Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Ten-year-old Caspar "Caz" Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret.
No one in this city knows that before Caz told his parents he was a boy, he lived a very different life. It's nobody's business. Caz will tell his new friends when he's ready.
But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz's past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again.
Will Caz's teammates rally behind their star pitcher? Or will Caz be betrayed once more?
A heartwarming, funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost.
About the author
- Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
- Short-listed, Sliver Birch Award Fiction
- Commended, TD Summer Reading List
- Commended, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
- Short-listed, Victoria Book Prize Society Children's Book Prize
- Short-listed, Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Award Diamond Willow
- Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award—Novel Category
- Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year
"A great novel for elementary grades to learn more about gender, identity, and transgender issues…Filled with lots of baseball lingo and references, this is the perfect book for a die-hard baseball fan."
"[Caz's] teammates lend authenticity and humor to the book. Family dynamics are portrayed honestly…Competition between teams is fierce, as is camaraderie within the team."
"An engaging sports story."
"Provides young readers with an opportunity to see a community that is accepting of Caz and who he is—not who they think he should be."
Quill & Quire
“Deals with heavy subject matter around identity and agency, but the fast pace of the book and the warmth and humour author Jenny Manzer imbues it with make this an accessible middle-grade read.”
Books & Ideas, Vancouver Writers Fest
"The plot and characters strike an ideal balance that will have wide appeal, introducing readers to themes of gender identity that avoids didacticism and sensationalism. My Life as a Diamond will appeal to readers interested in baseball, team-sports, and realistic fiction. Highly Recommended."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"Baseball fans will enjoy the play-by-play, but more than that, readers will like the character of Caz. Acceptance of others is a good message for everyone."
School Library Connection
"The author put a lot of research into this…and was successful in having an elementary and middle grade appropriate transgender story. The inclusion of lots of baseball is a big plus, and will encourage readers to pick up the book."
Ms. Yingling Reads blog
Related blog posts
Back to School Books
A wealth of books for readers of all ages about school, learning, friendship, and getting along in the world.
16 Books for Pride Month
Time to put the spotlight on these books by LGBTQ writers and/or about LGBTQ issues, an eclectic list that includes fiction, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, …