Artwork for National Geographic Kids ongoing fiction series, Explorer Academy

Preview of interior illustrations: Scott Plumbe


It all started when…

Book one of the Explorer Academy was completed and proving a success! National Geographic’s first instalment of its middle grade fact-based fiction series Explorer Academy blended Trudi Trueit’s compelling storytelling with a blend of full-colour illustrations and photos from National Geographic Society’s deep archive of imagery. Book two needed to do the same, but push the story further. As an artists, I feel blessed on projects like this where I have lots of great material to work with: science, technology, nature, travel and interesting characters… oh, and did I mentions danger?! Check out the book trailer here:

The Falcon’s Feather is an exciting sequel that takes readers onboard Orion, the academy’s floating campus and all-purpose exploration vessel.

Here’s the official blurb:

The Falcon’s Feather, the second book in the thrilling new Explorer Academy series, ups the stakes for 12-year-old Cruz Coronado and friends, who are training to become the next generation of great explorers. The team gets to experience amazing expeditions and cool technology while aboard their classroom at sea, but for Cruz, danger lurks around every corner as Nebula continues to track his every move.

So far, feedback for the series and previews of The Falcon’s Feather on Good Reads are looking great.

And advance praise Kirkus:

The educational component of this story takes readers outside of the book via a link to an interactive companion website. Like its predecessor, this book is chock-full of National Geographic adventure interlaced with techno-future gadgets the academy provides its diverse young students…” — Kirkus

An artwork preview of book two is here on Collider and an interview here with Eva Absher-Schantz head of design for the seven-book Explorer Academy series, to see how the beautiful design came to be.

The official Penguin Random House blurb:


It’s an adventure of a lifetime when Cruz Coronado sets sail for the shores of Iceland and Norway aboard the Explorer Academy ship to continue his studies at sea. But, things take a turn while exploring the icy north, when he embarks on a dangerous mission to uncover the first piece of an important puzzle his mother left behind.

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? 

Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather is released in US and Canada March 19, 2019

Good news, The Double Helix, book three of these seven book series, is underway and due for release in September 2019!