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."-Goodreads
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Page Count: 163
Would Appeal To: Fans of 90 Minutes in Heaven and The Shack
I'm going to deviate from my typical YA reviews and write a book that's appropriate for most ages, from teen to adult.
I read this book on a plane ride. It was fast, touching, and incredible-- a gift from my husband's grandmother that I'd put off reading for two years. I'm sad I did but glad I finally picked it up. If you've ever wondered about the probability of an afterlife, this story is very convincing without being preachy or in your face.
Colton's father Todd, a preacher, narrates the family events that surrounded Colton's experience. Although there was no evidence of Colton's heart stopping during his emergency appendectomy, he slowly tells his parents of being with God and Jesus in heaven. Coming from the mouth of a four year old, this is at first unbelievable. However, for a little boy who'd never been exposed to a crucifix, he knows where the "marker" is on Jesus' hands and feet. He describes that Jesus will return to earth. He tells of a war that he saw his dad fighting in, the one described in the book of Revelation. And he met all kinds of people there, including a deceased sibling he'd never known about.
One of the best parts of this book is that often, after Colton describes something he saw, like Jesus sitting at the right hand of God, Burpo throws in an element of scripture that confirms the boy's words. Even if you're not religious, this is worth reading. Colton is lovable and forever changed by his visit to heaven. Sonja, Tom's wife, is caring and an amazingly busy woman, and Todd himself has a good heart and believes in his son. He goes through so much before they almost lose Colton that the congregation begins to refer to him as the Preacher Job. I can only help but think their story of suffering and Colton's experience is impacting people around the world. And it definitely drives home the point that children are special to God and see things in ways that adults cannot.
There are also pictures of the family in the middle of the book, which helped me imagine the family as I read. My husband's not a reader and he read some parts over my shoulder. Then he asked to borrow the book when I was done.
I can see why it's a New York Times bestseller; it gives the gift of hope.
Also see, "The True Heaven: Not What You Thought, Better Than You Expected," by Joe Beam.