If you’re new to the idea of apologetics, you might be asking, What exactly is apologetics and why would such a big word matter to my kids?
Apologetics means “a reasoned argument or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine” (via Dictionary.com). In other words, apologetics look at why we believe what we believe and they are important for our kids because someday, they will encounter theories and beliefs in culture that are counter to Christianity.
Every parent knows that kids ask the toughest questions. Especially about God. Where does God go on his summer vacation? What color are God’s eyes? How can God listen to everyone all at the same time? Did God really make the world, ‘cause my science teacher said . . . ?
According to “Sticky Faith” research from the Fuller Youth Institute, one of the biggest reasons teenagers turn away from the faith is because they didn’t feel like they were allowed to ask questions or show any doubt in church, or even with their parents. One of the four main things researchers recommend for developing a faith that “sticks” into adulthood is giving your children a safe place to ask questions and wrestle with their faith so that they grow to understand why they believe what they believe.
But what if they ask something we don’t know the answer to? Even those of us who have been teaching kids about the Bible in Sunday School for years don’t know all the answers! That’s where this list of best apologetics books for kids can help. They may not have every answer to everything kids may ever ask, like “If Jesus came back from the dead, does that mean He’s a zombie?” But these resources deal with real questions in kid-friendly language that meets them at their level. They will still have questions, just like we adults still have questions! But they will at least come away with a strong foundation of what it means to be a Christian and why we believe what we believe.
Apologetics Books for 8-12-year-olds:
Based on his best-selling and award-winning books for adults, these books from investigative reporter-turned-apologist Lee Strobel have been adapted for elementary-aged kids. Written in a Q&A format, they give historical evidence, expert testimonies, and scientific proofs to build a case for the truth of the Gospel. There is also a 90-day family devotional that can be used along with the book.
Cold Case Christianity for Kids, by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace
If your kids like the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, or Club CSI books, they will love this book from actual detective J. Warner Wallace, which treats apologetics like a detective case—checking evidence, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing all of the information to get to the truth. Check out their accompanying website where kids can watch videos, download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate from the “Case Makers Academy.”
The Awesome Book of Bible Answers for Kids, by Josh McDowell and Kevin Johnson
Written in a simple Q&A format, from well-known apologist Josh McDowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and A Ready Defense, this book will help your kids answer common questions about God, sin, the Bible, different religions, and more. You can read it straight through or take it a question at a time, depending on your kids’ interest.
If I Could Ask God Anything: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids, by Kathryn Slattery
Also written in a Q&A format, this book from longtime Guideposts contributing editor Kathryn Slattery gives fresh, clear answers to lots of questions kids ask about God, some of which aren’t so common. Slattery draws from her experience as a mother and a Christian author to speak directly to children in a way that they can understand.
Illustrated Apologetics Books for Younger Children:
The Young Defenders series, by Melissa Cain Travis
Picture Book Apologetics series, by J.D. Camorlinga
‘Possums and the Empty Tomb (The Resurrection)
Chameleon’s Can of Worms (Relativism)
Fox and the Hard Day (The Problem of Evil)
Pig and the Accidental Oink! (Cosmological Argument)
Pooch and the Pearly Gates (Heaven and the New Earth)
Pitfalls (Logical Fallacy Guide)
Apologetics Books For Parents:
Mama Bear Apologetics, edited by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
This isn’t just a book of apologetics, this is a book about how to talk to your kids about apologetics. That is, how to train your kids to recognize the unbiblical messages in our culture and how to combat them with the truth of God’s Word. This book is written specifically to moms, but dads can glean insight from it, too. The book includes questions for small group discussion and practical applications, including prayer strategies.
Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side, by Natasha Crain
Written in a Q&A format, this book responds to 40 challenging questions kids get today while talking with friends at school, in their neighborhoods and activities, and online. Learn how to replace your kids’ doubts with confidence, encourage open dialogue, and equip them to defend their faith.
The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel
The original adult version of the kid’s book above, this book follows Lee Strobel’s own journey as an atheist investigative journalist who was setting out to prove his wife’s newfound Christian faith wrong. It is packed with information, yet easy to read. And BONUS, there’s a movie! The movie includes a brief overview of Stroebel’s apologetics but is mostly the story of his journey to faith and how both the facts and his wife’s faith were what led him to finally believe.
Not sure where to start with talking to your kids about Christian beliefs? Try this article right here on Minno Life:
How to Talk to Your Kids about Faith, by Cara Davis
In this article, mom and Christian writer Cara Davis does a great job of describing how to give your kids space to ask questions and have doubts, while gently guiding them to trust in Jesus in a real and authentic way.
Dealing with your kids’ questions—both the off-the-wall ones and the deep ones that are hard for most adults to understand—is not for the faint of heart. It can be one of the challenging parts of Christian parenting. But if we are open and honest with our kids; if we listen and share from the heart rather than just giving them pat answers; and, most of all, if we show them that even adults have questions and doubts and yet still choose to trust and follow Jesus, we will succeed in guiding our kids to a faith that is real, that is truly their own, and that sticks into adulthood.