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Before I started writing this review of the Explorer Academy books by National Geographic Kids, I asked my son what he would want to share about them with other kids. His response: “They’re epic!” I think his response sums it up quite nicely, and I 100% agree.

When I saw that National Geographic Kids had published a book series inspired by the real-life adventures of real National Geographic explorers, I knew I had to get my hands on them. First of all, we love reading in this house. Second, each book integrates STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), geography, conversation and suspenseful adventure into every chapter. My son, Kai, keeps saying “I don’t want to stop reading!” every time we finish a chapter.

And I don’t either. That is why we ended up spending an entire Sunday morning cuddled on the couch finishing the last quarter of The Nebula Secret, the first book in this epic series. Then, we promptly started the second book, The Falcon’s Feather, and are about half way through as of today. So when you think I’m just giving you this good recommendation for your kids, mamas, this one’s for you too! I am loving these books!

Reading Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret and starting Falcon’s Feather has been such a positive thing for us in so many ways.

explorer academy the nebula secret

I didn’t realize when I set out to get my almost 8 year old son interested in reading these books, that it would be such a hit, for him and for me. One added “bonus” that I didn’t expect was that it’s given the two of us something to bond over, something that we do together and we’re both excited about. We are constantly talking about what we think might happen next. Reading the Explorer Academy books has actually been a real gift for me as a parent.

What we’ve read so far from this book series has also inspired my son, who has always been solely focused on his love of animals, to think bigger in terms of exploration and technology to aid him in saving all of the animals in the world. For real, if there was an actual Explorer Academy, Kai would for sure be a student there.

About the Explorer Academy Book Series

The storyline centers around Cruz Coronado, a 12-year-old boy from Hawaii who loves to surf and has his own honey bee drone named Mell. The first book, The Nebula Secret, follows Cruz as he leaves his home to attend a prestigious school, the Explorer Academy.

Once Cruz arrives and begins explorer training he learns that his family has a mysterious past related to the Explorer Academy, and that he may be in danger because of it. As you follow Cruz’s journey to become an explorer, you also go with him on his quest to find out who is out to get him, and uncover a secret that was left to him, that only he can unlock.

My Favorite Highlights of Explorer Academy Book: The Nebula Secret (and the rest of the books in the series)

explorer academy books
  • Throughout the books there are codebreaking challenges, near-future technology, and a storyline that encourages observation, deductive reasoning, and problem solving. Seriously, I have learned so much myself and have been….fascinated.
  • We’ve been inspired to play with ciphers and break codes! Thanks to inspiration from this book, I found some simple cipher puzzles online, then had the the kids find the puzzles using clues, then the kids completed the puzzles to get a prize. So fun!
  • Each book ends with a “Truth Behind the Fiction” section that profiles real explorers and their work. I find this very inspiring for my kids!
  • The Explorer Academy books not only teach about conservation, but book purchases also help support the vital exploration, research, education and conservation projects of the National Geographic Society. Now that’s something I can proudly get behind!

Books in the Explorer Academy Series:

  1. The Nebula Secret (Book 1)
  2. The Falcon’s Feather (Book 2)
  3. The Double Helix (Book 3)
  4. The Star Dunes (Book 4)
  5. The Tiger’s Nest (Book 5, the latest installment, released on January 5, 2021)
  6. The Dragon’s Blood (Book 6, coming October 2021!)

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