Artwork for National Geographic Kids ongoing fiction series, Explorer Academy

Interior illustrations: Scott Plumbe


It all started when…

National Geographic Kids reached out about an upcoming series of books they had in the works. We’d worked together in the past on a map project, and they’d seen some of my recent work featuring exciting adventurous scenes for young readers. They felt I might be good fit for their inaugural middle grade fact-based fiction series Explorer Academy which blend’s Trudi Trueit’s compelling storytelling with a blend of full-colour illustrations and photos from The National Geographic Society’s deep archive of imagery. Preview the trailer here:

Needless to say, I’m honoured to contribute alongside a team of scientists, archeologists, expert code-crackers and National Geographic explorers. I’m just as excited as the young readers to be carried along on this thrilling globe-trotting adventure and see how it unfolds over the seven books!

Here’s the official blurb:

Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado at the Explorer Academy, where he and 23 other kids from around the globe will train to become the next generation of great explorers. But in addition to making new friends and attending cool classes, Cruz must also unlock clues to his family’s mysterious past and tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him … and why?

Check out this cool animated short too:

The Nebula Secret, book one of these seven book series, was released to much praise in September, 2018. Book two, The Falcon’s Feather is due for release in 2019 and book three will follow shortly. There are lots of great reviews on Good Reads so far and plenty of press:

Hailed “a fun, exciting and action-packed ride that kids will love,” by J.J. Abrams and praised by James Cameron for “inspir[ing] the next generation of curious kids to go out into our world and discover something unexpected,” the book also marks the first release under Nat Geo Kids’ new banner Under the Stars.

Inspired by the real adventures and exploration of the National Geographic Society, Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret (on sale Sept. 4, 2018) is Nat Geo’s first-ever fact-based fiction title and the first in a seven-book middle-grade series. It is also Nat Geo Kids’ first transmedia franchise that includes companion publishing, online interactive elements and family entertainment centers.

More Press:


VR Focus

Kids Screen

Scout Magazine