National Geographic Set to Pull Kids into Universe of Exploration, Adventure and Science with First-Ever 360-Degree Fiction Franchise

picture of Explorer Academy cover

National Geographic Kids will launch its largest campaign ever for its first 360-degree transmedia fiction franchise, Explorer Academy, at the National Book Festival on September 1, 2018. The first title in the seven-book, middle-grade series, Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret (September 4, 2018), written by Trudi Trueit, is inspired by the real adventures and fieldwork of National Geographic explorers.

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret brings together a diverse, multicultural cast of characters for a thrilling quest that combines science-based fact with futuristic fun. This uniquely interactive series invites readers to break codes and solve puzzles alongside Cruz and his friends as they travel the world aboard the ship Orion, immersing themselves in other cultures and learning about science and technology from real explorers in the field.

“We want kids to be inspired to explore and take on the mindset of explorers,” said Jennifer Emmett, National Geographic Kids’ Vice President for Content. “Kids who grow up to be explorers are the next caretakers of our planet, so we need to empower the whole generation.”

The Explorer Academy series is the initial phase in National Geographic’s 360-degree franchise launch, one that will include everything from online interactive elements to family entertainment centers around the world. The marketing campaign includes a kick-off at the National Book Festival, a NYC activation event, a national multi-market tour, movie theater promotions, a kid ambassador program, TV and radio promotion, transmedia scavenger hunts, and consumer advertising—reaching 38 million consumers.

As a headline sponsor of the National Book Festival, National Geographic will offer an array of activities for festival-goers, including in-booth and stage presentations from author Trudi Trueit and National Geographic Explorer Zoltan Takacs, a scavenger hunt, a code-breaking station, explorer trivia, and a virtual reality experience.

Following the National Book Festival, Trudi will embark on a North American tour, accompanied by Zoltan and beginning in New York City with a one-day Explorer Academy Recruitment Center activation. Visitors will test their skills to determine if they have what it takes to train at Explorer Academy. Additionally, they will discover what type of explorer they are destined to become. The event will be open to press and the public on September 5, 2018.

A local explorer will accompany Trudi to school visits, bookstore signings and press opportunities to promote the release of Explorer Academy in each of the following markets: New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The full tour schedule is online here.

Movie theaters in 10 top markets across the country will run the Explorer Academy book trailer over four weeks in the fall and distribute chapter samplers. Among the movie markets are Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft. Worth and San Francisco, in addition to several of the tour cities.

Lastly, one lucky family of four will win the Explorer Academy Sweepstakes—a shipboard adventure through Alaska’s Inside Passage, courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions (Entries accepted May 1, 2018–May 31, 2019 at

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret is the first book published under the new National Geographic Kids Books fiction imprint, Under the Stars. Book two in the series and a companion codebreaking activity book are scheduled for publication in Spring 2019.


“A FUN, EXCITING and action-packed ride that kids will love.”

—J.J. Abrams, award-winning film and television creator, writer, producer and director

“Inspires the next generation of curious kids to go out into our world and discover something unexpected.”

—James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and acclaimed filmmaker


“This was the best book I have ever read … I felt like I was exploring with them!” —Miriam, age 10

“I think this book should be read by men, women and children.” —Jack, age 10


“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.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This exciting series opener introduces young readers to the joys of science and nature.” —Publishers Weekly

Press Contacts:

Ann Day,, 202-912-6712
Caitlin Holbrook,, 202-912-6714

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.