Join the Explorer Academy

National Geographic takes a dive into fiction with new imprint and Explorer Academy book.

A leader in exploration and science for over 130 years, National Geographic is jumping into fiction with a new book imprint, Under the Stars. Created in 2018, the new imprint will have multiple series under its banner, but its main focus will be creating fact-based fiction that kids love.

“We want to use whatever attracts kids to connect them to the real world based on real science, real society, real culture,” Jennifer Emmett, vice president for content in the Kids and Family division at National Geographic, told USA Today. “We want to engage them with characters so they become even more interested in the science that National Geographic sponsors…. [With Harry Potter] kids were dying to grow up to be wizards, which they really couldn't do. But they can grow up to be explorers. We like that pathway.”

With a starring role in the new imprint, a seven-book series called Explorer Academy uses the colorful lore and proud tradition of the National Geographic Society’s earliest adventurers and their modern-day, high-tech discoveries to tell the story of 12-year-old Cruz Coronado.

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In Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret, Cruz is admitted into the elite Explorer Academy and joins 23 talented kids from around the world to become the next generation of great explorers. But as soon as he arrives at the Academy’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. From deciphering secret codes to uncovering the truth about his mother’s death, Cruz has his work cut out for him if he wants to find out what’s really going on.

Along the way, Cruz and his friends get help from explorers in the field doing real-world science and learn how friendship and science can save the world.

Kirkus Reviews says, “This series opener from a new imprint of National Geographic is a fully-packed, high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of fun characters.” J.J. Abrams hails the book as “a fun, exciting, and action-packed ride that kids will love.” With more positive reviews from media and readers alike, the series is off to a good start.

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Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology. —Booklist

Bringing the Academy to the World

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret is available starting September 4, 2018, and the fun continues with an author tour, website, comic cons, and more. Be sure to check out, where you will find games, quizzes, a sneak peek at the first chapter, and new content each month.

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Come experience Explorer Academy in person! Here’s a list of events:

National Book Festival – Washington, DC; September 1

Pop-up Explorer Academy Recruitment Center – New York, NY; September 5

Books of Wonder (New York Launch Event) – New York, NY; September 22

57th Street Books – Chicago, IL; September 23

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Anderson’s Bookshop – Naperville, IL; September 24

Little Shop of Stories – Decatur, GA; September 26

Barnes & Noble – Thousand Oaks, CA; September 27

Newport Beach Library, in conjunction with A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe – Newport Beach, CA; September 28

PNBA Trade Show Sweet and Greet (not open to the general public) – Tacoma, WA; September 29

New York Comic Con – New York, NY; October 4-7

University Book Store – Mill Creek, WA; October 13

Third Place Books (Ravenna) – Seattle, WA; October 19

Costco – Issaquah, WA; October 20

American Library Association Midwinter Meeting – Seattle, WA; January 25-28

Emerald City Comic Con – Seattle, WA; March 14-17

For more details on events attended by author Trudi Trueit and explorer Zoltan Takacs, see our author tour calendar. Stay tuned to @NatGeoBooks on Twitter for real-time updates.

And keep an eye out for Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather, coming March 19, 2019!