Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum is an animated series based on the children's book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos. This new multiplatform series will introduce kids ages 4-7 to inspiring historical figures – from Rosa Parks to Leonardo da Vinci – who will help them learn important social-emotional concepts. The series is a co-production between United States and Canada.
The series follows the adventures of Xavier Riddle, his sister Yadina and their friend Brad. In each episode, they face a problem and turn to The Secret Museum, a hidden room under an ordinary museum, to help them solve it. The museum allows Xavier, Yadina and Brad to travel back in time to meet real-life historical figures when they were kids. They witness pivotal moments that shaped each of these iconic people and learn social-emotional lessons – such as being resilient in the face of adversity and making and accomplishing goals. Each episode is designed to help viewers make the connection between the attributes that made each historical figure a hero, and those same attributes within themselves, while approaching history in an engaging, age-appropriate manner. Each episode of will include two animated 11-minute stories with accompanying interstitial content.
Main Article: Episode Guide
- Sebastian Bernhardt-Walther as Johann Sebastian Bach and Albert Einstein
- Julia Bilinska as Marie Curie
- Afrodite Drossos as Mary Shelley, Florence Nightingale, and Mary Leakey
- Liam MacDonald as Harry Houdini
- Claire Waters as Helen Keller
- Gavin McIver-Wright as Alexander Graham Bell and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Christian Campbell as George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, and Jesse Owens
- Niko Ceci as Leonardo da Vinci
- Markeda McKay as Amelia Earhart, Nellie Bly, and Wilma Rudolph
- Jackson Doherty as Isaac Newton
- Hattie Kragten as Golda Meir
- William Thompson as Winston Churchill
- Saara Chaudry as Cleopatra
- Maryanne Gilbert as Catherine the Great and Eleanor Roosevelt
- Tyler Blanchard as Tomioka Tessai
- Maxim Lutterotti as George Washington and Orville Wright
- Katie Advani as Susan B. Anthony
- Shechinah Mpumlwana as Zora Neale Hurston
- Lucas Kalechstein as Charles Dickens
- Roman Lutterotti as Wilbur Wright
- Siena Bidefell as Charlotte Bronte
- Scarlett Bidfell as Emily Bronte
- Teagan Sellers as Anne Bronte
- Kaden Bowland-Trowbridge as Mark Twain
- Ana Araujo as Abigail Adams
- Beatrice Schneider as Julia Child, Kate Warne, Billie Jean King, and Carol Burnett
- Eamon Hansen as Neil Armstrong and Theodore Roosevelt
- Jazz Stewart as Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe
- Elizabeth Gnidash as Anna Pavlova
- Isaak Bailey as Alexander Hamilton
- Roman Pesino as Lou Gehrig and Jonas Salk
- Holly Gorski as Marie Owens
- Alexa Cambell as Jackie Joyner-Kersee
- Emma Ho as Junko Tabei and Dolores Huerta
- Kiaha Peters as Sally Ride
- Callum Shoniker as Nikola Tesla and Abraham Lincoln
- Sage Arrindell as Maya Angelou and Mary Anning
- Chris D'Silva as Louis Pasteur
- Ava Preston as Rachel Carson
- Ian Ho as Cesar Chavez, Confucius, and Charlie Chaplin
- Isabella Beaver as Sacagawea and Jigonsaseh
- Maria Nash as Rosa Parks
- Justice James as Thurgood Marshall
- Millie Davis as Harriet Tubman
- Cody Black as James Naismith
- Sara Ralph as Temple Grandin
- Vanessa Gojmerac as Jane Jacobs and Beulah Louise Henry
- Davide Fair as Edmund Hillary
- Ainsley Diaz as Celia Cruz
- Delia Chambers as Ella Fitzgerald and Rukmini Devi
- Adventurous music - Music cue played when the kids travel to the secret museum in each episode.
- Interstitials - short cartoons played in between episodes during TV airings, all involving Berby. They include:
- Race Around the World - Berby and Xavier race around the world. Berby always wins and a Scoreboard is updated each time.
- Hide and Seek - Berby and Yadina play hide and seek in the museum.
- Adventures of Bradman and Berby - Berby and Brad draw comics together.
- It's You - Berby and Dr. Zoom play together while a song plays in the background.
- Alliteration - Instances of alliteration.
- Big red button - In the cold opening of each episode, the characters press a button to start the show.
- Language - The use of language on the series.
- Meets - Specific promos introducing the characters.
- Promos - General promos advertising the show.
- Secret Museum Entrances - The ways that the kids get to the secret museum, which is different in each episode.
- Sneak Peeks - Specific promos featuring a sneak peek of an episode.
- Storyboards - Storyboards posted by artists on their websites.
- The Translator - A device Xavier has on his hood to translate foreign languages to English.
- Timeline - A comprehensive list of dates in which the kids have gone back to visit.
- Timetravel - The method by which the characters travel back in time to meet historical figures.
The success of the show has led to a number of spin-off merchandise.
- Xavier Riddle Personalized Sports Bottle - Sold on the PBS Kids online shop.
- Meet Xavier! - A DVD.
- Tie-in Books - Books based on the show.
- Virtual Backgrounds - Backgrounds for use during online calls.
- Games on pbskids.org, including:
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum has received critical acclaim. Rick Bentley of KGET said "The idea is to make the show both entertaining and informative for youngsters ages 4-7 but Meltzer’s convinced there’s enough humor and historical facts to make the shows fun to watch by older viewers" and that the show "makes history fun". Sherryl Wilson of Mom Does Reviews says that the show "helps kids learn". GeekMom called the show "wacky, child-like, fun, and adventurous."
The AV Club recommended the show for watching at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During its U.S. debut, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum emerged as one of PBS KIDS’ top programs on TV and digital platforms, reaching 3 million children on PBS TV stations in its first six weeks on-air and streamed more than 41 million times across PBS KIDS’ owned digital platforms since its premiere.
Awards and nominations
Gina Catanzarite of the Parents Choice Foundation gave the show a Gold Award, and said that the show "delightful take on teaching kids about history" and called it "novel and relatable."
The show has also been nominated for several awards.
- 2020 - An Annie Award for Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children (I Am Helen Keller and I Am Amelia Earhart)
- 2020 - Cory Bobiak, Steven Boeckler and Susan Hart were nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Preschool Animated Program
- 2020 - TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
- 2020 - Jennifer Daley was nominated for a WGC Screenwriting Award for her work on I Am Johann Sebastian Bach
- Afrodite Drossos and Ana Araujo both won Nova Star awards for playing Florence Nightingale and Abigail Adams respectively.
- 2021 - An Annie Award for Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children
- 2021 - I Am Harriet Tubman won a Youth Media Alliance award for best preschool animation
- 2021 - Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Daytime Animated Program (I Am Madam President) and Outstanding Directing Team for a Preschool Animated Program.
This show is funded in part by ABCMouse.com and Kiddie Academy. Also, by Viewers Like You.
- The series is based on the book series, Ordinary People Change the World.
- The scenes feature cartoonish eyes popping out when one of the main characters are scared, surprised, or shocked.
- This show premiered the same day as Blue's Clues and You
- (Source: Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 11/11/19-12/22/19, K2-11, Series & Spcls Reach, 75% unif, 1+ min; Source: Google Analytics Nov ’19 – Dec ’19)