J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace have teamed up to bring introductory apologetics to a level that can be understood and digested for kids in Cold-Case Christianity for Kids. How does it fare?
The book is set up as though readers are entering into a school for police cadets with an emphasis on detective work. Each chapter is centered around exploring another aspect of evidence related to a case related to a skateboard (how did it get to where it was and who does it belong to?) and gets tied into discussion of Christian apologetics.
Chapter by chapter, readers learn how to think. Yes, many facts about the New Testament and Jesus are presented, but they are presented alongside critical insight into how to think and conduct investigation into such facts. These investigations include testing witnesses, learning about what kinds of evidence might be important, learning how to infer, separating artifacts from evidence, and more. I was impressed with how the authors conveyed some really complex elements of reasoning in ways that would, I think, be understandable for children.
The book is set in a kind of storybook format as the reader continues this cadet school, learning more about how to investigate a case while also having a story told about the investigation related to the skateboard. It’s an engaging way to present to readers without being overbearing.
I think the target audience for this book would be about ages 8-12. Some older students might find the way it includes the reader in the text a little cheesy, but younger students might not as easily follow the lines of evidence. Speaking of target audience, I was a little disappointed that the study guides included in the text rely quite a bit on fill-in-the-blank questions. Though some questions were more open-ended and allowed for more reflection, the majority were effectively filling in the blank, which I have found to be more akin to busy work than something that helps to learn.
Another great aspect of the book is the tie-in website which features chapter-by-chapter videos lead by J. Warner Wallace helping explain the core of the chapter. He’s an engaging speaker and the videos could easily be integrated by an adult leader. The site also has more study tools and a guide for adults to lead study. It’s a solid tie-in website.
Overall, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is a good introduction to apologetics that will help teach kids to think critically. I recommend it.
+Hands-on examples with real applications
+Teaches how to think in many cases
+Great tie-ins on the website
-Over-reliance on fill in the blanks for study guides