Read by: Kathi Appelt
For Ages: 8 and up
  • 5
Adrift in the ocean in search of mermaid, mother, and myth—a breathtaking, magical novel from Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt.

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.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743599542 | 
  • May 2010
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Reading Group Guide

Keeper by Kathi Appelt
A Discussion Guide

Prereading Activity
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.

Discussion Questions
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.& see more

Behind the Book

More Books from this Author

Maybe a Fox
Counting Crows
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

About the Author

Kathi Appelt
Photograph courtesy of the author

Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows. She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband. Visit her at