The Bookies staff picks

Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, the staff from The Bookies Bookstore in Denver recommends books that appeal both to a wide variety of ages.


By Mona Awad
S&S/Marysue Rucci Books
September 2023


From the publisher: For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.

From Katie Burgert, Events & Marketing Manager: This book was a thrill to read. Mona Awad’s writing style is beyond captivating. It creates an intimate reading experience that is both haunting and playful with world-building details that are vivid and visceral. Being inside of Belle’s head was like experiencing a fever dream. The reflection on self-care and skin-care was wickedly marvelous. I’m obsessed with Awad’s imagination and I can’t wait to see what she conjures up next!

Mermaid Day

By Diana Murray and illustrated by Luke Flowers
July 2023


From the publisher: On Mermaid Day, the mer-queen throws a fin-tastic party! She decorates her underwater castle and creatures of all kinds swim inside to celebrate together. Dolphins dance, narwhals play ring toss, and as night falls, the guests prepare to say goodnight to a mer-mazing day. But are all welcome to celebrate under the sea? This heartwarming and inclusive story is the perfect companion to the bestselling “Unicorn Day.”

From Marilyn Robbins, Children’s Program Coordinator: Happy Mermaid Day! You might already know Colorado Springs-based Luke Flowers from his 70-plus other illustrated books, including “Unicorn Day” and “Unicorn Night.” The third book in the series continues with mermaids as they splash and play. The rhyming text is so fun as a read-aloud, but it is Luke’s illustrations that truly sparkle and make this book extra special. 

Lei and the Fire Goddess

By Malia Maunakea
Penguin Young Readers Group
Release date


From the publisher: Curses aren’t real. At least, that’s what 12-year-old, part-Hawaiian Anna Leilani Kamaʻehu thinks when she listens to her grandmother’s folktales about sacred flowers and family guardians. Anna’s friends back home in Colorado don’t believe in legends, either. They’re more interested in science and sports — real, tangible things that stand in total contrast to Anna’s family’s embarrassing stories.

So when Anna goes back to Hawai’i to visit her Tūtū, she has no interest in becoming the heir to her family’s history; she’s set on having a touristy, fun vacation. But when Anna accidentally insults Pele the fire goddess by destroying her lehua blossom, a giant hawk swoops in and kidnaps her best friend, and she quickly learns just how real these moʻolelo are. In order to save her friends and family, Anna must now battle mythical creatures, team up with demigods and talking bats, and evade the traps Pele hurls her way.

From Juli Guyer, Bookseller: Every summer Lei has to spend two weeks with her grandmother in Hawaii on the Big Island outside Hilo. Her grandmother wants her to learn the folktales and legends of Hawai’i and their family history. However, now that she is 12 years old, she wants to have a more relaxed vacation and venture to Kona on the other side of the island. That doesn’t happen. Lei begins a fantastical adventure to keep the rainforest and Hilo from being destroyed by the volcano. Take the journey with Lei and discover the richness of Hawaiian legend and folklore.


The Bookies

4315 E Mississippi Ave, Denver

(303) 759-1117

As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. Read more.

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