‘The Blue Book of Nebo’ – Summer reading for our new 3rd Form 2023

Summer Reading 2023

Pile of 'Blue Book of Nebo' paperbacks

As is our custom, we sent out a book for summer reading to our incoming 3rd Formers (Y9) and encouraged tutors and teaching staff to read it too. We deliberate long and hard to find a book which appeals to boys and girls, isn’t too lengthy for our less keen readers, is thought-provoking, and lends itself to discussion in tutor groups. This is not designed to be an English set text or feel like homework; rather a welcome to the Library and here’s a book to read for enjoyment over the long summer break. For some, it may be the only book they read over the holidays, for others a style they would not have picked up by choice and for a number of avid readers a short reading experience in a long list keenly recorded on Good Reads or their favourite reading app.

During the library induction session on Day 1 at Wellington we gave tutor groups a quick tour of the library and explained what we offer in terms of books, e-books, audiobooks, information, extensive digital resources, support with projects and inter-library loans as well as providing chess, board games and jigsaws. It was also an opportunity to canvas feedback on the summer book and start a conversation about keeping the reading habit going at Wellington.

Reading Attitudes Survey

The students also filled in a Reading Survey exploring their attitudes towards reading and their habits. We have yet to fully analyse the results but it is interesting to note how many state that they would read more if they could find the ideal book for them. Many said their preferred reading times are holidays and before falling asleep. We’ve taken steps to address the former and are keen to work with House staff to encourage the latter.

The survey helps us identify and nurture avid readers with recommendations and book clubs and also help the more reluctant readers or students who struggle with reading to find the right book.

We’re looking forward to discussing ‘The Blue Book of Nebo’ with a number of tutor groups from next week and setting up tutor group reads so they can share their reading. It is pleasing that The Blue Book of Nebo deservedly went on to win the Yoto Carnegie Book Prize.

Blue Book of Nebo cover and author photo as winner of the Yoto Carnegie Book Award 2023

Here are some 3rd Form student comments on the book:

I found it was a very interesting book. I thought the idea of a family fighting for survival in a future dystopian world very intense and page turning. It made me always on my nerves and made me want to keep on reading.

I thought it was a book with a strong message behind it – technology, pizza and the joys of modern life aren’t everything, but family is – it shows perseverance in life and teaches you to be grateful with your life at the moment – I am looking forward to seeing how the book ends.

I really liked it as some books have straight forward endings e.g. good/bad endings while in this book it really depends on how you view it while the mother wanted life to continue as it is, some people who read/reading the book ‘hoped’ everything came back to normal.

I felt it was a very enjoyable book. The idea of a dystopian future intrigued me. It was a very clever book which displayed emotion in the troubles of the family.

‘adventurous but a bit confusing.’

I really enjoyed learning about both opinions and how the mother thought of life before the end and how Dylan’s life changed after then and  how their lives changed drastically after.

I really enjoyed the book and I think that it was very insightful and interesting. My favourite but also the saddest part of the book was when the little sister died and the mother was crying at her grave.

It was an amazing book and very heart warming and interesting.

I am enjoying it but it’s not my usual type of book I like to read.

I felt like it was very upsetting and I’m not really used to reading a book like it.

I thought it shows what life is like without civilisation and without any electricity and it was an interesting plot and a good storyline.

I found the concept interesting at the start and the messages and morals about a world without tech. However, I found the ending to be underwhelming and unfulfilled.

We also sent it to our new 4th Form students and here are some of their responses:

I liked the book as it was interesting to see a dystopian world. However, it interests me because it seems such like the real world we live in which is relatively worrying because the book shows how you can lose so much so quickly which as a result makes you more grateful for what you have.

I feel like the book covers a large variety of different topics with lots of different messages. For instance, the book demonstrates that we should appreciate everything we have because things can always rapidly have a turning point. I also enjoyed reading it because it is relatable to the modern world. It is a very intriguing book where you are curious what will happen next where you also wonder whether or not the characters will survive .

At first I felt it was a bit boring because I couldn’t understand the story. But once I officially started it the different stories told by Dylan and Rowenna were interesting. It a very nice book but I wouldn’t like to read it for pleasure though.

I think that the book was really well written but I didn’t really like the fact that they didn’t explain exactly what the end was.

Some of our students would have preferred a more plot driven novel, others wanted a more clear-cut ending. Whether they enjoyed it or found it unsettling, what is clear is The Blue Book of Nebo had a lasting impact on the readers spurring them to empathise with the characters and put themselves in that post-apocalyptic survival scenario.