Cover image for Earthborn
Waugh, Sylvia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Delacorte Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
273 pages ; 22 cm
Upon suddenly learning that her parents are researchers from another planet and they must leave in seven days or risk discovery, twelve-year-old Nesta decides to stay in their York, England, home, whether or not her parents go.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.2 8.0 64501.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.7 14 Quiz: 32819 Guided reading level: V.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Nesta Gwynn has always known that her parents are different. She thinks it's because they're from Boston instead of the little town in England, where Nesta was born and where she's always lived. But at the age of 12, Nesta discovers that her parents aren't really from Boston. In fact, they're not from Earth at all. They're aliens from a planet named Ormingat and, even though she was born on Earth, Nesta is an alien too. To make matters worse, her parents's mission on Earth has come to an abrupt end because of a boy named Thomas Derwent. They will have one chance to return to Ormingat and it's only seven days away. Nesta quickly devises a plan so that she'll miss the deadline and not have to leave Earth. But if she stays behind, will her parents choose to stay with her or will they go back to Ormingat without her?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. The biggest problem Nesta has faced is a school-yard bully-until the day her parents reveal that they are aliens and they must return to their home planet, Ormingat. Born and raised in England, Nesta understandably thinks of Earth as her home, and she concocts a plan to ensure that she and her parents stay there. Counting on love to keep her parents from boarding the spacecraft, she runs away and hides out until after the launch date. At intervals, the story loosely intertwines with its "companion book," Space Race (2000), but it can be read separately. The methodical plot and its understated emotional core are at the heart of a book that bears some relation to Waugh's Mennyms series in which living, human-size dolls are a different sort of alien, existing as unobtrusively as possible in modern England. An original and involving, if somewhat slow paced, addition to fiction collections. -Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

PW called this sequel to Space Race, in which a 12-year-old who has grown up believing her parents are from Boston learns that they came from Ormingat, an enlightened planet, "a whimsical yet thought-provoking fantasy." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-When 12-year-old Nesta, who thinks her mother and father come from Boston, finds out that they are really from the planet Ormingat, she is horrified. Even worse, her parents must leave Earth in just a few days, which means that she must go, too, to a planet that she has never seen and into an alien body. If they are not on the spaceship by the deadline, they must stay on Earth forever, so Nesta runs away, gambling that her parents will not depart without her. Set in England, this independent sequel to Space Race (Delacorte, 2000) is science fiction, but it is first and foremost a complex and absorbing look at three people struggling with a difficult and highly secret situation. Nesta is masterfully drawn, full of resolve even when terrified. Her mother and father, who have a dilemma every bit as anguishing as hers, are fascinating people in their own right, as is the girl's friend Amy. Every moment is magical in this enthralling book about the meaning of home.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



CHAPTER 1 The Bullying The Gwynns had lived just outside the city of York for the past fourteen years. Nesta, their only child, was born there. As far as the neighbors knew, Matthew and Alison Gwynn were a pleasant, young American couple who had settled and made their home in England. Only the faintest of accents and the odd phrase here and there made people remember that they were not British born and bred. They kept themselves to themselves, but so did everyone else in their leafy, comfortable suburb. Never in a million years would anyone have guessed their astonishing secret. In fact, the only difficulty they had experienced so far in their time here had been the bullying their daughter had suffered in her first years at Carrick Comprehensive. But that could have happened to any ordinary child, born of purely human parents. For a year and half, Nesta had been bullied and tormented at school. It was never clear why. She was shy and clever, never one of the crowd, but not friendless. Then one day another girl from the form above, with a long ginger ponytail and eyes like a cat, came up to Nesta in the playground and said, "Is your name really Nesta?" "Yes," said Nesta, not quite sure what this strange girl meant. She did not know her at all. The girl gave a feline smile, eyes closing almost to slits. "Where'd you get a name like that from?" she said. "My mom called me that. She chose it," said Nesta. "It's Welsh for Agnes, I think." "Mom!" said the girl, with a snigger in her voice. "Who's this Mom? Haven't you got a mam then, like the rest of us?" "I've always called her Mom. It's what she called herself, I suppose. My parents came from Boston two years before I was born. That's in America." "Oh dear and la-di-dah!" said the girl, tweaking a lock of Nesta's fine hair. Looking at the two of them, the ginger girl would definitely have been the one to stand out in the crowd. Nesta was pale but pretty with gray-blue eyes and soft, light brown hair. She was quite tall for her age but slightly built. The other girl, besides her very distinctive red hair, was large-boned and clumsy-looking. Her complexion was ruddy and she had a wide, toothy grin. Nesta made no reply and no protest. She felt nonplussed at such uncalled-for attention. She just walked away as quickly as she could. From such a small beginning, the bullying grew, pushing and shoving, mocking and calling names. The girl, who was known to everyone as Ginger, got a group round her for the wonderful break-time game of tormenting the first-former who never fought back. Nesta tried hard to stay out of their way, but she told no one, not even her parents. She had felt so ashamed of being singled out. She wept into her pillow at night and wondered, Why me? She couldn't understand what was so special about her. It couldn't just be the name. There were plenty of strange names in the school--a girl called Ethena in 1B, a spotty little boy called Godwin in her own class. No one picked on them. Her staunch friend in all her troubles was Amy Brown, a short, stocky girl, but very brave despite her lack of height. In the playground, Amy tried to defend Nesta from the bullies. But one against many, no matter how brave, is not always effectual. "Leave her alone, you lot," Amy said. "She's not doing you any harm." "Who's gonna make us? You?" said Ginger, putting her tongue out at Amy. "You're a shrimp! If you're not careful, we'll add you to the hit list, Goggles!" "Don't speak to them, Amy," said Nesta anxiously. "It will only make things worse." Amy tossed her head at the bullies and said, "Touch me and I'll yell so loud I'll be heard from here to the minster." She might be short and bespectacled, but she bristled in a way that made sure no bully ever ventured too far with her. Nesta, however, was a different proposition altogether. . . . Even after the summer holidays, the bullying continued. Her second year in the school looked like being no better than the first. The very first day back, Ginger pulled her hair just in passing and said, "See you later, Skinny-pins. Let you know how much we've missed you!" Nesta looked down at her legs, which were really not especially skinny at all, and wished she were fatter. Would that have made a difference? "Are my legs really skinny?" she asked Amy. "They're thinner than mine," said Amy, looking down at her own sturdy legs, "but that doesn't mean anything. I always think my legs are too fat. My brother says I have hockey-player's knees. I'm quite used to insults. It's best to ignore them." The day that Ginger's friend Lesley punched Nesta in the face and made her nose bleed was the day the bullying reached its peak. "Do you never fight back, Spike?" said Lesley, a heavy-jowled girl of less than average intelligence. She had caught Nesta in a corner between the wall and the school gate. It was too good a chance to miss. "No," said Nesta, fearful but firm. "I never fight at all. Fighting is stupid." Then, quite suddenly, Lesley lifted her fist and leveled it at Nesta's nose. It was a harder blow than she meant to deliver and even she was startled when there was a spurt of blood. Nesta could hardly believe it had happened. She hurried to the cloakroom to bathe the blood away. Amy followed her. "I'm going to tell," she said firmly. She stood with one hand on the washbasin, gripping the rim tightly. "That Ginger and her mates can't get away with this. I won't let them." Nesta stopped with the paper towel in midair and gave her friend a look of horror. The thought of everyone knowing--teachers, parents, and even any other children who were not yet aware of the situation--was unbearable. "You can't tell," said Nesta. "Please don't tell. They'll stop sometime. They'll have to. I never do anything to them." "I'm telling," said Amy grimly, "and nothing you can say will stop me." She ran out of the cloakroom, up the stairs, and straight to the staffroom door, where she knocked loudly. Mr. Winters opened it. "Yes?" he said, looking down at Amy over his mug of coffee. "Please, sir, Ginger Watkins and her gang are bullying Nesta Gwynn. And it's got to stop," said Amy, her chin jutting out determinedly. Harold Winters smiled down at her in amusement, but he took notice all the same. It was the first the staff had known of the problem. The information was acted upon immediately. Mrs. Powell, the head teacher, rang Mrs. Gwynn. Fortunately, Alison was at home. Arrangements were made for Matthew and Alison to come to the school and discuss the problem. It was agreed between them that Nesta should know nothing about their visit. It is important not to punish the victim. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Earthborn by Sylvia Waugh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1. The Bullyingp. 11
2. A Lesson for Gingerp. 18
3. Starlight, Perhapsp. 26
4. The Faraway Planetp. 36
5. The Signalp. 44
6. The Shockp. 50
7. Let It Not Be Truep. 58
8. Explanationsp. 65
9. Stella's Visitorsp. 71
10. Saturday in Yorkp. 81
11. Matthew's Returnp. 88
12. Fresh Instructionsp. 93
13. Sundayp. 99
14. Monday at Schoolp. 108
15. The Man from the Ministryp. 114
16. I'm Not Goingp. 120
17. Forewarned Is Forearmedp. 130
18. Nesta's Decisionp. 136
19. Tuesday at Homep. 144
20. Amy's Garagep. 150
21. Where Can She Be and What Can We Do?p. 159
22. Amy on Thursdayp. 166
23. Thursday at the Gwynns'p. 173
24. Friday in Carthorpe Roadp. 181
25. Friday in Linden Drivep. 188
26. Snow!p. 196
27. Searching for Nestap. 203
28. Traveling Northp. 209
29. Suspicious Circumstancesp. 214
30. Nesta in Casseltonp. 219
31. Further Inquiriesp. 227
32. Belthorpp. 233
33. A Strange Farewellp. 242
34. Stella and Nestap. 248
35. Nesta and Stellap. 255
36. Where the Frog Wentp. 263
37. News and Intriguep. 272
38. Sunday Morningp. 280
39. Detective Inspector Stirling Returnsp. 289
40. The Journey Homep. 296
41. The Last Chapterp. 301