Fall in Love with a Black Flamingo in a Sea of Pink

The Black Flamingo

This book is for anyone who ever felt like they don’t belong

Have you ever felt like a black flamingo among all that pink? Have you ever worried that you just don’t fit in?  Ever wondered if there really is a place for you in this world?  If the answers are yes, then Dean Atta’s beautiful, fierce, and empowering young adult novel, The Black Flamingo (Balzer + Bray 2020), is a must read!

Meet Michael Angeli

Written in accessible, lyrical verse, The Black Flamingo tells the story of Michael, a biracial, gay teen living in London with his single mom.  He is part Greek-Cypriot and part Jamaican, but never feels like he totally belongs with either side of his family.  In addition, from a young age, Michael never fit the stereotype of “maleness,” preferring Barbies to Ninja Turtles, poetry to sports, kissing boys and being friends with girls.  And let’s face it, many people think everyone should be the same shade of pink.

To find and accept the many facets of his identity, Michael must navigate his cultural identity as a Greek-Cypriot, Jamaican, and Brit, his identity as the son of a single mom and a deadbeat dad in a world of two-parent families, as well as his gender identity and emerging sexuality.  Join Michael on his journey from childhood to university.  There will be heartaches, bullying, friendships, and crushes on cute boys, but Michael will discover how his different identities connect, giving him the power to take charge and embrace his wonderfully unique self.

You don’t want to miss Michael’s bold move to show the world who he really is, because Michael is definitely NOT just another pink flamingo!

Why You’ll Love this Novel

The most amazing aspect of this novel is how well Dean Atta brings Michael, the protagonist, to life through the lyrical and gentle first-person narrative.  Michael feels authentic and open as he shares his experiences and the full spectrum of his emotions. The reader cannot help but feel closely connected to Michael, experiencing his joy, anger, love, and heartbreak, as though it were their own.  The words in The Black Flamingo are sparse and carefully chosen, as are the blank spaces and shapes created with words, providing an amazing visual experience.

More about Dean Atta

Dean Atta is a British author from London and is a member of Malika’s Poetry KitchenThe Black Flamingo, won the 2020 Stonewall Book Award and was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, Jhalak Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Waterstones Children’s Book PrizeOnly on WeekendsDean Atta’s second young-adult novel in verse, Only on the Weekends (Hachette Children’s Group / Balzer + Bray 2022) came out this year.  

I highly recommend this lovely video of Atta sharing from The Black Flamingo.

2 thoughts on “Fall in Love with a Black Flamingo in a Sea of Pink”

  1. So glad to see another great book review! As a Park Service kid, I had quite a few wonderful parks to grow up in, but also a few schools into which
    I didn’t quite fit! I also think there are times in everyone’s life when they don’t belong.

    1. Thank you Barbara for your insightful comment – that’s exactly why I think it’s so important to have books like The Black Flamingo to show kids they are not alone! Sorry my reviews have slowed down – I didn’t realize how time consuming graduate school would be!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *