Inspirational Book Review: Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo

Book Reviews
Heaven Is for Real
A four-year-old boy visits the afterlife in Heaven Is for Real.

On Wednesday, March 5th of 2003, a little boy named Colton Burpo "died" and made a journey into heaven. Earlier on that same day, the doctors at Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte, Nebraska, gave a dire verdict to Colton's parents.

Colton had a ruptured appendix. His body had been contaminated with the poison of the ruptured appendix for five days and he needed an emergency surgery in order for them to save his life.

If he really had died, we would not have known about the story of this four-year-old and his incredible experience in heaven, as outlined in Heaven is for Real: a Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by the boy’s father, Todd Burpo.

Thanks to many heartfelt prayers from family and friends, Colton survived the surgery and was able to recover. Some months after leaving the hospital, he started to mention his experience in heaven to his parents. They were astonished at first, but Colton's accounts have the ring of authenticity.

Colton told his parents about an encounter with his great grandfather, Pop, whom he had never met in real life. Colton enjoyed spending time with Pop, who he said wore white clothes, had big wings, and was really nice. Another relative that he saw in heaven was his own sister, who died in his mother's womb before being born. Since Colton was really young, Colton's parents never mentioned to him about the loss of their baby. Colton said that his sibling looks just like Cassie, his older sister, but is smaller and has dark hair.

Heaven is for Real was the Westport Branch Inspirational Book Group's selection for March. I have read many books about heaven and near-death experiences, but this is the first book that I read that came from a child's experience. It has a childlike, innocent voice and perspectives that are pleasant to read. A lot of stories will throw you for a loop because they will contradict with what you think of heaven and the activities of people who are in heaven.

In addition to his great grandfather and his sister, Colton met with other children, angels, God, and Jesus, whom he described in detail. Jesus, according to Colton, "was the only one in heaven who didn't have wings." In heaven, Jesus sat right next to God on his throne. Jesus really loved children and taught Colton to be kind to other people. Jesus was tall, wearing a glowing white robe with a sash (Colton did not know the word "sash"), and has "the most beautiful eyes."

This bright yellow paperback will brighten your day and inspire you. For me, reading this book resembles having an experience of sitting down and having a nice conversation about beautiful things with a child. It is a book full of hope of life to come. This book is a great gift for friends or family members who just lost their loved ones. It contains the Burpos' family black-and-white photos that complement Colton's amazing stories.

More heavenly reading:
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
Glimpses of Heaven: True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life's Journey by Trudy Harris
Heaven Is For Real for Kids by Todd Burpo

About the Author

Sukalaya Kenworthy is a senior library assistant at the Westport Branch. To join the Inspirational Book Group, e-mail her at or call 816.701.3488 for more information. The group meets the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 p.m.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Kansas City Public Library Beta