The City of Ember book series, by Jeanne DuPrau, (2003) is a science-fiction fantasy series loved by students and educators alike. Many elementary, intermediate and middle schools are incorporating The City of Ember book series into their classroom curriculum. With the release of a movie version of The City of Ember in October, 2008 and now the DVD release in January, 2009 students can read and study the book series and follow up with the film version for comparison.
Fans of Ember will be pleased to see the fourth book in the series, The Diamond of Darkhold. This brings Jeanne Duprau’s Ember series to four books, chronologically: The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood and The Diamond of Darkhold.
The City of Ember tells the story of a people that has suffered depletion, and gone underground, to re-emerge at a given time in the future. Ember is Orwellian science fiction, reminiscent of 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
For teachers wishing to study and explore The City of Ember in class, I’ve assembled a collection of links with hundreds of free printable lesson plans and activities for teaching the book series.
http://www.mce.k12tn.net/reading52/city_of_ember.htm This is the homepage for The City of Ember lesson plans. It’s comprehensive, well-laid out and completely free to print. Be advised that the teacher and student guides are very large documents (over 19 Mbs and 70+ pages long). Lesson planner includes story maps, character webs, comprehension study questions, vocabulary, grammar, symbolism, cause and effect, analysis and application questions, synthesis and evaluation questions, activities, games, reading response rubrics, charts, quizzes and more.
http://www.mce.k12tn.net/reading52/lesson_plans.htm This link takes you to the same website with a little different layout for The City of Ember lesson plans. Lessons helps students to make text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-life or world connections. There are many lesson extensions to connect The City of Ember with other subjects and content.
The City of Ember book series is written for students in grades 5-8 grades. This book series is an excellent early science fiction story to prepare students for the genre as it will be read in high school. The City of Ember prepares students for the weightier futuristic society science fiction books like 1984 and Brave New World. For students who have never read these books, they can be very oppressive. Giving students preparation in the science fiction genre will help ease the way when it comes around full force in high school.