Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real for Kids as told by Colton Burpo to his parents is the true story of a 3-year-old boy whohad an experience during emergency surgeryin which his parents believed he went to heaven.  He then began to tell his parents everything he saw in heaven, including his grandfather who died before Colton's birth and his miscarried sister, who he knew nothing about.

I thought it would be great to give my readers my children's perspective of this book.  This is what Camille, age 7, and Claire, age 5, had to say:
A little boy got really sick and had to go to the hospital.  At the hospital he closed his eyes and went to heaven.  He learned that heaven is a great place and there are lots of angels there.  He liked it.  Then he met Jesus and Jesus said, "It's time for you to go home now."  He opened his eyes and he was at the hospital. I liked the book because it is great.  I liked that the little boy said you can do anything you want in heaven.  
My girls really enjoyed the story and the beautiful illustrations.  This is a fascinating story, if it is true.  Some things don't really sit right with me when reading this story.  First of all, Colton the book does not say Colton died.  It said he closed his eyes and went to heaven.  Upon further research on the internet, I discovered that the hospital report never shows he died.

In my opinion, Colton was extremely verbal if he said all of this at age three.  Not that he couldn't have, but some of the things he reportedly said, such as, "No one needs glasses or wheelchairs" and "there are angels and people worshiping God" are pretty astute observations/statements for a three year old.  To me, it sounds like he may have repeated things that he heard his preacher dad say.

In addition, his dad writes in the preface, "You may be surprised to find some details in this book that were not included in the 'grown-up' book.  Colton actually shared so many memories that not all of them could be written in just one book."  Really?  They couldn't all fit in the "grown-up" version of Heaven is Real?  Sounds to me more like dad is adding to the story to make it better for the kids book.

Another thing, this happened to Colton at age 3 and he is now 12.  This book was nine years in the making?

It seems to me that this child of a preacher, heard stories over and over again about what heaven was like, and then during a drug induced haze had a dream about it.   When he woke, he told his dream.  Upon more and more questioning, he may have felt the need to have answers and made up things to please his parents.  They say he did not know about his mother's miscarriage.  I am one who always says that children hear and see more than we realize.  Certainly, it was possible that he overheard about her miscarriage from someone.  I suspect that his parents also talked about his grandfather in trying to keep his memory alive.  It is a well documented fact that when questioned, children often try to answer what they believe the adult wants to hear.

Maybe this is a preacher trying to make a quick buck off his kid's story or maybe he really believes that his son went to heaven.  Maybe there is truth to it, but I question the validity of all of all of it.  Another thing I see as bothersome is that I have not seen anywhere that any of the proceeds of this book are going to any type of charity.

All that said, it is a cute book that talks about heaven being a wonderful place.  No one really knows what heaven is like and even I, too, try to depict heaven as a wonderful place for my children.  I look at it somewhat like a parable, we have to make up something to get the message across.  The depiction of heaven being a wonderful, fun place with all our deceased family members is fine with me.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not compensated for this review. This review contains my honest opinions.

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