Meet Danika Cooley, author of the Who What Why series. If your kids like fun narrative, exciting facts, hidden rabbit trails, and interesting stories, don’t miss this series!

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Danika Cooley, and I write about the Bible and Christian history for kids. I’m a married mother of four adults, and I homeschooled the youngest two for twelve years, through high school.

I love Jesus, and I want all Christians to know and love God’s Word. I am the author of Bible Road Trip™, a three-year Bible survey curriculum for preschool to high school that is used around the globe, and Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible from Bethany House.

Tell us about your chapter books.

I’ve written a fun, puzzle-based Bible study for 8 to 12 year olds with The Good Book Company, Bible Investigators: Creation. I’m also the author of When Lighting Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, historical fiction for teens from Fortress Press. For 5 to 11 year olds, I have a book out from Christian Focus 4 Kids titled Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth.

Today, I’d love to talk about the Who What Why Christian history series from Christian Focus 4 Kids. It’s a fun, illustrated series of chapter books for ages 7 to 12 which addresses theology, biography, and history in an interesting way for middle grade kids. 

The books currently published are: Who Was Martin Luther?, What Was the Gutenberg Bible?, Why Did the Reformation Happen?, Who Were the Abolitionists?, What Was the Underground Railroad?, and Why Did Slavery End?.

In September 2024, we are adding to the series with Who Was Moses?, What Was the Tabernacle?, and Why Did the Exodus Happen?. There are more books in the series coming!

What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?

The Who What Why books are perfect for inquisitive 8 to 12-year-olds who love to learn the ins and outs of a subject. If your kids like fun narrative, exciting facts, hidden rabbit trails, and interesting stories, the Who What Why series will thrill them.

The books are a great way for your kids to really get involved in history from a Christian perspective in a way that’s engaging and unique.

Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.

From What Was the Underground Railroad? by Danika Cooley (Christian Focus Publications, 2023), page 16:

Have you ever taken a ride on a train? It can be a lot of fun. You board the train at the station, then enjoy the countryside as you race along the line. You disembark right where you intend to arrive.

Taking a ride on the Underground Railroad was a little different.

What inspired you to write this series?

I homeschooled my boys using a literature- and history-based curriculum. I loved the books we read, but I wanted to find history that was written from a theologically-sound Christian perspective, and that covered a variety of events and people in an honest way, that was specifically written for 8 to 12 year olds. We loved the books we read that fit those specifications, but I wished there were more of them . . . so I started writing!

My editor at Christian Focus Publications, Catherine MacKenzie (she is a prolific author as well as the Children’s Editor for CFP), and I talked through the series, adding a theological book (the Why book) to the series. For me, that book really ties each three-book segment in the series together, creating a unit-study feel for kids.

With the Who What Why series, kids get to read about a person (or several people) in a movement, about an event, system, or invention that is important, and they read about the theology behind why a movement occurred. Knowing what the Bible says about a particular issue and then seeing how Christians in history applied Scripture is important!

Of course, I want kids to love learning about the history of God’s people. I have a really good time writing as though I’m speaking directly to them. And, Martyn Smith’s black-and-white ink illustrations are wonderful.

Ultimately, I want kids to really feel as though they are gaining special and important knowledge—because they are!

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

I was one of those kids that wrote four-page, small-print stories at the age of seven. But, I never wanted to be an author. My older sister had significant neurological damage from an illness and I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. In college, though, it became clear that neurosurgery is not what God fitted me to do in life. So, I graduated in art and went into marketing.

In the course of raising four kids, I became a stay-at-home, homeschool mom. I rediscovered my love of reading and writing from childhood. The Lord also ignited in me a desire to see children, and their moms, become biblically literate. 

I wrote Bible Road Trip™ to use with my own children and shared it with others. To date, it’s been downloaded or sold in the printed version more than 300,000 times. Late at night, I worked on writing When Lighting Struck!. Somewhere in there, it became clear to me that I really wanted to write to the glory of God.

What’s one chapter book you always recommend?

Our family loved the Mr. Pipes adventures from Douglas Bond! My boys also adored Bill Myers’s The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle series.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Join a writing organization! 

I have belonged to Cascade Christian Writers (formerly Oregon Christian Writers) since 2010. I went to my first writing conference in 2009. There is no way I would be a published writer without the education and support of my professional writing organization.

What formats are your books available in?

  • Paperback
  • Ebook

Find them all here.

What’s next?

Bible Investigators: Creation published February 1, 2024, and Who Was Moses?, What Was the Tabernacle?, and Why Did the Exodus Happen? will be publishing in September 2024.

The Who What Why books publish each fall, at the rate of three per year.

How can parents find you?

You can find my blog at—I share parenting, discipleship, and homeschool tips, Bible printables and crafts, and Christian book for kids suggestions. You can find my store at

My books are available on, Amazon, and

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