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

(Heaven is For Real)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  276,815 ratings  ·  15,033 reviews
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed--a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body dur
Paperback, 162 pages
Published 2010 by Thomas Nelson
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Dori Not to me, nope. While reading this book I felt like the kid was simply a pawn being used for his father's own agenda.
And in response to Cathy's prev…more
Not to me, nope. While reading this book I felt like the kid was simply a pawn being used for his father's own agenda.
And in response to Cathy's previous answer that the kid had recanted - no, he didn't. She's thinking of as different kid from a different book who said he went to heaven but recently recanted. Colton Burpo still maintains its all true, which i'm sure his brainwashed head really believes(less)
eeee the book since its way more detailed and its all real.

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Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
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, Colton, 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 (I've always wondered about the holy ghost), his great grandpa, his dead sister, and Jesus's rainbow
Aaron Carlberg
Oct 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
For a while now people have been asking me to read and comment on the book Heaven is for Real written by Todd Burpo. Todd Burpo writes the book as an account of the experiences of his four-year-old son, Colten. 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, met Jesus, and then Jesus sent him back (like you put your unfinished cookies back in the oven).

Well, here goes…and don't hate me for being honest. I did not like this
May 11, 2011 marked it as are-you-shitting-me
Shelves: trash
Dear America,

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



Miranda Reads
As a true memoir - astounding.

As a novel - an okay read.

As an audiobook - kill it with fire

There's two ways to go about this review. Either 1) discuss the theological impact and connotations or 2) discuss the quality of the novel.

I will be going about route 2 - therefore I won't be getting into the whole did-it-really-happen sort of or how-this-affected-my-personal-beliefs. (Note: As a rule, I don't like it when such events are capitalized to this extent (books, movies, merch, etc) - it just r
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 s
Aug 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
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
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: other, read-in-2012
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
Jakob 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
Deborah Markus
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
True story #1: My husband’s former boss once told him she has evidence for a past life: she spoke Welsh (a language she is completely unfamiliar with) in her sleep.

My husband asked the obvious question: “How do you know you spoke Welsh in your sleep?”

She had a friend spending the night, and the friend heard her talking in her sleep, “and she said I was speaking Welsh.”

“Does she speak Welsh?”

“Well, no. But she said it sounded like Welsh.”

Every time I hear someone say, “This is how I know such-and
Natalie Vellacott
Jan 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
I skim-read this some time ago and just glanced over it again to remind myself of some of the details. I cannot believe this book continues to sell millions of copies or that there has been a sequel and now a movie! The book itself is poorly written and tells the story of all of the mundane details and events leading up to and after Colton's hospital admission. They would have done better to have written a blog post containing the interesting details than trying to make the word count sufficient ...more
Nandakishore Varma
May 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
I know, I know, don't raise your eyebrows... I felt I just had to read this book. I felt it could not possibly be as ridiculous as it seemed from many reviews.


“Colton, you said that angels sang to you while you were at the hospital?”

He nodded his head vigorously.

“What did they sing to you?”

Colton turned his eyes up and to the right, the attitude of remembering. “Well, they sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,’” he said earnestly. “I asked them to sing ‘We Will,
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Aug 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Find all of my reviews at:

0 Stars

It’s rare that I go back and review a book that I read in my past life (see what I did there?) as a non-book-reviewer. That being said, with movie promos bombarding my television (and Goodreads feed) night and day, I figured it was time to make an exception. Let me begin by stating I do not read book jackets and was always a pretty willing guinea pig when it came to reading whatever friends/co-workers/relatives/acquaintances wan
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Dupes
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent
Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back is a 2010 Christian book written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincen. The book documents the report of a near-death experience by Burpo's three-year-old son Colton. Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent co-wrote this book when Todd Burpo’s three-year-old son had appendicitis. When Colton’s mother, Sonja, first noticed he wa
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Benjamin R
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-aloud
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
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian_life
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
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Ross Blocher
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
While doing some research on NDEs (near death experiences) at the local library, I noticed the shelf held five copies of "Heaven is for Real" - the story of a boy who went to heaven and came back. (This not to be confused with "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven", which has now been pulled by the publisher after young Alex Malarkey confessed his story was... fabricated.) It's a bonafide genre now, boasting a number of bestsellers, but "Heaven is for Real" reigns chief amongst them with 10 million ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was ok

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 about a litt
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Hai Quan
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-second-time
I am not consider myself an atheist . I believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings who created this whole universe, or universes. But I am strongly oppose to the whole current as well as past rackets of Christianity .I don't care about the fact there are how many billion of people believe in this faith , because I devote my life for THE SEEKING OF TRUTH, and TRUTH ONLY regardless of how popular or unpopular , actually the more unpopular the better , of it, beside adopting other life p ...more
Nicay (dearnicay)
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

I read this book last 2014, and I forgot to include it in my read list. As I deleting files in my phone, I saw the screenshots of pages that I love and pictures of the real face of Jesus in my phone. And then I realized, it was the best and inspirational book I had read, yet I forgot to include this. Ugh!


Colton Burpo was nearly died because of some sickness, his parents was nearly hopeless if he would be survived.
Grace Best-Page
Feb 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
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!
Mike (the Paladin)
I'm not putting this on any shelf other than "read". I'm not going to take a stand on any other heading.

The first part of this book was hard for me to read, I suppose it will be for most parents. Knowing we're closing in on an account of either the near death or temporary death of a child will bear down on anyone who has children.

After that we get into the account of "how the parents came to believe that their child had been conscious in Heaven". The point of the book is that Colton remembered
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Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan and a volunteer fireman. He and his wife, Sonja, have four children: Colton is an active 14-year-old; he has an older sister, Cassie; a younger brother, Colby; and a very special sister he met in heaven, yet to be named.

Other books in the series

Heaven is For Real (6 books)
  • Heaven is for Real for Kids: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
  • Heaven is for Real for Little Ones
  • Heaven is for Real /  Conversation Guide about Heaven
  • Heaven Is For Real Conversation Guide
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Ashley Poston made her name with Once Upon a Con, a contemporary series set in the world of fandom, and her two-part space opera, Heart of...
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