Have you heard about the sleeper paperback hit “Heaven Is For Real”?
It is the story of the 4-year-old-son of a small-town Nebraska pastor who, during emergency surgery, slips from consciousness and enters heaven. The book has dominated bestseller lists since its November, 2010, release, breaking a record for its publisher, Thomas Nelson.
The book is written by Todd Burpo, an evangelical pastor from Imperial, Neb., with assistance from Lynn Vincent, who collaborated with Sarah Palin on the bestseller “Going Rogue.”
The New York Times recently reported on its outstanding sales, noting:
The publisher, based in Nashville, began with an initial print run of 40,000 copies. Since the book came out in November, it has gone back to press 22 times, with more than 1.5 million copies in print.
…Much of the book’s success has been fueled by word of mouth, since it did not begin with the usual best-seller channels: there has been no elaborate book tour, big-name publisher or brand-name author. But it has gained traction with a few well-placed appearances on the morning show “Fox & Friends,” “The 700 Club” and CNN.
The book has sold just as strongly in national chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble as it has in Christian specialty shops, said Matt Baugher, the vice president and publisher of Thomas Nelson. Mass merchants like Wal-Mart have pushed the book heavily in their stores, and large orders from churches and ministry groups are growing steadily.
In the book, 4-year-old Colton offers up an array of insights: Jesus is the first person you’ll see when you enter heaven; no one looks old or wears eyeglasses in heaven; Jesus loves the children; and sword fighting is occasionally necessary to keep the devil out.
The book has a clear evangelical bent, with frequent Scriptural references and only a brief mention of Colton’s encounter of Mary in the epilogue. (Colton says he did see Mary, who was often kneeling before God’s throne praying or standing near Jesus. She still loves him like a mom, the boy reports.)
CatholicMatchers, have you read “Heaven Is For Real”? What did you think?