I read this book in the 1980s. It's probably aimed at young adults, and set in the 1800's or early 1900's.

A family adopts a child who was found in the woods, I believe. Other children have been found as well. The protagonist is the son of the family growing up with the strange child who ages quickly and has a weak heart.

I remember a race where the child and another of these found children race and the other found child dies.

Can't remember more.

  • 3
    Whenever anyone says "can't remember more" it makes me grind my teeth because it's never true. I'm willing to bet you can remember what language you read it it, roughly the length of the book, whether they all flew off into space at the end, etc. Have a look at How to ask a good story-ID question? and see if the checklists help you to add anything.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


It could be Paul Samuel Jacobs's Born Into Light, but most of the details are vague in my mind.

Book cover

When a number of "feral children" are found in a New England town during the Depression, only young Roger Westwood suspects they are not earthly creatures, though even he cannot guess their true nature or their mission on this planet.

This review mentions the race and the rapid aging:

Most of the story is about Roger's experience of growing up with two "odd" children. Nell and Ben are, in today's terminology, mildly autistic. They have trouble reading social cues and metaphor rather passes them by. They are also very frail: Nell almost dies. Ben has special powers but is exhausted by their use. As they grow the family becomes aware of other "wild children". One, Montrose, is a school friend of Ben's but dies after a sprint race which leaves Ben too ill to attend school. As the years go on, it also becomes obvious that the children, a few more of whom have been identified, age more rapidly than humans for it is now admitted by those who know them that they are probably not truly humans but faulty copies.

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