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Over 5,000,000 copies sold… read the incredible true story of 3 year old Colton Burpo, the little boy who visited heaven! Topping the NY Times bestsellers list for 56 weeks, ‘Heaven is for Real’ recounts the near death experience, the miracle, and what happened next.
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The book that took the bestseller charts by storm, 'Heaven Is For Real' brings you the true story of how one little boy described his trip to Heaven - and back giving an account of life after death that's astounding Christian and non-Christian readers alike. The now iconic little yellow paperback takes on the journey that started when 3 year old Colton Burpo’s 2003 family holiday ended in the child's near death experience.
The story gives you firsthand accounts of the heartache of Colton’s father, Wesleyan Pastor Todd Burpo and his wife Sonja as they prayed for a miracle while surgeons battled to save the three year-old’s life. When the little family left hospital 17 days later, they had no idea of the miracle that had taken place, or of the astounding story their son was about to reveal.
The Story That Spread Like Wild Fire:
As Colton told his story, the Burpo family didn't know what to believe. He talked about a journey - though he's never left the hospital. He talked about meeting his miscarried sister and shared impossible-to-know details about the great grandfather who'd died 30 years before Colton was born. Astonished and perplexed, his parents realised that these couldn’t just be tales from a sick child’s vivid imagination. The only explanation: their son had been to Heaven!
Narrated by Todd, but often told in Colton's own childlike words, the disarmingly simple message of this book is that heaven is a real place, that Jesus really does care for children, and that we should all be ready for a final battle that is coming soon.
'Heaven is For Real' is a book that has engages with believers and non-believers. It is a very human story of a family's pain, suffering, loss and miraculous restoration. Above and beyond 'normal' life its book that will have you asking questions and wanting to know more about what comes next and our ultimate destination.
The book has already featured in both 'The Daily Mail' and 'Daily Express' newspapers, has topped the US New York Times Bestsellers list for an unprecedented 56 weeks for a book of this content, and is well on its way to becoming a bestseller around the world. The popularity and the buzz around 'Heaven Is For Real' shows no signs of diminishing with further specialised editions.
But it's the original book, co-authored by the experienced bestseller in her own right, Lynn Vincent, that's the key to whole astounding story. The questions and the answers - at least the answers from a 4 year old with first hand experience, and presented by a pastor father in tune with what the Scriptures say on the matter, are absorbingly presented in 'Heaven Is For Real'.
Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo; Sonia Burpo; Colton Burpo; Lynn Vincent was published by Thomas Nelson in October 2010 and is our 2232nd best seller. The ISBN for Heaven Is For Real is 9780849946158.
An intriguing account of disclosures over time of a small boys recollections of his time in heaven. Doesn’t sound plausible? Well! Read this book and find out for yourself, how hard it is not to believe what you are reading.
Colton, aged three, after the first hospital’s mis-diagnosis, was finally diagnosed as having a burst appendix and was rushed to surgery, where after a long operation his life was saved. His parents were never told that his heart had stopped on the operating table, but some time later Colton made remarks that stopped his parents in their tracks. He had obviously had an out-of-body experience. Over time, and piecing together what Colton said at different times, a fuller picture emerged that his father felt must be shared by others. Hence this book.
A fascinating story that has kept me thinking long after finishing the book.
Heaven Is For Real - An Overview
Posted: Thursday, April 5th
Prologue: Angels at Arby’s
1. The Crawl-A-See-Um
2. Pastor Job
3. Colton Toughs It Out
4. Smoke Signals
5. Shadow of Death
6. North Platte
7. “I Think This Is It”
8. Raging at God
9. Minutes Like Glaciers
10. Prayers of a Most Unusual Kind
11. Colton Burpo, Collection Agent
12. Eyewitness to Heaven
13. Lights and Wings
14. On Heaven Time
17. Two Sisters
18. The Throne Room of God
19. Jesus Really Loves the Children
20. Dying and Living
21. The First Person You’ll See
22. No One Is Old in Heaven
23. Power from Above
24. Ali’ Moment
25. Swords of the Angels
26. The Coming War
27. Someday We’ll See
- Timeline of Events
- About the Burpos
- About Lynn Vincent
"I think as a young teenager I had mixed feelings about heaven. Obviously I wanted to go, it was preferable to the alternative, but I often wondered what it would be like. Do we just sit around and sing hymns for 4 million years, and then what?”
“It’s only in the last few years that I’ve begun to really study what we do know about heaven and I’m so excited about ... obviously things like: I can’t imagine that first moment when we get to see Jesus face to face, I can’t imagine what it will be like to be able to thank him for everything he’s done. One of the first thing I want to tell him is; thank you so much for letting me be Christian’s mother, what a great gift that was. Thanking him for the life, for the privilege for touching other women’s life’s.”
“But I think heaven to me has taken on such a different atmosphere. I see it as the place where we will finally be the people that Jesus created us to be. We will be our perfect self: free from sin, free from disease and able to live and love him. So, every now and again, when I get manuscript come across my desk that eludes to heaven it intrigues me. So I will usually take it with me on a trip and read it.”
“So when I saw this manuscript of a book called ‘Heaven Is For Real’, I thought, “yeah I’m going to take this on 4 -5 hour flight”. I thought that I would perhaps skim the book, but I found that I couldn’t put it down. I read it from cover to cover. It’s an amazing story of a young boy, Colton, a young boys experience for what it was like for just a brief amount of time to find himself in heaven. What he discovered there will blow you away.”
“He came back to himself, not thinking a lot about it, and didn’t really talk too much about it to his parents. But as the days and weeks went on, he would say things to them that they thought – how do you know that? It was things he learned when he was in God’s presence.”
“So if heaven is something that intrigues you, troubles you, if you wonder what our lives will be like, I highly recommend this book. Heaven IS for real and this story is definitely part of helping us understand a little bit of what that’s going to look like.”
INTERVIEWER: “Well, the story of a little boy 's near-death experience and what he described as a trip to heaven quickly turned into a best-selling book. "Heaven Is For Real" has spent the past 52 weeks on the New York Times best sellers list, including 44 weeks at number one. And now the family who brought it to us has brought out a children's version called “Heaven Is For Real For Kids”. And Todd, Sonja and Colton Burpo are with us this morning. Good morning to all of you, it's good to see you again.
ALL: Good morning.
INTERVIEWER: Let's recap for those who aren't familiar with the book. When Colton was 4 years old he had a burst appendix, had several surgeries. Having come through that, he started telling you guys about having seen Heaven. What did he say, Todd?
TODD: I think his stories have been incredible. He can see us where we were in the hospital while he was in surgery, so that first grabbed our attention because those facts, we didn't know how he knew them. Then he goes on to talk about a sister he met in Heaven, my grandfather, and of course he tells us what God looks like. The only painting of Jesus that he's ever said is right, the information he shares is pretty incredible.
SONJA: Colton seemed to know things you had never told him. After all, he was only 4 years old.
TODD: He told us about our miscarried daughter and about a great grandfather he had never met and various other things.
INTERVIEWER: Colton, it's been eight years now, it's a long time for anybody. do you still have those vivid memories of heaven?
COLTON: Yes, I do.
INTERVIEWER: And what stands out most in your mind? What can you really still see?
COLTON: Well, the things I remember most are my family members and Jesus.
INTERVIEWER: Do you worry at all that those memories will get fuzzier and fuzzier over time? That happens to everybody.
COLTON: No. I think those memories are implanted.
INTERVIEWER: Let's address the scepticism, because I know you're familiar with it. I guess it has two parts. on the one hand some people are just - they want to believe this, who wouldn't want to believe it, but they wonder could it really be true that someone so young could actually see Heaven and live to tell about it.
TODD: Well, we questioned our son as first. I think, as parents, everyone can tell when their 4 year old is telling the truth. When they're telling you things they cannot make up. We're close enough to verify the story. For people that are farther away, we understand that. But we also see all the people that are finding peace and hope and comfort from Colton's story. So for those people that might even be against the story, we just look past them and see all the people that are getting peace and hope. It’s incredible to have ideas. What do my loved ones look like, how am I going to meet them, what is it going to be like. And for them to hear that and have peace, that's what we focus on.
INTERVIEWER: It's an amazing perspective to start thinking in those terms and I think the other criticism would be, ‘well, you wrote a book about it, now you've got a kids book and I hear a movie might be in the works’. So for those saying, ‘is this all about getting a profit’, what would your response be, Sonja ?
SONJA: It's not about that. We're just going to share the story, God blessed the story and a lot of people have found different parts in it; that felt their hearts and are touched by it. Our intention was to just write and help a few people and it just kind of exploded. The kids’ book, we're super-thrilled about.
INTERVIEWER: Colton, I know people that are your age can read it. Are you pretty excited about that, about sharing your story?
COLTON: Actually the [kids’] book isn't for my age . I’d say the adult version is more their age. But for kids 4 through 8, it [kids’ book] is a 32-page picture book. So it works for them pretty good because the wording is easy; pictures describe the story.
INTERVIEWER: Well, it 's wonderful to have you here. Have you thought about who might play you in the movie?
COLTON: I have no clue. I think those two [his parents] already have a few people [in mind] but I don't.
INTERVIEWER: All right. Well, you'll have to pick somebody pretty good to play you. Thank you so much. It’s great to have you. Once again the book is “Heaven is for Real For Kids."
“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.” - Ron Hall, co-author of “Same Kind of Different as Me”.
“Thomas Nelson, the book’s publisher, said it had broken company sales records. The publisher, based in Nashville, began with an initial print run of 40,000 copies. Since the book came out in November, it has gone back to press 22 times, with more than 1.5 million copies in print.” – New York Times.
"You will be moved by the honest, simple, childlike accounts of a little boy who has been to heaven. It's compelling and convincing. It's a book you should read." - Don Piper, Speaker and Author, 90 Minutes in Heaven.
"If heaven is something that intrigues you, or troubles you, if you wonder what our lives will be like, then I highly recommend this book." - Sheila Walsh, WOF Speaker and Author, Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God.
"Heaven is not a consolation prize. It is a real place that will be the eternal home for all who believe. Take a journey with Colton and Todd as they describe firsthand the wonders, mysteries, and majesty of heaven. It will make earth more meaningful and the future more hopeful." - Brady Boyd, Senior Pastor, New Life Church, Colorado Springs.
"There have been many stories of 'near-death' experiences that I simply have not read because I frankly didn't know if I could trust the author. Well, I have read this book cover to cover and, moreover, I could hardly put it down! Why? Because I know the author and I believe him." - Dr. Everett Piper, President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Author, Why I'm a Liberal and Other Conservative Ideas.
"I have scientifically studied over 1,600 NDEs (near death experiences), and found that typical NDEs may occur in very young children and while under anaesthesia. Even after studying so many NDEs, I found Colton's experience to be dramatic, exceptional and an inspiration to Christians everywhere." - Jeffrey Long, MD, Founder, Near Death Experience Research Foundation, Author, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.
"Some stories want to be told. They simply have a life of their own. The book you hold in your hand is just such a story. But it won't stay long with you; it will bubble over into your conversations in search of someone who has not yet heard. I know it will happen to you because that is what happened to me." - Phil McCallum, Senior Pastor, Evergreen Community Church, Bothell, Washington.
"Heaven Is for Real is a wonderful book. It reaffirms how important faith is in our lives—for children as well as adults." - Timothy P. O'Holleran, MD.
"Colton's story could have been in the New Testament—but God has chosen to speak to us in this twenty-first century through the unblemished eyes of a child, revealing some of the mysteries of heaven. The writing is compelling and the truth astonishing, creating a hunger for more." - Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church.
"God is so creative and credible! The discoveries of this book will amplify that in new ways. I've known Colton since birth. As a toddler, he already had a keen spiritual interest and intensity. At about age 3, he sat on my knee, looked me in the eyes and asked if I wanted to go to heaven when I died. Then told me "You need to have Jesus in your heart." I commend this book as a fresh perspective on the reality of God, who often seems hidden yet interrupts on His schedule." - Phil Harris, District Superintendent, Colorado-Nebraska District of the Wesleyan Church.
Based on the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book,The Heaven is for Real Movie recounts the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. Starring Academy Award
Exactly why Christian readers continue to search after proof of Heaven is a bit of a mystery. The Bible is so stuffed full of promises of the hereafter that you’d expect Heaven to be the least of our worries. Not so, as Todd Burpo’s record of his son’s account of a trip to heaven – following a death or near death experience, proves. But it’s not just Christian readers who are finding this book irresistible.
Remaining the US New York Times Bestsellers list for over a year, ‘Heaven is For Real’ held the number one spot about the same time as Jennifer Worth’s account of life and childbirth in 1950s London, ‘Call the Midwife’, was the UK number 1 in the same category. Clearly, the book has a wide non-Christian – even non-religious audience feel. And yet these readers don’t turn to more scripturally and scholarly based books and authors for answers to their questions.
The reason must be in the desire for readability and reality rather than bona fide biblical truth. Though to be fair to the authors of ‘Heaven is For Real’ that book is fully supported by biblical references, and most if not all of the returning Colton’s claims are compared directly to biblical texts – though no-one is pretending that this is a theological work. It is a true story or a story told truthfully, depending on your level of scepticism.
For me, it’s scepticism of the scriptural and scholarly that drives readers of faith and none to first hand experience accounts like that of young Colton. We don’t want to know Heaven is, we want to know what it’s like. It’s the same when we go to book a holiday. We don’t to know read about the geography, politics and economy of a resort, we want to know what it’s like to be there. And of course the information has to be presented in an easy access, easy to get into form. And nothing does better than a story – except a first hand story, or rather a first hand story from a child.
Of course the read quality of any true-life experience book depends on the technical excellence of the writing. The Burpos make no secret of their use of what is often disparagingly referred to as a ‘ghost writer’. The family’s choice of expert writer, Lynn Vincent, is in no way a ghost, she is quite definitely a co-author. Her name is clearly printed on the front cover, appears in the books many credits and she gets a well deserved ‘about Lynn’ page of her own.
Lynn is the co-author of Ron Hall, co-author of “Same Kind of Different as Me” and a best selling author in her own right. Another of her co-authored works, “Going Rogue: An American Life” is the memoir of governor of Alaska and presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. The key skill of a co-author is to bring out the unique voice of the book’s originator and owner of the story, without letting the co-author’s own voice come through.
Experienced readers – especially of ‘incident’ biography (a title I’ve just invented) will be familiar with created book structures and will spot the clearly constructed, and carefully assembled, passages and chapters in ‘Heaven Is For Real’. Which is generally to the good. Think of a badly written incident based biography with no flow or story, but typed up by the character at its centre, and you’ll know what I mean.
Together, Lynn Vincent and Todd Burpo weave together Colton’s amazing account, the facts of the family’s own trauma either side of his experience and the further revelations that unfold after the 4 year old’s ‘return’. Throughout, the authors never let you forget that you’re listening to the voice of little boy. Even though he’s talking about matters that an adult would struggle to put into words, Colton retains his innocence while communicating directly and succinctly to a grown-up audience.
Writers of the scriptural and scholarly have a lot to learn from ‘Heaven Is For Real’, though it’s only what writers like C S Lewis, J R R Tolkein and latterly G P Taylor have always known. Readers have a bit to learn too. They need to approach books like Todd and Lynn’s (to give them both the credit they deserve) with the same scepticism they lavish on the scriptural and scholarly. And that’s because to fully understand the reality of Heaven, we need to read both sorts of writing. - Les Ellison.
“I think God reveals himself to children because they are inclined to accept Him on faith, no questions asked. I believe that Colton's revelations were meant to be shared and to give hope to those of us longing for the day when we finally see our Saviour face to face.”
“What allows me to take this story seriously is the sense of humility and circumspection present in the narrative. The Burpos tread carefully with Colton letting him tell his story as he was ready.”
“Take this book for what it is: a sweet story of the love of parents for their child, the care of Christians for each other in times of crisis, and the surprising mystery of the grace of God.”
“Heaven is for Real is a quick read that is chock full of powerful revelations. The book made me question some of my own personal beliefs as well as providing some ‘A-ha’ thoughts. There are a few spots where I thought the editing could have been done better but it did not detract from the content of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“I read this book in one evening. I couldn't put it down. This book has given me refreshment and hope and for the first time in many, many months I feel better. This book was so uplifting and encouraging. Loved it! I have already recommended it to others.”
“The book also does a decent job of finding scriptural backing of what the boy claims to have seen and provides the reader with insight to why the Burpo’s felt the need to write this book. Far be it from this reader to doubt the truth or story that Todd Burpo has laid forth.”
“I enjoyed this book and think that any Christian reader would find glimpses of hope within its pages. Would I suggest one buy this book, yes. It will challenge you and cause you to think. Buy it only if you are willing to follow the scriptural references and trace the parallel between some of Colton’s stories and what is revealed in scripture.”
“Todd Burpo's book invited me to come as a child and marvel at all the wonders which will be our inheritance. If you are longing to stand and stare at the joys of heaven, the face of Jesus, this book might just reignite your heart for Jesus, your longing for heaven and your passion for the Scriptures.”
- 2 Samuel 12:13-14, 21-23
- Daniel 10:4-6,13
- Matthew 9:6, 10:24, 18:3-4, 28:3
- Mark 9:3, 10:14
- Luke 1:13-15, 18-19
- John 20:24-29
- Acts 1:9-11, 6:15,
- 2 Cor 12:2-4
- Hebrews 4.16, 12.1-2,
- 2 Peter 3:8
- Revelation 4:1-3, 9:6-10, 12:1-2, 10:1, 21:2-5, 18-20, 23, 20:1-3,7
“You might as well tell God what you think. He already knows it anyway.”
“...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.”
“Jesus clearly viewed children as precious - and that if he loved kids enough to say that adults should be more like them, we should spend more time loving them too.”
“The Scripture says that as Jesus gave up his spirit, as he sagged there, lifeless on that Roman cross, God the Father turned his back. I am convinced that he did that because if he kept on watching, he couldn't have gone through with it.”
“What is childlike humility? It’s not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It’s that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think.”
“It is the opposite of ignorance - it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.”
“Daddy, remember when I yelled for you when I waked up… The reason I was yelling was that Jesus came to get. He said I had to go back because he was answering your prayer."
“When we came across a picture of Jesus, we’d ask Colton, “What about his one? Is this what Jesus looks like?” Invariably Colton would peer for a moment at the picture and shake his tiny head. “No, the hair’s not right,” he would say. Or, “The clothes aren’t right.”
“It’s good to be strong and able to bless others, yes. But we learned the value of being vulnerable enough to let others to be strong for us, to let them bless us. That, it turned out, was a blessing to them as well as us.”
“In the end, it was Colton who inadvertently came up with the title… She [the book’s editor] looked across the table at our oldest son and said, “Colton, what you want people to know from your story?” Without hesitation, he looked her in the eye and said, “I want them to know Heaven is for real.”
Todd Burpo is the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska (Population: 1,762) where his sermons are broadcast locally every Sunday via the local radio station. In emergencies Todd can be found working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department as a fire fighter. He is also the chaplain for the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighter's Association.
In addition, Todd works with an overhead door company. Todd graduated from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 1991 with a BA in Theology. He was ordained in 1994. Todd and his wife Sonja, who is a children's minister, busy pastor's wife, mom, and office worker at a local realtor, are the parents of Colton, now an active 12-year old, Cassie, his older sister, and Colby, his younger brother.
|Author / Artist||Todd Burpo; Sonia Burpo; Colton Burpo; Lynn Vincent|
|Publisher||Thomas Nelson (October 2010)|
|Illustrator||James W Hall Graphic Arts|
|Number of Pages||192|
|Page last updated||16th February 2019|