Heaven Is for Real

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Heaven is for Real
Heaven Is for Real (Burpo book) cover.jpg
Author Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Nelson
Publication date
November 2, 2010
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 163
ISBN 0849946158

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back is a 2010 New York Times best-selling Christian book written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. It was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The book documents the report of a near-death experience by Burpo's then-four-year-old son, Colton. The book tells how the boy began saying he had visited heaven.

By April 2012 over one million ebooks had been sold.[1] A movie based on the book was released on April 16, 2014.


In the book, Christian pastor Todd Burpo writes that during the months after his emergency surgery in 2003, his son Colton began describing events and people that seemed impossible for him to have seen or met. Examples include his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born.[2] Colton also claimed that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-colored horse and sat in Jesus' lap, while the angels sang songs to him,[3][4] He also says he saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus.[5]

Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. By January 2011, there were 200,000 copies in print and the book hit #1 and remaining in the top 10. In anticipation to the movie release in April 2014, it became #1 best selling non-fiction paperback.[6]


A variety of Christians have expressed criticism or concern about the book's content and message. The Berean Call, a Christian ministry and newsletter, criticized the book for its "extra-biblical" and "problematic" claims, as well as the lack of any medical evidence that the boy was clinically dead during the surgery (whom ever wrote this sentence did not watch the movie :the movie clearly states he was not clinically dead. This became a key part of the movie.) [7] Author and pastor John MacArthur has criticized the book for presenting an un-Biblical perspective on the afterlife.[8]

Writing as the "Spirited Atheist" in the Washington Post's "On Faith" forum, Susan Jacoby said that the success of the book shows that "vast numbers of Americans" lack the reasoning ability of adults.[9][10]

Film adaptation[edit]

In May 2011 Sony Pictures acquired the film rights of the book Heaven Is for Real. It was announced that Joe Roth will be producing the film with T.D. Jakes for TriStar Pictures.[11] On August 23, 2012 Braveheart writer Randall Wallace signed up to direct the film adaptation.[12] In March 2013, Greg Kinnear was in talks to star as the lead in the film; later he joined the cast.[13] On April 15, 2013 Kelly Reilly also joined the cast of the film.[14] The film was released to theaters on April 16, 2014.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Heaven Is For Real reaches one million e-books sold". Thomas Nelson Corporate. 
  2. ^ Thomson, Cask J. (27 March 2011). "The Boy Who Allegedly Went to Heaven and Returned". WordswithMeaning!org. 
  3. ^ "The angels sang to Colton". The North Platte Telegraph. January 13, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Kathie Lee and Hoda with the Scoop" (Video(11:23)). The Today Show. NBC. 
  5. ^ Thibault, Joanne (4 June 2011). "Near-death experience led to heaven's door". Winnipeg Free Press. "Todd is even able to report to Catholic friends that Colton "saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus."" 
  6. ^ Sehgal, Parul (6 April 2014). "Best Sellers" (Paperback Nonfiction). New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Is "Heaven Is for Real" for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment". The Berean Call. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Are Visits to Heaven for Real?". Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Craig (21 April 2011). "A boy's view of 'Heaven': Is it real?". USA Today. 
  10. ^ Jacoby, Susan (March 30, 2011). "Heaven Is For Real and the Immature American Mind". "What is truly disturbing about this book’s huge commercial success is that it attests to the prevalence of unreason among vast numbers of Americans... At age four, the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality is charming. Among American adults, widespread identification with the mind of a preschooler is scary." 
  11. ^ "‘Heaven Is For Real’ Headed For Movie Adaptation Through Sony Pictures, Joe Roth And T.D. Jakes". deadline.com. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "'Braveheart' Writer Randall Wallace Believes 'Heaven Is For Real'". indiewire.com. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (19 March 2013). "Greg Kinnear in Talks to Star in Sony's 'Heaven Is for Real'". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Kelly Reilly Lands Lead In Sony Drama ‘Heaven Is For Real’". deadline.com. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  15. ^ The "Heaven is Real" page on the Sony Pictures website. The Sony Pictures website http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/heavenisforreal/ |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 10 April 2014. 

External links[edit]