Explorer Academy—The Falcon’s Feather


A big splash was made in the fiction world last year when National Geographic Explorer Academy series began with THE NEBULA SECRET. Known for their non-fiction titles this was a bold move and a welcome one based on the results. The second installment has arrived. and the falcon'sfeather.jpgadventure continues for 12-year-old Cruz Coronado and his classmates at the Explorer Academy.

The first book was set at the school in Washington D.C., but this one takes us out into the world on the academy’s ship— Orion. A perfect base since Explorer Academy is inspired by the real explorations of the National Geographic Society.

When reviewing a series I often comment it would be all right to jump in with the second or third book. Not so much here. Although you’ll get snippets of what happened in The Nebula Secret, I’d go back and read it first to get the full inside look at the characters and plot points.

In the Falcon’s Feather, Cruz is searching for a piece of the puzzle his mother left for him and the only way to find it is to decipher a clue. She was killed when Cruz was just five, and now the pharmaceutical company she exposed is out to get her son and the journal he keeps close by.

Technology fills the pages both in the present and with future possibilities. There’s also Cruz’s evolving relationships with crew mates Emmett, Sailor, and Bryndis. The instructors on board include Cruz’s aunt, who is always on the lookout to make sure Cruz is safe.

The exciting climax ends too abruptly (and easily), but the unsolved plot points are dangled for us to ponder until the release of Book 3 due out later this year, THE DOUBLE HELIX. Take the plunge and join the Explorer Academy. If you love science and adventure, there’s no better place to immerse yourself in its wonders.




  1. Colored images and frequent maps keep you current as to where the crew is located along with a few of the puzzles they solve. The Orion ship map starts things off.
  2. Third person narration stays close to Cruz most of the way with an occasional few pages devoted to the bad guys. They’re easy to find with white text on dark pages.
  3. While reading you learn about conservation, wildlife, and Nordic culture. They’re woven into the story so well you barely notice the lessons.
  4. The book ends with a Truth behind The Fiction section with real life National Geographic Explorers giving their take on what is included in the story. Great stuff to connect with STEM concepts.
  5. The diverse cast of characters are growing closer and first crushes are surfacing. It will be a fun sidelight as the series continue for five more books.


Everyone was lining up to get their uniforms. Cruz stood, too, and waited behind Emmett. However, while his 22 classmates were bubbling with excitement, Cruz remained quiet. He was worried. Fanchon had said their uniforms were every kind of “proof” imaginable: waterproof, sunproof, bugproof, reptileproof, even germproof. But she had left one very important “proof” off the list.



In the exciting follow-up to The Nebula Secret in the 7-book Explorer Academy series, Cruz, Sailor, and Emmett, along with their new ally Bryndis, embark on their first globe-trotting mission aboard the ship Orion. Cruz jumps right back into school and starts using the latest technology in submersible underwater dives, but is soon reminded of the dangers of exploration when his equipment fails and he almost drowns. Determined to keep his eyes on the prize, Cruz sneaks away to try to find answers, but unknowingly lures his friends into bigger trouble. When a friend of Cruz’s mom meets an untimely end, Cruz’s luck really seems about to run out and the questions multiply. What does the message mean? Where will it lead? Who is following him? And why?


The Explorer Academy website has videos, code breaking games, and look at the technology and explorers providing the background for the series.

The Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather Educator’s Guide.


truditrueit.pngTrudi Trueit imagined a career as a novelist ever since writing, her first play in the fourth grade. A former TV news reporter and weather forecaster, Trudi has published more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for young readers.

Trudi’s fiction books include My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts, The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (all from Aladdin). Trudi’s numerous nonfiction titles cover such topics as history, weather, wildlife, earth science, writing, education, and health. Recent releases include Detecting Avalanches & Detecting Volcanic Eruptions (FOCUS Readers); Giant Pandas, Grizzly Bears, and Polar Bears from the Wild Bears series (Amicus). Look for Explorer Academy, her new children’s fiction series for National Geographic, coming Sept 4, 2018!

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Trudi graduated suma cum laude with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. She currently lives in Everett, WA with her husband and their cats. She loves photography, painting, and all things chocolate.


I received a copy of the book for my honest review. Comment below if you have time.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to Explorer Academy—The Falcon’s Feather

  1. Good to know that we should start with book 1. This sounds like a great adventure series where we can learn a lot too.

  2. Joanne Fritz says:

    How wonderful that National Geographic decided to start publishing fiction too, with the first book in this series! Of course, I haven’t read that one yet, so thanks for the heads-up. I like the lines you quoted.

  3. Looks like it’s pretty exciting stuff!

  4. Janet Smart says:

    I liked your favorite line, too. I would also want it to be bullet proof. Thanks for the review. It sounds exciting.

  5. I like the idea of well-hidden lessons for kids in books. This sounds pretty intriguing, although I seldom read series. Thanks for telling me about it.

  6. Pingback: Explorer Academy—CODEBREAKING ACTIVITY ADVENTURE | Always in the Middle…

  7. Pingback: EXPLORER ACADEMY—THE DOUBLE HELIX | Always in the Middle…

  8. Pingback: Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes | Always in the Middle…

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