Monday, October 22, 2018


This debut novel in an exciting new science-related series from National Geographic has lots of action as well as secret codes to solve!

Description from Amazon:

Cruz leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and augmented reality expeditions, Cruz must tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him, and why?

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret, written by Trudi Trueit, was published by National Geographic Partners in 2018.

Why you want to read this book… 

I loved all the twists and surprises in this story! The idea of a special school for science explorers is exciting and I was really curious to find out more. There are lots of fun gadgets in this book (emoto-glasses anyone?) and a mystery to solve about Cruz’s mom and her research. Cruz’s friends and classmates Sailor, Emmett and Lani have interesting skill sets and personalities that help to contribute to their mission. Love the action-filled colour illustrations by Scott Plumbe. I’m looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens!


“Cruz!” His name floated easily to him across the water. Cruz turned to see his dad waving him in from the beach.

If you’re a writer… 

You might want to study this novel to learn about writing action scenes. It’s hard to write an action scene with enough sensory detail to make it come alive while at the same time not slowing down the pace.
She flew past him so fast he felt a brisk breeze. “Run!”
They heard the sharp smack of hard soles against marble and saw a figure charging their way.

If you’re an educator…

This would be a nice addition to the classroom library. I loved the way science and history is incorporated into the story. There’s lots of cool technology to keep readers hooked and wondering about what our own future might bring. It would be interesting for students to research whether any of the gadgets are real or under development, or to come up with their own ideas for a new piece of technology.

He had read about mind-control digital photography in their text and was eager to try it.


There’s an awesome website for this book where you can learn more about science, play games and even win a trip!

Check out the book trailer!

For another take on this book, check out Greg Pattridge’s review here.

You can also find more middle grade fun for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. Yes, I did love this book! Thanks for your thoughts and for the link to my review. I'm glad NG KIDS is dipping into fiction to go along with their fantastic non-fiction titles.

    1. Yes, me too! I love their new non-fic board books, too.

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts for MMGM because I find your "If You're a Writer . . . " insights to be spot on and very helpful. Thanks for sharing this post with us for MMGM. I love National Geographic Kids books.

    1. Thank you, June, for your kind words. I'm glad my posts are helpful!

  3. This series is completely new to me. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  4. This sounds so fun with the focus on science and mystery. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I haven't seen this book yet. I could use some good examples of writing actions scenes. I will have to pick this up. Thanks for your review.


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