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Heaven is for Real

A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

Regular Price: $16.99

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Format: Paperback

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“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 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 during the surgery–and 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 “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real  offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

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

Contributor(s) Todd Burpo , Lynn Vincent
About the Contributor(s) 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

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.

ISBN-10 0849946158
ISBN-13 9780849946158
Release Date Nov 2, 2010
Weight (lbs) 0.4800
Height 8.00
Width 5
Length 192
Length Unit Pages
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Price $16.99
Format Paperback
Language English
Accelerated Reader Interest Level MG+ (Grade 7 thru 9)
Accelerated Reader Points Awards 6.00
Accelerated Reader Reading Level 6.30

Customer Reviews

Review by Karen
Overall Rating
This is the review I left on a Christian book review site in 2011, in which I referenced an amazing dream I had of Jesus in 1973 as I biblically critiqued "Heaven is for Real." Readers subsequently said they agreed with what I wrote and wanted to hear more about my dream, so I posted it in 2012 with all the Scriptures that even explained it to me.

I was subsequently emailed by Thomas Nelson publishing for a year to write a book about it, however I never pursued it, as I didn't want to profit from the gift I was given (and I'm a disabled woman veteran in a powerchair). But if I DID write a book about my dream and all the circumstances surrounding it (which is actually my testimony), ALL proceeds would go to God-honoring Christian ministries, and I wouldn't hesitate to say what they were. Here is my review:

"Everyone who reads 'Heaven is For Real' needs to get out a Concordance and check everything this child says against Scripture. I myself haven't done this yet, but I was struck by Colton's claim that people in heaven have wings. There are no Scriptures describing wings on the redeemed in heaven. For example, Luke 9:28-33 describes Moses and Elijah appearing and talking with Jesus in the presence of the disciples Peter, James and John.

These disciples recognized Moses and Elijah but I'm quite sure they would have thought they were angels if they'd had wings. Scripture makes it clear that people who are saved will have resurrected human bodies--just as Jesus does. We will reign with Jesus for a thousand years when Jesus returns to earth. It's highly unlikely we will have wings.

Also, in 1973 I had a dream in which I believe Jesus came to me as I emerged from a severely traumatic childhood from a mother who had worked the Ouija board when I was 11. He did in fact have breathtakingly beautiful blue eyes--eyes filled with love and compassion. But He did NOT have the 'rough but kind-looking face' pictured in "Heaven is for Real."

He was perfect in beauty. He spoke with the deepest, most powerful, authoritative voice I ever heard. He told me, "Repent NOW. Turn from your sin NOW." I won't go into it any more as that isn't my intent. But one day I found in Psalm 27:4 something that excited me concerning what Jesus looked like in my dream. David wrote, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the BEAUTY of the Lord."

The Jesus I saw was perfect in beauty as David the Psalmist describes. He looked nothing like the Jesus in that little boy's book. There's no description of Jesus riding a horse with a rainbow-colored mane in the book of Revelation. I'm also concerned about this child saying Jesus refused to give him a sword because it would be too dangerous. There IS no danger in heaven.

And not ONCE does his pastor father encourage people to read the Bible. Why would people believe an account of a ten-year old seven years after an event, but not the Bible, written by people with first-hand accounts like the disciples? I was also disturbed by a television interview in which Colton was asked what was being done with the money made by the book.

He seemed a little nervous, and said some was probably being put aside for his education, then he asked his father what was being done with the money. His father gave a vague reply about helping the orphans. WHAT orphans? I'm involved with an organization through which I'm privileged to sponsor underprivileged children, and as previously stated, if I wrote a book about the amazing dream I had in 1973, ALL proceeds would go to the Lord's work, and I wouldn't hesitate to name the ministries.

I feel many red flags with this story, and it makes me sad that people are so excited about it, but not what Jesus Himself says in the Word.

(Posted on 7/25/2016)
Review by Mark
Overall Rating
I loved this book though it was drawn out in spots as I was impatient to hear more of what Colton had to say. I was absolutely broken when I read about his second sister as my wife miscarried too. I am saddened by the reaction of the "Bible purests" who look negatively on this even though there is nothing in the book that is contrary to Scripture. This book is surely being used by the Holy Spirit to strengthen existing believers during these last days as well as opening the hearts of others to the reality of Jesus' Lordship and God's indescribable love for His children. (Posted on 10/2/2014)
Review by nora
Overall Rating
This message is for Norma stating that the book is incorrect by stating that the nails were driven through Jesus' hands (i.e. palms). I believe you are wrong Norma. The nails were driven through Jesus' hands, not his wrists. Why is it so hard to grasp the supernatural power of God? Do you people believe in God or not? You cannot believe in parts of God and other parts you don't. God is all powerful, and his supernatural powers supersede our comprehension. Do not be afraid of his strength and supernatural state of being. He is God. He can do anything. He can move mountains remember? (Posted on 6/1/2014)
Review by nora
Overall Rating
I have read the book and have found it to be extremely, exciting and a true blessing that God used this little boy, to spread the gospel, and continue Jesus work on earth. I truly feel bad for those judgmental people that think God is incapable of showing us signs through a little child. Well I am here to tell everyone He is capable of that and more. For those who doubt that God is capable than your faith is tiny. Rad the book of Revelations to refresh your memory of what God will do here on earth. There has been many people who have experienced visions of Jesus and heaven. Some have even died and came back to tell the story of their heavenly experience, and even experiences with hell. And there are those Christians that may believe there is a heaven, and that Jesus does exist, that the Bible is the living word of God, and also that there is a hell, but their faith has been reinforced and they have been assured by reading heaven is for real. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Remember the scripture of Thomas the Disciple in the book of John 20:27, where he has to see and touch Jesus in order to believe. Jesus did not condemn him for having such little faith. He still loved Thomas. Don't Judge so harshly, and be willing to accept that God is Mighty and he can show people around the earth, how ever he chooses fit. He happened to use this little boy for such a wonderful task, God bless America. Woohoo!
(Posted on 6/1/2014)
Review by David Ricalde
Overall Rating
Why do so many people think you cannot have spiritual guidance outside of the bible? It saddens me that they have so many people on here who are saddened by anyone being saved without their approval. I think they would be in line with the Pharisees if this were 2,000 years ago. Don't blind yourself and then try to blind others, be happy for your brothers that they can find faith through this child's experience. This story doesn't sound like a story the Devil made up to steer you AWAY from God. Just my opinion. (Posted on 5/15/2014)
Review by Glen
Overall Rating
It saddens me that so many are fooled into spending so much time on an extra Biblical account of Heaven. Why does it take a 4 year's account told through his father years later to convince some of the existence of heaven when they will not believe the Bible. Is their faith in Heaven or Jesus? If the answer is Jesus, why will they not put their trust in the written Word of God? (Posted on 4/19/2014)
Review by Kay
Overall Rating
I witnessed many people stop in their tracks to pick up this book because of the cover design by James Hall. It is brilliant. I surly hope you have compensated very well this talented designer for his work which sold this blockbuster book and now turns in to a movie. (Posted on 4/8/2014)
Review by Keith
Overall Rating
I have read this book and others like it and they don't all match up. I have become obsessed with reading these type of books, and feel that we need to stick to the Bible only. The Bible says that that the devil can appear as an angel of light. I have tended to put a lot of stock in these books, but I have been wrong. We need to forget these books and stick to God's word the Bible. God speaks to us through His Word, not these types of books. (Posted on 4/3/2014)
Review by Clarence
Overall Rating
I've not heard of this book until today, I seen the trailer of the movie. It left goose bumps on me. I'm going to get this book. I believe Colton and I could have some things in common. (Posted on 1/4/2014)
Review by ProDeo
Overall Rating
What saddens me is that most people that read this spent more time reading this than their Bible (I know you can't see it, but my own finger is pointing back at me). I get nervous when people start getting into gray areas where the Bible has not clearly spoken. In my experience, error is usually not far behind. Some of his experiences line up with scripture quite well; some clearly do not. Honestly, I have to ask why we need books like this. The author and publisher obviously gain something. But I don't feel I've gained anything by reading it(anything worth keeping that is). Of course heaven is for real. If you want to know more about it, read your Bible. It's the best resource bar none. (Posted on 1/8/2013)
Review by Cole
Overall Rating
I loved the book and wish all my friends and family could read it.

I've been looking for a deal in pricing so I could purchase many copies of the book to do just that. I am from Alberta Canada, so not sure if such a deal would exist.
(Posted on 11/1/2012)
Review by kathi
Overall Rating
i finally read heaven is for real and it was amazing. some people disagree with it but answer this question for me: colton was 3 when this happened in my opinion a 3 yr old dont know the concept of death yet?? i have seen things and so has my 2 yr old. if he says he seen it then so be it i believe it .. (Posted on 9/24/2012)
Review by ashley
Overall Rating
wow this book is awesome,I learned so much about heaven by reading this book. I know my lil boy is in a great home,this is great. (Posted on 7/25/2012)
Review by norma
Overall Rating
The child's account of heaven and seeing Jesus is incorrect: On page 67 of the book, the account of Jesus's "red markers" is given, and the child states that those markers are in Jesus's palms. The truth of crucifixion is this: Nails were not driven into the palms (and tops of feet) because those areas of the body are not strong enough to support the weight of the body suspended as it was. Instead, nails were driven into the wrists (and ankles) just above the junction of the hand and arm. Also, there would have been no school work being done because at that point there is no need of such, as life beyond this earthly one is entirely different from all that we do here now since the work of life after this one will serve other purposes. I hope you will heed this message and pull the book from publication because it leads to untruth. Walking with God is not a casual undertaking, but a deeply serious committment. When we are corrected we must heed, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Posted on 5/30/2012)
Review by Cshell
Overall Rating
I couldn't put this book down. I want everyone I know to read this.

(Posted on 5/18/2012)
Review by kadie
Overall Rating
Must read (Posted on 5/15/2012)
Review by kayro
Overall Rating
Hope it comes in large print (Posted on 5/14/2012)
Review by Misty C.
Overall Rating
I had been wondering for years about Heaven, and what it looked like. I was THRILLED to learn that it had animals and so many colors. I can't wait to see it. And the fact I will finally have my own pair of wings just makes it even better. (Posted on 5/3/2012)
Review by Rosebud
Overall Rating
The most amazing and phenomenal book I have ever read - I could not put it down. (Posted on 5/1/2012)
Review by Alice South Dakota
Overall Rating
It was an amazing easy read. I couldn't put it down. Reaffirms my beliefs of the power of prayer, love, and life ever lasting. Thanks God for using this normal every day family to confirm our beliefs in you and your Son. (Posted on 4/27/2012)
Review by shadowwolf
Overall Rating
Heaven is for Real touched my heart in ways not many books have. It was simple, unassuming, and yet powerful. It was a story of a little who after dying from ruptured appendics goes to Heaven. While in Heaven, he sees and hears a myrid of people and things. At the young age that he is when this happens, he doesn't say much about the experience, but as he gets older, the details of his "trip" start to be revealed. What he tells his family about the experience as the years go on just confirm what they believed - he REALLY went to HEAVEN. He reveals scattered details and images that knock the wind out of his father and mother. He knows details of his parents and family members lives that kids don't normally know about until they are adults if ever. This little boy doesn't tout himself as a prophet or anything more than what he is - a kid.
This book will warm your heart, offer you unexptected encouragement to continue your life of following Jesus Christ, and will wipe away any prejudices that you have about life after death experiences.
This story will just simply walk up to the door of your heart and quietly knock on it while offering you this honest account and an opportunity to take a peek into how kids perceive God and the world around them. (Posted on 4/27/2012)
Review by Diane
Overall Rating
This story of a child and his experience in heaven, can give us the hope and prayers that we may live in the example of Jesus on earth. Yes God wins! May this story lead others to study God's word and change the world to love God and His Word. God bless you all. (Posted on 4/26/2012)
Review by AvidReader
Overall Rating
The "substance" of this book is great - what the child has to say about what he experienced in heaven. Those parts of the book are very interesting and comforting, as they confirm my deepest beliefs. My problem with this book is it's "style" (and thus my 4-star review instead of a 5).

I was told by my sister that I "must" read this book - that it is "so good you won't be able to put it down once you start reading." Well, that is an over-inflated review. "Riveting" it was NOT - I was yawning in between pages, waiting to get to the next time this child says something about what he saw or heard in heaven. I felt this book was way too long for the story it has to tell (at least that's how the "style of writing" made it feel, to me) ... the parts in between the actual "heaven stories" were just not that well written ... some parts sounded like they were trying too hard to make a spiritual "wow!" where there wasn't any (their "simple yet profound" moments were not all that "touching" - they didn't "connect" with me or "engage" me, emotionally - and I blame that on the style of writing). I mean, they were all probably (no, most certainly) "wow!" moments for the writer/pastor and his wife, but not for me (the "reader") ... it was not written well enough to make me FEEL what the writer/pastor felt when he experienced them. And that's the difference between great writing and mediocre writing - great writing engages you - it puts you in the moment and makes you feel like you're right there with the writer, experiencing what he/she is experiencing. In this book, I FELT like an outsider looking in at something I couldn't quite "connect" with. I, personally, was more "riveted" when reading "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper. My only comfort after spending $16.99 to buy "Heaven is For Real" instead of renting it from the library lies in knowing this family deserves the money - because I do respect the author in his role as "pastor," and all he does for God and God's people - so I don't regret paying for the book, when I look at it this way.

I am not "putting down" this child's story. Only the style of writing used to tell it. (Posted on 4/26/2012)
Review by Dr. Jed
Overall Rating
This little book is startling, fascinating, provacative and illuminating all at once. The matter of heavenly life so simply presented is unusual. (Posted on 4/26/2012)
Review by JewishIdeasDaily
Overall Rating
In May 2011, Gallup conducted its annual "Values and Beliefs" poll, seeking to quantify religious demographics and beliefs in America. One question struck a national nerve, eliciting a consensus that defied religious or cultural distinctions. The question: Do you believe in heaven? The answer: Yes, overwhelmingly. But while Americans may agree that heaven exists, figuring out what that exactly that means is a bit more complicated. And as death remains incurable, billions of people are quite curious about where they will (or will not) spend eternity. So, what comes next? Well, it depends whom you ask.

These days, many Americans are getting their information from Colton Burpo of Imperial, Nebraska. In 2003, three-year-old Colton was taken to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and rushed into the operating room for an emergency appendectomy. After the surgery, Colton casually remarked to his parents, "I went up out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body." He continued: "that's where the angels sang to me."
Colton's father, an evangelical pastor, started writing this stuff down; in November 2010, he published Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of his Trip to Heaven and Back. The book has, in a word, exploded. It has spent 70 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list—including 52 weeks at #1—and sold over 6 million copies, making Heaven is for Real the best-selling nonfiction book of 2011 (Steve Jobs: A Biography was a distant second). The book has also spawned a companion children's book, iPad app, and DVD-based study guide; Heaven is for Real: the Movie is being developed by Sony Pictures.

Colton, now eleven, had quite an experience up there. He describes meeting Jesus ("he has brown hair and he has hair on his face . . . his eyes are so pretty"), John the Baptist ("he was really nice"), and the angel Gabriel (also "really nice"). Colton later encountered deceased relatives, biblical characters, and God, sitting in a "really really big" chair.

For the most part, Heaven is for Real offers a pleasantly benign description of the afterlife. "Remember, Jesus really loves the children," Colton often repeats. The conclusion, however, is a bit startling: "There's going to be a war, and it's going to destroy this world," Colton tells his father one day. "Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people." There is good news: "Jesus wins. He throws Satan into hell. I saw it."

Amazing though it seems, Colton's story—and the success of Heaven is for Real—is hardly unique. On the publishing side, Heaven is for Real is just the latest in a string of bestsellers that claim to offer a glimpse of the afterlife: 90 Minutes in Heaven, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, and 23 Minutes in Hell have all cracked the New York Times Best Seller list in the last decade. (Heaven sells better than hell, apparently.)

Moreover, according to the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS), Colton is only one of the 13 million Americans who have had a near-death experience. Founded in 1981, IANDS has collected more than 800 accounts of near-death experiences, and publishes a quarterly journal (Journal of Near-Death Studies) on the topic.

According to IANDS, 83 percent of near-death experiences are "positive" ("involve intense feelings of peace, joy and love, often an encounter with an unconditionally loving light"), while the remaining 17 percent are not ("include extreme fear, isolation, non-being, confusion, occasional torment or guilt"). They've also found "no significant correlation between religious beliefs and the likelihood or depth of the near-death experience."

Near-death experiences and discussion of the afterlife are not limited to Christian bestsellers or quasi-academic institutes. Jewish texts also tackle these issues with varying degrees of detail and scope. However, like any other topic, finding the "Jewish view" of the afterlife can be challenging.

The Bible, which has spent roughly 100,000 weeks on the Best Seller list, never presents a comprehensive account of life after death, though it does contain many familiar characters from the near-death genre: Cherubs guard the entrance of Garden of Eden; a "destroying angel" wreaks havoc on Jerusalem in the book of Samuel; the angel Gabriel chats with the prophet Daniel; and Satan plays a critically acclaimed supporting role in the book of Job.

However, descriptions of the afterlife are limited. In the Book of Samuel, King Saul raises the title prophet's ghost in order to seek his advice. Samuel is not amused: "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?"

Where was Samuel coming from? Sheol is the next destination for departed souls in the Bible, but references to it are isolated and often contradictory in the text. On the whole, Sheol comes across as rather bleak, an underground pit where "silence reigns supreme," according to the Jewish Encyclopedia. Surprisingly, Sheol does not seem to differentiate between the righteous and wicked; it is—like this world, I suppose—the only show in town.

The Talmud includes several accounts of the afterlife, which are more detailed than the Bible but no less inscrutable. In tractate Pesahim, Rabbi Joseph ben Rabbi Joshua falls deathly ill. When he recovers, his father asks him, "What did you see?" Rabbi Joseph replies: "I saw a topsy-turvy world—the upper class was underneath and the lower class on top." Rabbi Joshua corrects him: "My son," he observes, "you saw a clear world."

In tractate Rosh Hashanah, Rav Huna recovers from a similarly life-threatening disease and recalls his own encounter with death: "I was indeed on the verge of death, but I heard the Holy One, blessed be He, pronounce, 'Since Rav Huna was forgiving of others in his lifetime and didn't demand strict judgment, we shall not judge him harshly and he shall return to life.'"

In both cases, the talmudic accounts are instructive rather than descriptive, light on details but heavy on morals. The lessons: There is an afterlife, it rectifies injustice in this world, and good behavior will be rewarded there.

So, what can one expect? Perhaps Dante's description of "Paradiso" may prove helpful: "As in a circle, light and love enclose it . . . only He who encloses understands." No matter whom you ask, the afterlife seems destined to remain a mystery.

(Posted on 4/25/2012)
Review by Donna
Overall Rating
My mother passed away two years ago and I was always sure she went to heaven......I cried throughout this book (happy tears) that she is in such a wonderful place and the happiness she must feel! It made me feel much better about her death. I googled Akiane and saw her photo of Jesus......awe-inspiring! A must read for everyone!!!! (Posted on 4/24/2012)
Review by Angie
Overall Rating
It was awesome. It made me feel like I could actually see Heaven and feel it right within me. I cried. To think that Jesus and God hear our prayers the second we utter them is so surreal. I can't even imagine what he thinks when we are talking and hears all of that too. It has made me stop and think alot about what I am saying and doing. It has humbled me and made me take a step back. I have always known that God and Jesus were awesome, but I have never had the intense feelings of them until now. It is so hard to put into words what Colton has shared with us. I just want to see that picture of Jesus that Colton says is the right one. If sometime you could share that would be so awesome. Thanks for the time to share. (Posted on 4/19/2012)
Review by motherofachildinheaven
Overall Rating
Thank you for this book written at the best time for a small army of desperate people. (Posted on 4/10/2012)
Review by doc303
Overall Rating
While " is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" This tome will convict the tender heart and encourage the doubtful. A great read... (Posted on 4/10/2012)
Review by Jason's Mom
Overall Rating
I am walking a journey that no parent should ever have to be on. There are no words to describe the joy I felt after reading this book. I knew in my heart that I would see my son again, some day, but after reading this book, I had no doubts what-so-ever. "Thank you SO much" is a complete understatement. God Bless You! for sharing this awesome story! (Posted on 4/9/2012)
Review by Northernbluebird
Overall Rating
Beautifully told in easy to understand yet interesting words. Not churchy at all, just 'real' like the title. I wept and laughed and cheered. Wow. What a story to live first hand. You made itso heart wrenching, but in a positive way. Hope for so many looking for answers to difficult questions. (Posted on 4/9/2012)
Review by Lloyd
Overall Rating
The experiences expressed in this book are absolutely RIVETING. Once I started reading I could not put it down until I completed it. It is a book that every person on earth should read. I am a believer in my salvation through Jesus Christ and I know this is an istrument that will bring many to a saving faith in Christ. Holy Spirit I pray that you will draw believers and unbelievers to read "Heaven is for Real". (Posted on 4/7/2012)
Review by mery cabral
Overall Rating
I was amazed of the part where Colton told his father that there are no picture of Jesus. every picture that was shown to Colton wasn't what he saw when he met Jesus. But when a picture of Jesus painted by Akian (a girl who also went to heaven) Colton said that is Jesus! This gave teary eyes. I am glad that I am not the only person who believes that the afterlife is real. I have also been there. (Posted on 3/29/2012)
Review by Yollie
Overall Rating
Powerful testimony and credible because children have pure thoughts and do not have reason to make up stories especially with God and heaven as subject. (Posted on 3/27/2012)

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