Look out Shack, there’s a new kid on the block — and he’s only 13!

A few years ago The Shack took the Christian reading world by storm. It was the sleeper book no big publisher would take on that became breakout due to word of mouth and one small publisher that believed in the story.

Well, this year it looks like there’s a new kid on the block (you can read portions of it on google books): Heaven is For REAL. It’s already number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, and that’s due almost entirely to word of mouth. With the new media push and Easter right around the corner . . . .


Thomas Nelson, the book’s publisher, said it has broken company sales records. The initial print run of 40,000 copies sold out quickly and since its debut in November, its been reprinted 22 times, with more than 1.5 million copies in circulation. So what is this book about?

Just short of his 4th birthday, Colton’s appendix burst and he had to undergo emergency surgery. When he woke up, he told his parents he had died and gone to heaven.  [To be honest, we didn’t hear anyone mention Colton died during the operation, although it was a life-saving surgery].  The book relates the details of the story as well as Colton’s observations, as well as those of his startled parents.

Much of it similar to what you’d read in any “I died and came back” sort of book, but this book is a bit more interesting because  no matter what you believe, these stories they allow us to peek into the inner workings of a human brain, and in particular a 4-year-old’s brain.

Most parents wonder just how much a child absorbs from his environment, this book may go far to answering that question. However readers should keep in mind, this is a Christian book. It’s not intended to be a scientific book, and isn’t subject to any scrutiny.  For instance . . . .

Colton tells his parents he met his younger sister in heaven, and describes her as a dark-haired girl who resembled his older sister, Cassie. When questioned by the Burpos, Colton says to his mother, “You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?”

Mrs Burpo had suffered a miscarriage years before, but Mr. Burpo claims they’d never told Colton about it. “There’s just no way he could have known,” was Mr. Burpo logical conclusion.  Which sort of gives you an idea of the lack of scrutiny.

Of course Colton could have known. He had an older sister who was alive at the time. Not to mention numerous friends of the family and relatives who knew, and hover around in Colton’s world.  Everyone knows, just because you didn’t “tell” a child something, doesn’t mean he didn’t overhear you, or someone else talk about it, even in the womb!

At any rate, it sounds like a good Easter read / gift to a Christian reader, it’s certainly the most popular resurrection story of the year. And, if your of a mind, there’s a small review at the NY Times or you can visit the Heaven is For REAL website.

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Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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