1. The 9/11 tragedy was more than a decade ago, but people still have strong feelings about that day and the aftermath of the attacks. Do you remember where you were when you found out about the attacks? How have you learned to cope with this disaster? Do you think the nation has healed and is moving forward?
2. Did the book provide a sensitive portrayal of New York after the World Trade Center attacks? Is fiction a good vehicle to explore human tragedy?
3. Americans are a melting pot of various faiths and walks of life. In many ways, the incidents of 9/11 encouraged religious intolerance. Do you think we have learned to build bridges of acceptance and understanding?
4. Oskar’s father tells him the story of New York’s "sixth borough" which floated away to Antarctica with the residents frozen in time. The story shows how his father tries to engage Oskar, who may or may not have Asperger’s Syndrome, by encouraging his imagination and interest in mysteries. What do you think about Oskar’s relationship with his father? How does he process his grief when his father dies?
5. Many of the characters Oskar encounters are experiencing loss and longing. How does Oskar help them change over the course of the book?
6. Do you find the book’s illustrations, doodles and overwritten texts a meaningful, integral part of the work? What was your reaction to the graphic elements, especially the final series of flipbook graphics at the book’s conclusion?
7. Have you seen the movie adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock? If so, did the movie convey the essence of the book?