The Diamond of Darkhold Cover
The Diamond of Darkhold


While tensions have died down in Sparks, the town is in the grip of winter and resources are scarce. Together Lina and Doon will go back under -ground to Ember to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.


Jeanne DuPrau writes for several hours each day and finds inspiration in a quote from Thomas Mann that says, “A writer is someone for whom writing is harder than it is for other people.” This quote guides DuPrau’s writing, which she often finds to be a challenging task. DuPrau knew she wanted to be a writer at a young age and has tried related careers in teaching, technical writing, and editing. She has written four novels, six books of nonfiction, and essays and stories. She lives in California where she loves to garden.


Science–Doon asks himself the question, “How could a jagged line of light be the same thing that the old generator in Ember produced from river water? How could something that vanished in an instant be the same thing that made a lamp glow all evening?” (p. 13) Ask students to find a partner and then research the answers to these questions. When they discover the answers, have them illustrate their answers on a poster board to present to the class and to display in the classroom.

Language Arts
–Ask students to recall a time when they experienced severe weather–tornado, hurricane, thunderstorm, blizzard, and/or windstorm. Have them make a list of words and phrases that describe the weather conditions and their feelings, even including bits and pieces of conversations. From this list of words and phrases, ask students to write a poem that can be shared with the class. Have students bring in readings of sound effects or music that conveys the mood of their poem. Host a class poetry reading to share the poems and accompanying sound recordings.

–The author writes beautifully descriptive passages that allow the readers to see pictures in their mind’s eye. Ask students to select a specific passage to illustrate using a variety of mediums: pastels, pen, charcoal, watercolor, and/or paint. Have them title their artwork and site the page number of the passage they have selected to illustrate. Display the artwork in the classroom or the school’s library.

Social Studies
–After Lina and Doon lead a group of townspeople to Ember for supplies to help survive the winter, the people of Sparks seem to be more accepting of the Emberites. Why is this a turning point for the community? What role do the blue diamonds play in the change of not only the town, but also the surrounding area? Ask students to think about conflicts in their school or community and to brainstorm ways they could help ease the tensions among the members of each group. Have them write a detailed proposal and action plan to present either to the principal or the mayor respectively to solve any current problems.

–On pages 67—68, Doon tries to decipher the concept of distance to determine how far away something is and the measure of a square yard. There aren’t any books in the Sparks library to help him. In groups of three, ask students to research and write a pamphlet explaining the units of measure. Have the groups include charts with explanations and illustrations, a title page, a table of contents, and an index.


Power! Many sources, many agents. An individual can be powerful, displaying strength and/or taking action. A group can wield power or authority over another weaker, smaller group. And then there is the power of an energy source. The Books of Ember portray all of these types of power. Ask students to brainstorm connections to the power of electricity throughout the Books of Ember. Students should then make a time line for the use of electricity, beginning before Ember is built and following electricity through The Prophet of Yonwood. Based on their time line and before reading The Diamond of Darkhold, ask students to write a prediction of possible changes in the community in Sparks if a power source were to be introduced.