By Isabella Biedenharn
Updated October 21, 2016 at 03:18 PM EDT

In Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel’s new middle grade series, 5 Worlds, three kids must team up on a quest to save The Five Worlds, which are threatened with extinction unless five ancient beacons are lit. The kids embark on this adventure while a war plays out across the worlds.

Below, check out EW’s exclusive reveal of the cover for the series’ first installment: 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior, which hits shelves May 2, 2017.

5 Worlds is illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun. Mark Siegel (author and founder/editorial director of First Second Books) introduces the cast of characters, exclusively for EW, and tells us what he loves about the series itself.

Credit: © Antzu Pantzu, LLC

The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, OONA LEE is a misfit. But her weakness conceals a destiny greater than she could ever imagine.

Credit: © Antzu Pantzu, LLC

As a boy from the toxic slums of Sao Sablo, AN TZU faces long odds, but he has a surprising gift, an optimistic spirit—and a knack for being in the wrong place at the right time.

Credit: © Antzu Pantzu, LLC

Young JAX AMBOY is already a legend. He’s the perfect athlete, adored by Starball fans across five worlds—but he has no real friends.

From Mark Siegel:

“I love being dropped into an exotic, fully realized world, and finding my way in it. Even better if in this strange-yet-familiar new place—whether it’s Earthsea or Tattooine or Middle-Earth—I meet new characters whose struggles move me deeply. Then I never want to leave, and these worlds become part of my world. The 5 Worlds series is a new place to take you to, new friends to meet; and it’s my great privilege to do this with four brilliant, committed fellow dreamers. We want to entertain you, and in the midst of that, maybe echoes of our own beautiful and troubled world will resonate for you—in the clash of cultures, the despoiling of nature, the tests and bonds of friendship, and the diversity of humanity. Together the five of us bring you 5 Worlds, and we can’t wait for you to join us there.”

For more on 5 Worlds, and to see a video of the creators explaining how everything came together, head to Random House Children’s Books.