Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back [NOOK Book]


ôA beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.ö

ùRon Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

ôDo you remember the hospital, Colton?ö Sonja said. ôYes, mommy, I remember,ö he said. ôThatÆs where the angels sang to me.ö

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they werenÆt expecting, though, was the story ...

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Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

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ôA beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.ö

ùRon Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

ôDo you remember the hospital, Colton?ö Sonja said. ôYes, mommy, I remember,ö he said. ôThatÆs where the angels sang to me.ö

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they werenÆt expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followedùa story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boyÆs trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgeryûand authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how ôreally, really bigö God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using ColtonÆs uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, ôNobody is old and nobody wears glasses.ö

Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Burpo, a Wesleyan pastor in rural Nebraska, recounts the story of his son’s mystic vision of heaven while the youngster was suffering from a near-fatal illness in the spring of 2003. Through the course of the work, Burpo recalls conversations he had with his son about what heaven was like. Christians will be encouraged, non-Christians not at all. This work is written in a plain, conversational style that Dean Gallagher narrates with great skill. Gallagher reads at a pace that is never hurried, even when recalling stressful incidents. He is expressive, but never melodramatic—especially when relating the anguish Burpo and his wife felt at nearly losing their child." 
M.T.F.  © AudioFile Portland, Maine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849949203
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/31/2011
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 5,069
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Todd Burpo

Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan and a volunteer fireman. He and his wife, Sonja, have four children: Colton is an active teenager; he has an older sister, Cassie; a younger brother, Colby; and a very special sister he met in heaven. Sonja Burpo is a busy mom and pastor's wife. A certified elementary teacher, Sonja is passionate about children's ministry and helping women work through the difficulty of miscarriage.

Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer ofHeaven Is for Real and Same Kind of Different As Me. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn has sold 12 million copies since 2006. She worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

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Read an Excerpt

Heaven is for Real

A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
By Todd Burpo Lynn Vincent

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 HIFR Ministries, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4920-3

Chapter One


The family trip when our nightmare began was supposed to be a celebration. In early March 2003, I was scheduled to travel to Greeley, Colorado, for a district board meeting of the Wesleyan church. Beginning the August before, our family had traveled a rocky road: seven months of back-to-back injury and illness that included a shattered leg, two surgeries, and a cancer scare, all of which combined to drain our bank account to the point where I could almost hear sucking sounds when the statements came in the mail. My small pastor's salary hadn't been affected, but our financial mainstay was the overhead garage door business we owned. Our medical trials had taken a heavy toll.

By February, though, we seemed to be on the other side of all that. Since I had to travel anyway, we decided to turn the board-meeting trip into a kind of marker in our family life—a time to have a little fun, revive our minds and spirits, and start moving forward again with fresh hope.

Sonja had heard of a neat place for kids to visit just outside Denver called the Butterfly Pavilion. Billed as an "invertebrate zoo," the Butterfly Pavilion opened in 1995 as an educational project that would teach people about the wonders of insects as well as marine critters, the kinds that live in tide pools. These days, kids are greeted outside the zoo by a towering and colorful metal sculpture of a praying mantis. But back in 2003, the giant insect hadn't taken up his post yet, so the low brick building about fifteen minutes from downtown Denver didn't shout "Kid appeal!" on the outside. But inside, a world of wonders waited, especially for kids Colton's and Cassie's ages.

The first place we stopped was the "Crawl-A-See-Um," a room filled with terrariums housing creepy-crawly critters from beetles to roaches to spiders. One exhibit, the Tarantula Tower, drew Cassie and Colton like a magnet. This stack of terrariums was, exactly as advertised, a tower of glassed-in habitats containing the kind of furry, thick-legged spiders that either fascinate you or give you the willies.

Cassie and Colton took turns climbing a three-step folding stool in order to get a look at the residents of the Tarantula Tower's upper stories. In one terrarium, a Mexican blonde tarantula squatted in a corner, its exoskeleton covered with what the exhibit placard described as hair in a "lovely" pale color. Another habitat contained a red-and-black tarantula native to India. One of the scarier-looking residents was a "skeleton tarantula," so named because its black legs were segmented with white bands so that the spider looked a little like an Xray in reverse. We later heard that this particular skeleton tarantula was a bit of a rebel: once, she had somehow engineered a jailbreak, invaded the habitat next door, and eaten her neighbor for lunch.

As Colton hopped up on the footstool to see what the rogue tarantula looked like, he glanced back at me with a grin that warmed me. I could feel my neck muscles begin to unknot, and somewhere inside me a pressure valve released, the emotional equivalent of a long sigh. For the first time in months, I felt I could simply enjoy my family.

"Wow, look at that one!" Cassie said, pointing into one of the terrariums. A slightly gangly six-year-old, my daughter was as smart as a whip, a trait she got from her mom. Cassie was pointing to the exhibit sign, which read: "Goliath Birdeater ... females can be over eleven inches long."

The one in this tank was only about six inches long, but its body was as thick as Colton's wrist. He stared through the glass wide-eyed. I looked over and saw Sonja wrinkle her nose.

I guess one of the volunteer zookeepers saw her expression, too, because he quickly came to the birdeater's defense. "The Goliath is from South America," he said in a friendly, educational tone that said, They're not as yucky as you think. "Tarantulas from North and South America are very docile. You can even hold one right over there." He pointed to where another zookeeper was holding a smaller tarantula in his palm so that a group of kids could take a closer look.

Cassie darted across the room to see what all the fuss was about, with Sonja, Colton, and me bringing up the rear. In a corner of the room decorated to look like a bamboo hut, the keeper was displaying the undisputed star of the Crawl-A-See-Um, Rosie the Spider. A rose-haired tarantula from South America, Rosie was a furry arachnid with a plum-size body and legs six inches long, thick as pencils. But the best thing about Rosie from a kid's point of view was that if you were brave enough to hold her, even for a moment, the zookeeper would award you with a sticker.

Now, if you have little kids, you already know that there are times they'd rather have a good sticker than a handful of cash. And this sticker was special: white with a picture of a tarantula stamped in yellow, it read, "I held Rosie!"

This wasn't just any old sticker; this was a badge of courage!

Cassie bent low over the keeper's hand. Colton looked up at me, blue eyes wide. "Can I have a sticker, Daddy?"

"You have to hold Rosie to get a sticker, buddy."

At that age, Colton had this precious way of talking, part-serious, part-breathless, golly-gee wonder. He was a smart, funny little guy with a black-and-white way of looking at life. Something was either fun (LEGOs) or it wasn't (Barbies). He either liked food (steak) or hated it (green beans). There were good guys and bad guys, and his favorite toys were good-guy action figures. Superheroes were a big deal to Colton. He took his Spider-Man, Batman, and Buzz Lightyear action figures with him everywhere he went. That way, whether he was stuck in the backseat of the SUV, in a waiting room, or on the floor at the church, he could still create scenes in which the good guys saved the world. This usually involved swords, Colton's favorite weapon for banishing evil. At home, he could be the superhero. I'd often walk into the house and find Colton armed to the teeth, a toy sword tucked through each side of his belt and one in each hand: "I'm playing Zorro, Daddy! Wanna play?"

Now Colton turned his gaze to the spider in the keeper's hand, and it looked to me like he wished he had a sword right then, at least for moral support. I tried to imagine how huge the spider must look to a little guy who wasn't even four feet tall. Our son was all boy—a rough-and-tumble kid who had gotten up close and personal with plenty of ants and beetles and other crawling creatures. But none of those creepy-crawlies had been as big as his face and with hair nearly as long as his own.

Cassie straightened and smiled at Sonja. "I'll hold her, Mommy. Can I hold Rosie?"

"Okay, but you'll have to wait your turn," Sonja said.

Cassie got in line behind a couple of other kids. Colton's eyes never left Rosie as first a boy then a girl held the enormous spider and the zookeeper awarded the coveted stickers. In no time at all, Cassie's moment of truth arrived. Colton braced himself against my legs, close enough to see his sister, but trying to bolt at the same time, pushing back against my knees. Cassie held out her palm and we all watched as Rosie, an old hand with small, curious humans, lifted one furry leg at a time and scurried across the bridge from the keeper's hand into Cassie's, then back into the keeper's.

"You did it!" the keeper said as Sonja and I clapped and cheered. "Good job!" Then the zookeeper stood, peeled a white-and-yellow sticker off a big roll, and gave it to Cassie.

This, of course, made it even worse for Colton, who had not only been upstaged by his sister but was now also the only stickerless Burpo kid. He gazed longingly at Cassie's prize, then back at Rosie, and I could see him trying to wrestle down his fear. Finally, he pursed his lips, dragged his gaze away from Rosie, and looked back up at me. "I don't want to hold her."

"Okay," I said.

"But can I have a sticker?"

"Nope, the only way to get one is to hold her. Cassie did it. You can do it if you want to. Do you want to try? Just for a second?"

Colton looked back at the spider, then at his sister, and I could see wheels turning behind his eyes: Cassie did it. She didn't get bit.

Then he shook his head firmly: No. "But I still want a sticker!" he insisted. At the time, Colton was two months shy of four years old—and he was very good at standing his ground.

"The only way you can get a sticker is if you hold Rosie," Sonja said. "Are you sure you don't want to hold her?"

Colton answered by grabbing Sonja's hand and trying to tug her away from the keeper. "No. I wanna to go see the starfish."

"Are you sure?" Sonja said.

With a vigorous nod, Colton marched toward the Crawl- A-See-Um door.

Chapter Two


In the next room, we found rows of aquariums and indoor "tide pools." We wandered around the exhibits, taking in starfish and mollusks and sea anemones that looked like underwater blossoms. Cassie and Colton oohed and aahed as they dipped their hands in man-made tide pools and touched creatures that they had never seen.

Next, we stepped into a massive atrium, bursting with jungle leaves, vines tumbling down, branches climbing toward the sky. I took in the palm trees and exotic flowers that looked as if they'd come from one of Colton's storybooks. And all around us, clouds of butterflies flitted and swirled.

As the kids explored, I let my mind drift back to the summer before, when Sonja and I played in a coed softball league, like we do every year. We usually finished in the top five, even though we played on the "old folks" team—translation: people in their thirties—battling teams made up of college kids. Now it struck me as ironic that our family's seven-month trial began with an injury that occurred in the last game of our last tournament of the 2002 season. I played center field, and Sonja played outfield rover. By then, Sonja had earned her master's degree in library science and to me was even more beautiful than when she'd first caught my eye as a freshman strolling across the quad at Bartlesville Wesleyan College.

Summer was winding down, but the dog days of the season were in full force with a penetrating heat, thirsty for rain. We had traveled from Imperial about twenty miles down the road to the village of Wauneta for a double-elimination tournament. At nearly midnight, we were battling our way up through the bracket, playing under the blue-white glow of the field lights.

I don't remember what the score was, but I remember we were at the tail end of the game and the lead was within reach. I had hit a double and was perched on second base. Our next batter came up and knocked a pitch that landed in the center-field grass. I saw my chance. As an outfielder ran to scoop up the ball, I took off for third base.

I sensed the ball winging toward the infield.

Our third-base coach motioned frantically: "Slide! Slide!"

Adrenaline pumping, I dropped to the ground and felt the red dirt swooshing underneath my left hip. The other team's third baseman stretched out his glove hand for the ball and—


The sound of my leg breaking was so loud that I imagined the ball had zinged in from the outfield and smacked it. Fire exploded in my shin and ankle. I fell to my back, contracted into a fetal position, and pulled my knee up to my belly. The pain was searing, and I remember the dirt around me transforming into a blur of legs, then concerned faces, as two of our players, both EMTs, ran to my aid.

I dimly remember Sonja rushing over to take a look. I could tell by her expression that my leg was bent in ways that didn't look natural. She stepped back to let our EMT friends get to work. A twenty-mile ride later, hospital Xrays revealed a pair of nasty breaks. The tibia, the larger bone in my lower leg, had sustained what doctors call a "spiral break," meaning that each end of the break looked like the barber-pole pattern on a drill bit. Also, my ankle had snapped completely in half. That was probably the break I had heard. I later learned that the cracking sound was so loud that people sitting in the stands at first base heard it.

That sound replayed in my head as Sonja and I watched Cassie and Colton scamper ahead of us in the Butterfly Pavilion atrium. The kids stopped on a small bridge and peered down into a koi pond, chattering and pointing. Clouds of butterflies floated around us, and I glanced at the brochure I'd bought at the front desk to see if I could tell their names. There were "blue morphos" with wings a deep aquamarine, black-and-white "paper kites" that flew slowly and gently like snippets of newsprint floating down through the air, and the "cloudless sulfur," a tropical butterfly with wings the color of fresh mango.

At this point, I was just happy to finally be able to walk without a limp. Besides the hacksaw pain of the spiral break, the most immediate effect of my accident was financial. It's pretty tough to climb up and down ladders to install garage doors while dragging a ten-pound cast and a knee that won't bend. Our bank balance took a sudden and rapid nosedive. On a blue-collar pastor's salary, what little reserve we had evaporated within weeks. Meanwhile, the amount we had coming in was chopped in half.

The pain of that went beyond money, though. I served as both a volunteer firefighter and high school wrestling coach, commitments that suffered because of my bum leg. Sundays became a challenge too. I'm one of those pastors who walks back and forth during the sermon. Not a holy-rolling, fire-and-brimstone guy by any stretch, but not a soft-spoken minister in vestments, performing liturgical readings either. I'm a storyteller, and to tell stories I need to move around some. But now I had to preach sitting down with my leg propped in a second chair, sticking out like the jib sail. Asking me to sit down while I delivered the Sunday message was like asking an Italian to talk without using his hands. But as much as I struggled with the inconvenience of my injury, I didn't know then that it would be only the first domino to fall.

One morning that October, right about the time I'd gotten used to hobbling everywhere on crutches, I awoke to a dull throbbing in my lower back. I knew instantly what the problem was: kidney stones.

The first time I had a kidney stone, it measured six millimeters and required surgery. This time after a round of tests, doctors thought the stones were small enough to pass. I don't know whether that was a good thing, though: I passed them for three days. I had once slammed my middle finger in a tailgate and cut the tip off. That was like baking cookies compared to this. Even breaking my leg into four pieces hadn't hurt as bad.

Still, I survived. By November, I'd been hobbling around on crutches for three months, and I went in for a checkup.

"The leg's healing correctly, but we still need to keep it casted," the orthopedist said. "Anything else bothering you?"

Actually, there was. I felt a little weird bringing it up, but the left side of my chest had developed a knot right beneath the surface of the nipple. I'm right-handed and had been leaning on my left crutch a lot while writing, so I thought maybe the underarm pad on that crutch had rubbed against my chest over a period of weeks, creating some kind of irritation beneath the skin, a callus of some kind.

The doctor immediately ruled that out. "Crutches don't do that," he said. "I need to call a surgeon."

The surgeon, Dr. Timothy O'Holleran, performed a needle biopsy. The results that came back a few days later shocked me: hyperplasia. Translation: the precursor to breast cancer.

Breast cancer! A man with a broken leg, kidney stones, and—come on, really?—breast cancer?

Later, when other pastors in my district got wind of it, they started calling me Pastor Job, after the man in the biblical book of the same name who was struck with a series of increasingly bizarre symptoms. For now, though, the surgeon ordered the same thing he would've if a woman's biopsy had come back with the same results: a lumpectomy.

Strong, Midwestern woman that she is, Sonja took a practical approach to the news. If surgery was what the doctor ordered, that's the path we would walk. We'd get through it, as a family.

I felt the same way. But it was also about this time that I also started feeling sorry for myself. For one thing, I was tired of loping around on crutches. Also, a lumpectomy isn't exactly the manliest surgery in the world. Finally, I'd been asking the church board for a long time to set aside money for me for an assistant. Only after this second round of kidney stones did the board vote to authorize the position.


Excerpted from Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo Lynn Vincent Copyright © 2011 by HIFR Ministries, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Prologue: Angels at Arby's....................xi
1. The Crawl-A-See-Um....................1
2. Pastor Job....................7
3. Colton Toughs It Out....................14
4. Smoke Signals....................18
5. Shadow of Death....................25
6. North Platte....................28
7. "I Think This Is It"....................33
8. Raging at God....................37
9. Minutes Like Glaciers....................41
10. Prayers of a Most Unusual Kind....................47
11. Colton Burpo, Collection Agent....................52
12. Eyewitness to Heaven....................60
13. Lights and Wings....................70
14. On Heaven Time....................77
15. Confession....................82
16. Pop....................85
17. Two Sisters....................93
18. The Throne Room of God....................98
19. Jesus Really Loves the Children....................105
20. Dying and Living....................110
21. The First Person You'll See....................115
22. No One Is Old in Heaven....................120
23. Power from Above....................124
24. Ali's Moment....................127
25. Swords of the Angels....................131
26. The Coming War....................135
27. Someday We'll See....................140
Timeline of Events....................155
Reflecting on Heaven....................159
About the Burpos....................169
About Lynn Vincent....................171
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9124 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 9239 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011


    I cannot believe the masses are drinking the Kool-Aid that is this silly little book. It's very clear that the parents are pimping out this kid to sell the book. Any four year old who has been exposed to as much religion as this kid has been since he was born is bound to pick up the vernacular of all things spiritual. His dad obviously filled in the blanks to make this piece of sentimental hogwash marketable. By the way? The kid describes Jesus as having blue eyes. Uh, no. Jesus was a Jew from Palestine. Not likely. This book should be shelved in fiction.

    506 out of 1776 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Very enjoyable

    I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.

    339 out of 432 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2010

    Inspiring book that helped me refocus on the need to reach out so that others can see the love of Jesus that we have to offer.

    An amazing story that moved me, made me cry, but also inspired me to keep looking toward the goal and striving to be all I can be. This family's story shows how God can use a tragedy to bring about change in people's lives. This book has made me stop and think about my faith in a fresh new way and encouraged me to keep the faith.

    165 out of 205 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011


    I was very disappointed in this book. The book was more about the Pastor and his congregation than his son's experience. There were so many quotes from the bible that I felt like it was a bible study rather than the "Near Death Experience" that I was expecting. The parts that were described from his son would have had more meaning if this pastor weren't promoting his religion. Save your money....there are so many other books on NDE much better than this one.

    129 out of 293 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Amazing Story!

    Heaven is for Real A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back By Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent is a book based on the true events of a four year old boy's visit to heaven. The book itself was written by his father, but simply retells the conversations he has had over a period of time with his son. As the father of a four year old boy myself I was very interested in reading this story. I have read many books on heaven, people's visions and encounters but none that involved someone so young. What sets this one apart from all the others is the simplicity and innocence of heaven explained through the eyes of a child. This is not a story about white fluffly clouds but rather a divine revelation of heaven given to a child. The descriptions from the mouth of this child (Colton) is very convincing and makes it hard to deny that he truly did have this heavenly encounter as a lot of what he say's matches up with scripture. There are several points I can remember being blown away and having my heart encouraged by the way Colton describes how Jesus feels for his children. As I read I could picture my 4 year old using many of the same descriptions had it happened to him. As much as I believe this child had an encounter there was something that tripped me up in the book a little bit. This was simply the idea that everybody in heaven had wings. I'm not writing off the book because of this, simply because I have not personally been to heaven. This is just something that I have never thought to be a truth about heaven. I also realize that a lot of Colton's descriptions came months after the event and it is entirely possible that a child's imagination can run wild. With an open mind I am also open to being proved wrong when I see heaven for myself.
    The book itself was well written and very easy to read. If you have a good chunk of time it would not be difficult to read the book in it's entirely in one sitting. I recommend this book to anybody, it is a different perspective than what you would normally have, it is encouraging and it gets you thinking about heaven (which is always a good thing).
    This book was provided by Nelson House Publishers for my review. I was not required to give this book a positive review.

    117 out of 154 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    Cute Boy

    This is an easy, quick read with a likeable child who purportedly visited heaven and spoke about what heaven is like.

    The book is well written and there are some nice black and white photos of the family in the middle of the book. I decided to read this book because it was written by a pastor, and I thought it would be an account that would be an honest and thoughtful story.

    Unfortunately, in order to believe this story your have to make some choices in what you want to believe. Either Colton visited heaven while still alive or he died on the table and the surgeon, anesthetist, and nurses didn't notice. There was no mention by the doctors in talking with the parents or in medical records that Colton died on the surgical table. Also, there is a time problem. Colton talked about seeing God shoot power down to his dad while preaching. This means either Colton's father was preaching while the child was in surgery (he was not) or there was some time traveling going on. His father explains this away by saying he was in "God's time", which really doesn't make sense.

    The author's strongest evidence is that the child talks about a deceased family member and a miscarriage his mother suffered, both of which he supposedly had no knowledge. I find it hard to believe that at no time was this child away from the parents and in the care of another family member who could have mentioned these events or even just overheard his parents talking about it. Other events mentioned by Colton sound more like Sunday
    School 101.

    I really wanted to like this book because I am a believer, but I think this child's parents are reading way too much into his precocious and creative behavior.

    84 out of 140 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    A load of bull...

    I wanted to like this book but, coming from a medical background this book is a load of crap. What parent who's child has been throwing up for 5 days, not eating or drinking, lethargic and crying is going to wait to drive all the way home (a state away) to take them to a hospital? What parent is going to stand by while doctors and nurses poke and prod their kid while the kid is screaming bloody murder and not ask about pain control? What hospital allows the nurses to hold the child while a parent gives injections of medicine in the hospital or is told by the medical staff to change the JP drain on their child?
    At first I tried to find the silver lining, "well maybe this was several years ago", "well maybe this was in a very small, rural town, etc." but when I looked up the so called hospital and town, it just isn't possible.
    My final straw was the fact that the family outright names the hospital, doctors and other medical staff and yet no legal investigation was done considering the medical mistakes and unnecessary testing and in my opinion torture was done to this child by the medical team and family. YEAH RIGHT!

    81 out of 174 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

    Um no.

    I just don't get this book. Too many of its kind have been written... it's just not believeable. In fact it makes me kind of suspicious of the whole thing. I believe in god and heaven... but wish I had passed on this one. I am left wondering who's words these really are. Sorry, I wanted to like it.

    74 out of 184 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    I wish I could give it NO stars

    I have to admit, I'm a skeptic on a lot of "claims" that people make. And so it was with a very critical eye that I read Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo, a pastor who until this story came out, had been facing some challenging times, both physically and (because of medical bills) financially. Interestingly he's now the (obviously) published author of his son's story which is on the best seller list, he has a radio program, and tours to do various talk shows to promote his book. Not a bad for a small town pastor, eh? Todd Burpo is the author of this very simplistic, so easy to read that I read it over the course of a few hours while my son was at a drama rehearsal. And apparently I'm not the only one who was able to zoom through it like that, it's a common theme for all the other reviews I've read about it. Now, it's not a typical thing for me to read other people's reviews before reviewing a book myself. but I read the book, and had NO idea where to start in reviewing it. I think it's a fanciful tale. There are several reason I disliked it. I'll just list them: The publicity is misleading. This is not the tale that little Colton Burpo woke up and told. the "story" actually came out over the course of YEARS following the surgery it was supposed to have happened during. Little Colton did NOT die. medical records (you know, how they monitor every breath and heartbeat) show that he never died. His simple answer? If you have to be dead to go to Heaven *shrug* then I guess I died. Well, Colton, that's nice, but it's not what happened. There is so much theologically questionable material in this book, it's dangerous. I don't know Todd Burpo from anyone, but if I were the governing body of his church, I would take a serious look at this man's theological beliefs before letting him shepherd a congregation - apparently he's teaching that the Holy Spirit is a blue lighting bolt throwin' dude who sits around with little boys in the Thrown Room of Heaven. Now, I have children. One of the things that amazes me is how "tuned" in they are when you don't think they're paying any attention. Recently my 5 year old came running up the stairs to ask if she could "help me" . to do what? To bake the cake I had off-handedly joked QUIETLY to my teenage daughter that I "should" make (can't remember what for, something like Dr. Suess' birthday or something.) She had heard me, even though she was down in the family room playing, a floor and a half away from where I was talking. Her brother at the time was watching a video in the same room as she was, and she STILL heard me. Talk about tuned in! Now, let's take a look at the facts: Colton's dad is a pretty conservative PASTOR. Colton's mom is active in their church ministry. Colton's mom talks to people on the phone (possibly within the hearing of young Colton, possibly discussing things on a higher theological level than she might teach in sunday school.) Colton attends church (and sunday school) with his family every week, where no doubt he hears all about various aspects of Heaven. Colton's dad reads from a Bible storybook to Colton EVERY NIGHT (hmmm.. there might be pictures in this book that filled in some gaps in Colton's knowledge, like about robes with purple sashes) Colton took several years for this information to all seep out, so it's wasn't just the memories of a 4 year old. he had years to embellish with his imagination this tale that when you read the story,

    60 out of 128 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

    Come on now...do people really believe this??

    It reminded me of my parents telling me stories about God and Jesus. The stories told to this little boy as a young child were also told to me. There was nothing in his "experiences" that I haven't envisioned in my mind after my parents read these stories to me. It was a joke to think he actually experienced these things outside a dream. I think his parents need to fess up and stop pretending their son came up with these experiences on his own. Did they actually forget they read him these stories as he was growing up? How convenient. If this isn't using their own son for personal gain, then I don't know what is! I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank!

    48 out of 130 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    Well Written & Inspiring

    This is a well written and inspiring book that will give readers hope for what the Bible promises us in heaven. Talks about meeting people from the Bible as well as loves ones in heaven.

    This would be a great book for anyone who has suffered from a miscarriage also, since it addresses that subject as well.

    Coming from someone who loves to read good stories, I would highly recommend this book. Not only for it's "story" but for the hope it will instill in your heart as you read.

    43 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2011

    Complete and Utter Propaganda

    If the family had been atheists instead of evangelists, this might be believable. It's obvious that this kid was coached into some of his answers and some of it is outright lies in order to sell Christianity to a public desperate for proof of anything. It's a good story if you're desperate. They use a kid because it sells the lie better. If you did this same story with a 20 year old instead of a 4 year old, people would put him in a psych ward. If you did this same story with a Muslim child, the Christian right would decry it as blasphemy.

    Don't believe the hype.

    42 out of 97 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Sweet story but not believable

    As a Christian I was looking forward to reading this story of Colton Burpo. I was hooked at first and was enjoying it as it confirmed a lot of my beliefs, mainly there is a life after death, until the wings were introduced. At that point I knew this was a manufactured story. Colton's dad probably wrote it pouring his own faith into it. This is a case of "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus". Why don't I believe it? Because a friend of mine who DID live through a NDE (Near Death Experience) confirmed to me that no one in heaven wears wings. According to her experience people look the same in Heaven as they do on earth. No need for wings! The "wings" detail is utterly ridiculous and only a projection of childhood idealized images. This is not "It's a wonderful life" in which the angel has to earn his wings. One redeeming aspect of the book is the fact that its story confirms to me that God, his son Jesus-Christ and the Holy Spirit are three distinct personages which is what I believe in my faith. They are not this great spirit feeling a void and our heart. So to me this is contradictory: on one hand I have the preposterous wings story and others with absurd details and on the other the confirmation of what I believe. I should have known something was up when I read the free sample and the only reviews were from members of the Wesleyan Church where Colton's father is from. So what to do? well, at this point I will consider that I gave Reverend Burpo a $6 donation to help him pay his medical bills. This book is to be read for what it is: a sweet tale of an idealized image of Heaven.

    37 out of 75 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    Filled with Hope and Encouragement

    This is the perfect gift for someone who has suffered the death of a child. I was greatly encouraged and inspired by the story of the struggles that Todd Burpo and his family went through. I could really relate to some of their difficulties. I recently lost my son and years ago I lost another child through miscarriage. I am a believer in Jesus and I already knew that heaven was a real place but this book was almost like getting a letter from my son telling me about his new home. It helped me to move through my grief to acceptance. If you read this book with an open mind you will be filled with hope. Cynics who get caught up in details they don't "agree" with are missing the whole point. God is real, heaven is real and disagreeing with God won't change anything. We will all travel this road someday.

    36 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it! Will Read Again!

    I hated to put the book down at night! It made me laugh, made me cry, every emotion possible! The story was inspiring and really made me think about my relationship with God. It showed me that we need to have faith more like children and quit trying to be "too smart" for our own good. Colton's story of meeting Jesus and sitting in his lap and how God shoots powers down to people was fun and very encouraging. He spoke the bible in kid terms and without knowing all the details of the bible. He spoke of God's throne and how "no one wears glasses in Heaven", and how Jesus really loved children. I can't quit raving about this book. I will definitely tell people about this and encourage them to read it. It is a must for anyone who wants to see Heaven through a child's eyes.

    31 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Not believable

    Anticipated reading this. Was very disappointed. It was less about the boys visit to heaven and more about the minister dads sermonizing. The fact that the preschool boys memories of heaven surfaced over several years made me wonder about the storys validity. But when the dad admitted he did not write down the names of the children the boy saw in heaven it convinced me the story was not completely true. Why would he not have a pencil and paper handy to write these down. I believe the author believes his son visited heaven and his son may have. The author just does not present a believable case. I would not recommend this book.

    30 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    good read

    hard to put down. it was amazing. One of the best

    29 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    Gave me goosebumps!

    Born and raised in a Baptist preacher's home, I was always taught to be skeptical of anyone's near death experience, so it was with skepticism that I approached this book. I was pleasantly surprised though. I'm the mom of a 4 year old, who like Colton, has been in church her whole life. I know what she knows about the Bible, because for the most part, I'm the one who taught her. The descriptions of Colton are far from what is contained in the preschool Sunday school curriculum. Beyond my own skeptical nature, this book is a wonderful testimony of God's love and faithfulness. It was uplifting to read. It is thought provoking and emotion invoking!

    As I was curled up in bed reading, my 4 year old came in and curled up next to me and said, "Read to me, Mommy!" So, we laid in bed together reading about Colton's heavenly experiences. She loved the book which got me thinking about her imaginary friend, Inky. Could Inky be an angel or the Holy Spirit? We never know what children are able to understand in the spirit.

    Check it out for yourself! I would love to hear other people's take on it!

    I was provided this book for free in exchange for my review through the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program.

    29 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Made up Story

    This story is obviously made up. I recently lost my daughter and was hoping to read a true story about what a child experienced in heaven. The fact that a preacher would make up a story, and try to pass it off as true is disturbing. This book personally hurt me.

    28 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011


    I read this book after my mother. She loves this book and swears the boy is truthful. I read it and thought I would get a biblical representation of heaven and Jesus and feel uplifted as my mother would say. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things the boy says that don't add up to what is in the bible. I may not be an expert but the book of revelation is a personal favorite of mine and apparently Todd and his son, Colton never read it. I'm surprised that Todd is a pastor and never taked about how to recieve salvation our gift from God in the book. Sorry if I offend any one with this post but reading something that is a false representaion of our Lord and heaven is appalling!

    27 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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