Sean McDowell | September 15, 2016

A Cold-Case Detective Writes an Apologetics Book for Kids: Interview with J. Warner Wallace.

J. Warner Wallace has become one of the most well-known and influential apologists today. As a cold-case detective, and former atheist, he has a unique insight into the prevailing culture and also how to equip people as case makers. He's written two best-sellers: Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene. Both are insightful, interesting, and captivating.

Now, along with his wife Susie, Jim has written a children's book. And it's fantastic! Check out Jim's brief answers to my questions, and then consider getting a copy of Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, which releases October 1.

SEAN MCDOWELL: What inspired you to make a kid's version of Cold Case Christianity?

J. WARNER WALLACE: Before becoming a pastor, I served as both a Children’s Minister and as a Youth Pastor. Susie and I saw the impact culture had on young Christians, particularly when they left our youth ministry and ventured into the university setting. We also recognized that the challenge began much earlier than most people thought. College-aged Christians often entertain their first doubts as junior high students. For this reason, we’ve always been interested in providing a resource for upper elementary aged kids so they can develop a reasonable Christian faith before they face an increasingly skeptical, secular culture.

MCDOWELL: How is this book different from other kids resources?

WALLACE: There are many great resources on the market, so we wanted to do something different and complimentary. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids (CCC4K) has been written as an interactive experience. CCC4K has an accompanying interactive web Academy, designed to help readers learn good detective skills. Kids will join the three young characters in the book as they begin a Cadet Academy. Readers will be trained by Detective Alan Jeffries and if they watch the videos for each chapter, download and complete the fill-in sheets and activities, they’ll be able to earn an Academy Certificate. This Academy experience was inspired by my own involvement in the Police Explorer Academy as a teenager. Readers of CCC4K will become trained detectives as they investigate the evidence for Jesus.

MCDOWELL: Was it harder or easier to write a kid's version? What was the toughest part?

WALLACE: This was a long labor of love for Susie and I. We reviewed all the other apologetics books for kids to make sure we crafted something that would complement the existing literature even as it attempts to “raise the bar” for young students. I underestimated, however, the number of illustrations it would take to achieve the “text-to-image ratio” I was looking for. Prior to becoming a detective, I earned two degrees in the arts, so I employed that prior skillset when illustrating CCC4K. The book stretched my artistic abilities, especially in terms of the number of illustrations required to create the Academy Website.

MCDOWELL: Can you share one illustration or example that you're most proud of?

WALLACE: We designed a mystery of sorts for this book, as readers have to use their investigative skills to determine who owns a skateboard discovered at their school. These investigative skills will then be applied to the Gospels to determine if they are reliable. We enjoyed creating a mini-mystery for our readers. We also enjoyed finding creative ideas for the Academy activity sheets. One day, we drove to the market and walked down the breakfast cereal aisle. We tuned all the boxes around and systematically photographed all the activities we found. Think about it: most children’s cereal boxes have an activity on the back of the box, right? We got lots of great ideas from these box panels. As a result, we created eight activity sheets (like this one):

MCDOWELL: Your wife Susie helped with this project. How did the two of you work together?

WALLACE: It was the greatest experience for us. Truly. We would sit together and craft each word, bouncing ideas off each other and critiquing what we had already written. Susie has always been the first editor on the adult books, but she was definitely a co-author on this children’s book. We’re preparing now to continue that collaborative process with God’s Crime Scene for Kids and Forensic Faith for Kids (the adult version of this third book in the trilogy will publish in 2017).

I am attaching the image for question 4 and here are some related links:

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog:

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, the National Spokesman for Summit Ministries, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: