An introduction into the world of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series

An introduction into the world of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series

Kids aren’t shy about vocalizing what they like to see in books, and Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities series earns an enthusiastic YES for keeping them coming back for more. Take it from Sonya B., age 10, who raves, “The Keeper of the Lost Cities books are filled with action, fun, and inspiring characters, and mysteries that are begging to be solved,” or Carly T., age 9, who says, “The Keeper of the Lost Cities is a great series, and has inspired many students to be like Sophie, brave, smart, and kind. I cannot wait for Legacy to come out!”

Now is the time to embark on the series that is taking the tween world by storm! As Shannon says, “Keeper of the Lost Cities is the series I wish I’d had when I was younger, and so many elements of the story are based on the things I loved back then: alicorns! superpowers! sparkles! (oh, who am I kidding? I still love those things!)” It’s this energy that weaves itself into her characters and plots, captivating a new generation of readers and writers eager to explore every corner of Sophie’s world. —The S&S Education and Library Team

Here is a summary of the first book, The Keeper of the Lost Cities.

Sophie Foster, who lives in San Diego with her family, just doesn’t fit in. She’s a lonely twelve-year-old prodigy with a photographic memory and a secret ability to read minds. So she’s thrilled to learn
of a place where she might belong: a vibrant world of elves who live in Lost Cities like Atlantis. But
moving there isn’t easy. Even in the Lost Cities, Sophie stands out among her new friends because
of her mysterious upbringing and amazing telepathic talents. Her past and her powers lead Sophie
into dangerous adventures as she tries to help those she left behind—even when it puts her own
life at risk.

Here are some questions to spark up some discussion! Perfect for the Classroom or just for fun!

  1. What does it mean to belong? Does belonging to a group or society require conformity? Can you belong and still maintain your individuality?
  2. Compare the Forbidden Cities of Earth and how humans live there to the Lost Cities and how the elves and the other creatures live there. How are the two places and their inhabitants alike? How are they different?
  3. Edaline explains to Sophie that the world of Lost Cities is “talent-based.” What talents does Sophie have and what can she do with them? What special abilities do her friends have? Find evidence of how important the talents are at Foxfire school. Name some of the other talents, and what people with them can do.
  4. Describe Foxfire, Sophie’s new school. What does it look like? What are the grade levels? How do mentors and students interact? What classes does Sophie take? Compare Foxfire to your school, analyzing how they are similar and different.
  5. Alden says of Grady and Edaline, “They run an animal preserve at Havenfield, so they always have all kinds of exciting things going on.” Describe the preserve, some of the animals in it, and examples of the excitement. What does the preserve tell the reader about Grady and Edaline? What does it convey about the world of the Lost Cities?
  6. The novel opens with a preface showing a scene later in the book in which Sophie has been kidnapped. What is the purpose of the preface? How might it affect a reader? How does it foreshadow the kidnapping and other elements of the story?
  7. The first chapter also introduces many of the book’s themes and foreshadows plot and character. After finishing the novel, go back and look closely at pages 1 and 2. What do you learn about Sophie, her personality, and how she’s treated by those around her? How are these elements developed later in the book?
  8. Many chapters in this book end with cliff-hangers, that is paragraphs or sentences that leave the reader hanging. Find some examples of cliff-hangers and analyze how they create suspense. For each cliff-hanger, you consider, find where and how the suspense is resolved, either in the next chapter or later in the book. Why does the author use cliff-hangers?
  9. Even in the Lost Cities, people feel strong emotions such as jealousy, anger, and grief. Find evidence of these feelings in characters other than Sophie. What role do strong feelings play in moving the story forward? Give specific examples.
  10. . What is Sophie’s relationship with her human family? Give examples of how it is revealed in words and actions. How have her special abilities affected her family life? What is her relationship with her human family after she moves to the Lost Cities? How does it affect the plot?
Shannon Messenger
About the author

Shannon Messenger

Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she learned among other things that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and film production, but she realized her real passion was writing stories for children. She’s the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the award-winning middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities, as well as the Sky Fall series for young adults. Her books have been featured on multiple state reading lists, published in numerous countries, and translated into many different languages.She lives in Southern California with an embarrassing number of cats.

Books by Shannon Messenger


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