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

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  122,444 ratings  ·  10,841 reviews
"A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe."

--Ron Hall, coauthor of "Same Kind of Different as Me"

"Do you remember the hospital, Colton?" Sonja said. "Yes, mommy, I remember," he said. "That's where the angels sang to me."

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at...more
Paperback, 163 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Thomas Nelson Publishers (first published 2010)
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Oh Boy.

I am reluctant to review this since I have friends who loved this book, and my mother recommended it. But this book bugged me so much I just have to have my say.

This is a book about a three year old boy who comes close to death (never pronounced clinically dead, as in most near death experiences ), Claims that he hung out with Jesus, God, John the Baptist, Gabriel, the Holy Ghost, his great grandpa, his dead sister, and Jesus's rainbow horse. The standard men in white beards and giant thr...more
Aaron Carlberg
For a while now people have been asking me to read and comment on the book Heaven is for Real written by Todd (not making up his last name) Burpo. For some reason, because I am a pastor, people think I am going to love this book about a little boy who went to heaven and met Jesus. Then Jesus sent him back (like you put your unfinished cookies back in the oven when they aren't finished).

Well, here goes…and don't hate me for being honest. I did not like this book what-so-ever.

This book plays into...more
NatashaF Farquhar
I am already on the 11th chapter -

I am just get chills when I read this book. Last night, I spent time reading comments from Goodreads. I was shocked of all the one stars and negative comments. These are the topics that kept coming up. I just have to vent about it...

1.)WHY DID THE PARENTS WAIT SO LONG? - That the parents waited to long to take him to the doctor.Well, they did take him to the doctor. The doctor told them no thing was wrong expect a stomach virus. This can reoccur plus when the si...more
So I'll preface this by saying the following:
1.) I would have never read this of my own accord. I read it only for book club.
2.) I was skeptical going in.
3.) Though I'm a born-and-raised Catholic, I would classify myself as an agnostic, at best.
4.) I'll also admit I skimmed huge chunks of this book. It was the only way I was going to get through it at all. It was worse than I expected.

Things that Bothered Me (in no particular order):
1.) The first half of the book is the father rambling about hi...more
First of all, this is a book I would never in a million years pick up on my own. I read it b/c one of my students brought it to me and told me how much he loved it, and that he wanted to lend it to me so I could read it. So, yeah: I read this b/c I care about my students and the things that are important to them. But I am also an atheist, and so of course I couldn't read the book through any other lens than that.

I honestly tried to balance being skeptical with having an open mind, but, as so man...more
Feb 22, 2012 Laurie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laurie by: Shannon xoxoxo
My best friend in the world is battling stage 4 cancer. She wanted me to read it so of course I did. After finishing it I just can't review this book. Who am I to know if this Colton experienced "heaven" or not? I am no one to judge how well a miracle is written. It will forever be a mystery of faith.

I'm rating this 5 stars for the comfort it gave my best friend. There must be something to it if it put a smile on her face while she's dealing with this huge battle. She's not on goodreads but thi...more
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. When I lost my son last year, I got a lot of the "he's in heaven now, and you'll be with him again some day" comments. And I wanted to believe, I really did.. But I've always had a problem with faith. It would be so much easier for me to accept losing him, if I could truly have faith in him being safe and happy in a better place. But it's a hard thing to believe... Try though I might.

Several people in a Compassionate Friends support meeting recommended th...more
Jacob J.
Update 4/14/2014 (initial review remains unchanged)
Now seems like as good a time as any for an update on this relevance-clutching intelligence insulter, seeing as how the cinematic adaptation (with all the cliches and sentimentality of a Lifetime movie and all the subtlety and critical rigor of Ken Ham) is hitting theaters on that pagan holiday on which Christians celebrate a brutal execution and subsequent messianic zombification. The film--starring Greg Kinnear and (disappointingly) Thomas Hay...more
May 11, 2011 Kristen marked it as are-you-shitting-me
Shelves: trash
Dear America,

This is why people think we're stupid.
Knock it off.



Why did I read this book? I don't know. I saw the family on the Today Show, and they seemed honest and earnest and pretty normal. When something extraordinary happens to regular people, I tend to be more open to believe it. So if this little boy was claiming he visited heaven, I was curious to see what he had to say about it.

In short, the Burpo family's 4 year-old son Colton suffers from a burst appendix and nearly dies on the operating table. I won't go into discussing why the family waited wh...more
This book was a very quick read, due to the fact that I didn't want to stop reading it. Todd Burpo did an excellent job in describing the events that led to his son's discovery of Heaven. If you have children, you can appreciate his depiction of the events and mannerisms of his children. If you have lost a child, you can appreciate the pain that Todd, and especially his wife reflect upon, and the sheer joy that they experience when they are delivered a simple, yet powerful message from their son...more
This book made you think. I feel like it is a feel-good story, and most everything this boy saw went along with what i believe heaven will be. I thought the writing in the beginning was well crafted and the ending wavered a bit, but overall it is a fast, captivating read. It is worth your time. I think it is possible he saw heaven, but I also am not sure all the things his 4 year old said necessarily were accurate, as is the case with all 4 year olds. This book had a way of pulling you in and ma...more
I don't doubt for a minute that this kid believes what he is saying. After all, he was 4 when it happened. Aside from heaven being real, I'm guessing he believes many other things are real too: Elmo, Mickey Mouse, and unicorns. What I can't fathom is that his parents would be gullible enough to believe it too. Although, the fact that when Todd says "as a pastor, I'm not a believer in superstition" he doesn't see the irony in the statement, it should have told me everything I needed to know about...more
One sub-genre of Christian literature reports dead-and-back experiences. Because I criticized some as self-serving and frankly false, I receive others for my enlightenment or critique.

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back is distinctly different. Naturally, anyone could make up a story about a four-year-old boy's brush with death and his report on what heaven's like. And this may be one of those. I have no way to judge. But unlike so many others of t...more
Benjamin R
My Mom has been reading us this story at nightime. We usually read 2-4 chapters. The book is about a little boy named Colton. At the beginning, he dosen't want to hold Rosie, a big Spider at the Petting Zoo. Later, he can't stop throwing up. He has to go through surgery because he had the place inside him that holds all the Poison in him exploded. Then he said that he left his body and went to Heaven. Then he said to his dad, "Hey Mommy!" Colton's Mom says "Yes?" "Did you know that Daddy was giv...more
Katie Trenerowski

This review may seem a bit negative, but I really didn't think that this book was bad... I just thought it was a little too "stretched" for my liking. I 100% believe that it is possible for this little boy to have gone to heaven & seen Jesus Christ & seen relatives from the other side of the veil. I also believe that it was possible for him to see things that were occurring to his parents while he was in surgery. However, I find a few things that the author talked abou...more
DISAPPOINTED!! I remained open all the way to the end hoping somehow that I would be blown away by some philosophical rant about how all people could hope to experience "heaven". I'm wondering if there was something I missed? I walked away from this book somewhat indignant at the idea that a person did not have a chance of going to heaven because they did not have Jesus in their heart. I find the book to be another example of why people have difficulty finding any spiritual comfort in religion,...more
Heaven may be for real, but the Burpos certainly aren't.

I know it sounds hypocritical for a Christian to be skeptical, but I think in a few years the Burpo family is going to come out and say the whole thing was an elaborate metaphor and they're shocked anyone would take it literally. But thanks for the $$$$.

Overall, the book is a quick, easy read. Sometimes there are too many digressions about how cute the kids are and how awesome small town life is, which seem unnecessary for the scope of the...more

I love the very last line of the epilogue of this book: "Colton, what do you want people to know from your story?"
(Colton says): " I want them to know that Heaven is for real."
And that's the journey this book took me on. Helping me get a tiny a picture of what Heaven is going to be like. This story also reminded me of the importance of childlike faith, and how much Jesus especially loves children. It emphasized in a new way how important my example and interactions are with the children in my...more
A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

"Heaven Is for Real "is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried s...more
Grace Best-Page
While I don't doubt this boy's sincerity or the facts of his illness and his remembrance of what he experienced, surely there is more to God's realm than this. I find his God too small, but perhaps God tailored the boy's heaven experience specifically to him. We'll know when we get there!
Angela Highsmith
This isn't a book I would ordinarily read; however, it was abandoned in an office where I work, so I decided to read it. I wish I hadn't. It's not that I don't believe the story, but there are a couple of things about the account that trouble me. The first is the writing - it's horrific. There are several sentences I read two, three, four times and still couldn't figure out either the syntax or the idea that was being put forth. My second problem is the anecdote involving the eighth grade babysi...more
Toni Tortorello-Allaway
I'm half-way through it and I can't put it down. I was drawn to this book for some reason.

I have a hard time with death. I know lots of people say that, but I REALLY don't deal well with it. Anytime I think about my parents dying or even my husband & I leaving this world and leaving our girls, I actually begin to have mini-panic attacks. I don't how to describe it other than to call them "panic attacks." I really don't like thinking or talking about death. I brush it off the minute a thought...more
When I picked up this book I thought I would be reading about the "other side". I did not expect to be reading about a heaven that, apparently, only true Christians can get into...sorry everyone else, you didn't conform so you don't get the luxury of eternal bliss. Also, it isn't until about halfway through the book that "heaven" is even mentioned.

I have read other stories about Near-Death-Experiences and the Other Side and not one of them explained heaven as being specific to one religion. My...more
Oh, my. I became a cynical person reading this book. First, I hope Mr. and Mrs. Burpo have learned through this experience 1) to listen to their friends who have much more common sense than they apparently do; 2) to not wait three days to get medical attention for a 3-year-old who is vomiting every 30 minutes; 3) when a doctor doesn't do anything when medical attention is finally sought, to get a second opinion IMMEDIATELY; 4) when one has the choice of bringing a sick child to an emergency room...more
Abby Lyn
Oh, if only I weren't a cynical skeptic. It would be so uplifting to be able to read a novel like this, the "true" story of a four year old pastor's son named Colton who begins to tell his family, in bits and pieces over the years, about visiting heaven while on the operating table for a ruptured appendix. As far as I can tell, and admittedly I am no Biblical scholar, there is nothing this preschooler describes that contradicts the Scriptures, and there are some details that the reader is encour...more
Jaelle Hamann
I found pieces of this book very emotionally moving and convincing. The way he wept over the sister he met in heaven and the reaction of his mother who had lost her years ago absolutely killed me. The tenderness and childlikeness displayed throughout the prose was very thoughtful. Yet there were certain passages that left me questioning it's authenticity.

I want to believe that the son was completely unhindered in what he saw but some of his descriptions sound like classic bible school teachings...more
This is probably the most neutral review I've ever written. Why write one then? Because there are some things I have to say about this book.

Before I begin, let me say I am coming from a conservative Christian background - I believe that what the Bible says is true. And the Bible says that there is no new revelation. Which meant I was approaching this book with quite a bit of misgiving.

Although technically a nonfiction book, I ended up reading it as if it were fiction. It was a very quick read, e...more
Nancy Bielski
I want to preface this by saying I am a Catholic and a believer in God. I will not be knocking the existence of God or Heaven in any way, just critiquing the book...

That said, this book was true trash for the terrible writing style and content. The tone of the novel was infuriating. Pastor Todd, the narrator, spoke to us in the most patronizing way. Note to Todd: I am NOT your four year old son, I am an adult, thus, you can speak to me as one. The novel was very conversational, which is fine if...more
M. Ables
(Insert some exhausted sound here)....sigh. This book is hard to review. Not because it's wonderful & I don't have the proper words to proclaim excitement, and not because it's so horrible I can barely look at the cover without grimacing (as another book I've read...cough, cough). It falls in the middle for me.

Both what I liked & my problem with this book are somewhat contradictory and I'm having trouble separating it all in my mind- which is extremely rare for me. I hate when people do...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Childrens book Combined with Adult Version 3 17 Apr 06, 2014 12:37AM  
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“You might as well tell God what you think. He already knows it anyway.” 61 likes
“...when I was angry at God because I couldn't go to my son, hold him, and comfort him, God's son was holding my son in his lap.” 32 likes
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