If you have a television, you’ve probaly seen Colton Burpo, the boy who died and went to heaven, and then returned to tell about it. The original Heaven Is for Real (2010) spent time on the New York Times best-seller list, so not unexpectedly a spin-off for children is now available. One of the book’s major problems is that nowhere does it mention how Colton got to heaven (i.e., how his appendix burst and he “died”), so young readers may wonder how it is that Colton knows “Jesus really, really loves children!” Told in first person, Colton’s story also describes how he met John the Baptist, Samson, and his great-grandfather, among others. He had extensive conversations with God, and played with animals from dogs to lions. The introduction notes that art was done under Colton’s direction to reflect what heaven looks like, which seems to mirror what you might find on cheap greeting cards. Biblical texts extend the art, and eight “questions kids ask” are appended. For instance, do we get wings in heaven? “Colton clearly remembers wings.” The original book’s popularity may spark demand for this one. Grades K-2. --Ilene Cooper
Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan and a volunteer fireman. He and his wife, Sonja, have four children: Colton is an active teenager; he has an older sister, Cassie; a younger brother, Colby; and a very special sister he met in heaven. Sonja Burpo is a busy mom and pastor's wife. A certified elementary teacher, Sonja is passionate about children's ministry and helping women work through the difficulty of miscarriage.