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Keeper was born in the ocean, like a dolphin, like a Minke whale—like a mermaid. That’s what Keeper was told, and that’s what she believes. But, what if being born in the middle of the night, in the middle of the waves, isn’t so much about being part mermaid as it is about being the daughter of a woman who is unpredictable, wild, and uncommonly gorgeous, a woman who swam away when Keeper was three—a mermaid? That’s what Singe says and what Keeper believes. So when this ten-year-old goes out looking for her mother, she heads right for the ocean and the sandbar where mermaids are known to gather. But her boat is too small for the storm that is brewing on the horizon.
Kathi Appelt’s follow-up to The Underneath is a stunning, mysterious, and breathless tale of outgrowing fairytales just a little to late—and learning in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself.
Kathi Appelt Offers These Wise Words
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Book Cover Image (jpg): Keeper
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Reading Group Guide
A Discussion Guide
References to mermaids and mermen are woven throughout the story of Keeper and her family. Ask students to form small groups to investigate the legends and folklore surrounding mermaids and mermen. Ask each group to research one of the following: Sedna, Ningyo, sirens, Meerfrau, Yemaya, Lorelei, and Rusalka. Have students prepare a presentation for the class that would include their findings and a picture of their subject.
1. What is a blue moon? How often does a blue moon occur? What important events supposedly occur on the night of a blue moon?
2. Why does the author allow the reader to see the human characters from Sinbad and BD’s points-of-view? How do the animals portray the humans? What do the readers learn about the animals that they wouldn’t know if they were not able to read the account from the animals’ points-of-view?
3. On page 92, Keeper refers to “double insurance.” What does she mean by that phrase? How does Keeper gain “double insurance”?
4. What does the reader learn about Signe through Keeper’s descriptions and interactions with her? How would you describe Keeper and Signe’s relationship?
5. Keeper’s biggest fear is that everyone she loves will leave her just as her mother did. (p. 105) What proof does Keeper have see more
Behind the Book
BTB: THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP
Behind the Book: THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP
Maybe because I was born in a car—a 1953 Ford Fairlane, to be exact—I’ve always had a fascination for them. No, I’m not a mechanic, not by a long stretch of the imagination, but I’m interested in ways in which they’re used unexpectedly. I know, for example, that when my father purchased the aforementioned Ford Fairlane, he wasn’t planning to use it as a birthing room for me