge and limits freedom, yet the majority of the townspeople just accept his behavior. Why do you think they act this way? What other actions might they have taken?

7. People react in various ways when they feel threatened. How do the people of Ember react to danger? Have you seen people reacting to danger in these ways? How are Poppy’s actions important to the plot?

8. At the end of the novel, Lina, Doon, and Poppy have discovered a sunlit earth. What do you think will become of them in the sequel? Do you think that there are other people on the surface?

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Sarah Gilbert, November 17, 2010 (view all comments by Sarah Gilbert)
A fast read and one that keeps the ugliness -- and the beauty and ingenuity -- of humanity close to the surface. It's certainly not a classic; four stars is for a young reader, who will devour this as a kind of intro-to science fiction, modern in tone and global conflicts. it's enough of a nailbiter to keep anyone reading through to the end; the puzzle aspect will interest readers who are into that sort of thing (I am) and enough what-ifs to keep adults engaged.
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Shoshana, May 2, 2010 (view all comments by Shoshana)
It may seem like an oxymoron to call this middle reader title a sweet little dystopian novel, but that's what it is. This first in a series of four introduces Ember, an underground city developed and populated in the face of potential holocaust to safeguard a tiny fraction of the human race. In this it is reminiscent of Mordechai Roshwald's classic Level 7. Unlike Roshwald's tragic Officer X-127, DuPrau's Lina is a young adolescent with a community, a job, and relationships. Here the threat to the underground safe house is not related to the war but to the failure of the physical infrastructure. The actions of a greedy leader several generations before led to the misplacing and later mangling of the revelatory document that would have explained events and provided egress instructions to the denizens of Ember. Lina and Doon, a boy about her age, discover evidence of more greed and misuse of power, while also following clues that may save themselves and their community.

A theme that is present in at least the first three books but not elaborated upon is that small-scale individual greed, corruption, or suspicion of others may have dire consequences for large numbers of people.
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biscuitspaddy, January 27, 2009 (view all comments by biscuitspaddy)
I love reading and writing. I have not read The City Of Ember, but have seen the movie. Before I even heard about the movie or the book, I started writing a book with exactly the same storyline! (Great minds think alike.) I plan to read the book very soon.
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Product Details

DuPrau, Jeanne
HMH Books for Young Readers
Lowry, Lois
Booraem, Ellen
New York
Action & Adventure
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Science fiction
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Science Fiction
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Science Fiction
Action & Adventure - General
Fantasy & Magic
Imaginary places
Situations / General
General Juvenile Fiction
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Giver;Lowry;dystopian;utopian;society;community;novel;fantasy;1994 Newbery M
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Giver Quartet
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
Black-and-white illustrations
7.63 x 5.13 in
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Science Fiction

The City of Ember Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Random House Books for Young Readers - English 9780375822742 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Reminiscent of post-apocalypse fiction like Robert O'Brien's Z for Zachariah, DuPrau’s book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of the undiscovered country and readers wanting more.”
"Review" by , “The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the next installment."
"Review" by , "[T]he quick pace and the uncomplicated characters and situations will keep voracious fans of the genre engaged."
"Review" by , "Readers will relate to Lina and Doon's resourcefulness and courage in the face of ominous odds."
"Synopsis" by , The thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to the Giver Quartet.
"Synopsis" by , They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didnt exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowrys epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.
"Synopsis" by ,
Medford lives on a neat, orderly island calledand#8212;simplyand#8212;Island.

and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Islanders like names that say exactly what a thing (or a person) is or does. Medford Runyuin is different. A foundling, he has a meaningless name that is just one of many reminders that heand#8217;s an outsider. He also has a secret that could get him banished from Island forever.

and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; A strange creature is about to arrive on Island, and Medfordand#8217;s secret will be out before he can blink twice.


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