The City of Ember Book Club

I like to start book club meetings with a warm-up activity. It helps break the ice, helps get everyone’s thoughts centered on the book, and sets the scene for a good time. This time we played a simple game of Who Said It?

The City of Ember

Warm-Up – Who Said It?

To play Who Said It?, I wrote a few significant quotes from the book onto construction paper and wrote the names of characters who spoke the passages on sticky notes. I laid the character name sticky notes out on the table so the kids could see the characters they could choose from as I held up the quotations and read them aloud.

After the kids correctly matched the character to the quote, we chatted about the significance of the quote.


Here are the quotations I used:

“The trouble with anger is, it gets hold of you. And then you aren’t the master of yourself anymore. Anger is. And when anger is the boss, you get unintended consequences.” (Loris Harrow)

“He says I’m beautiful as a red tomato.” (Lizzie)

“People find a way through just about anything.” (Motorboat Pilot)

“There is so much darkness in Ember, Lina. It’s not just outside, it’s inside us, too. Everyone has some darkness inside. It’s like a hungry creature. It wants and wants with a terrible power. And the more you give it, the bigger and hungrier it gets.” (Clary)


Discussion Questions

City of Ember Discussion Questions

After our warm-up, we move into the discussion part of our meeting. Here are a few of the questions I used as a starting point for our discussion. Once I pose the initial questions, I ask kids to qualify their answers, respond to each other, and let them steer the discussion according to their reading and personal experiences.

  • Kids in Ember stop going to school and begin their careers at 12 years old. You’re almost 12! Does the prospect of that independence and responsibility seem exciting or scary to you?
  •  We’ve talked about symbolism before. In this book, Lina’s colored pencils are a symbol. What do they represent?
  • What does corrupt mean? Who is corrupt in this book? Who is the most corrupt?
  • What is the significance of the city’s name?
  • What do you think was clever about the Builders’ plan? What was flawed about their plan?
  • (Define the terms apocalypse and post-apocalyptic.) Is this book the story of an apocalypse or is it a post-apocalyptic novel? Is it a story of hope or despair?



Arts and Crafts

Perspective, Draw a Street from the City of Ember with Colored Pencils

For today’s book-centric arts and crafts project, we worked on a perspective drawing of a streetscape in Ember. I also asked kids to think about the colors they might find in Ember and how a street there might look different from a street in a city we’re used to seeing. And I asked them to react as Lina would as I pulled out a full case of colored pencils, haha.

I seem to have forgotten to take any pictures of the art the kids created, but this art tutorial for kids about drawing a streetscape should help give you an idea of how to direct this activity.

Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial for a City with One Point Perspective Drawing and Coloring Page

Need discussion questions for another book? You can quickly and easily create discussion questions for ANY novel with my discussion questions cheat sheet.

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