Need some suggestions on which books the teens in your life would love? Let us help. Recently, I asked my students to share their picks for the best inspirational books for young people. Today’s choice is courtesy of my senior English student Kristof.
Here’s a bit of his history: Kristof was born with two holes in his heart as a result of Noonan’s Syndrome. His first days were so precarious that his father couldn’t even hold him until weeks after he was born. During his early years, the doctors kept a careful watch on him and decided that the perfect time for his open heart surgery was age eight.
After hours on the table, Kristof remembers waking to his mom anxiously hovering over him. “You’re going to be fine, honey.”
Kristof replied, “It’s okay, Mom. If I die, I know where I’m going,” and promptly dropped off to sleep again.
Kristof’s parents had never presented his medical condition as life-threatening or discussed the possibility of death. But through the lessons at church, Sunday school, and Christian school, God impressed on Kristof the need to be ready to meet Christ face-to-face at a young age.
A month ago, we were all reminded of Kristof’s condition when he experienced heart pain during study hall. He immediately called his parents and his buddies at 911. (He’s a volunteer fireman with first-responder training.) Fortunately, his doctors found nothing significant.
Though Kristof has a quick mind, he has struggled with learning disabilities that affect his reading comprehension and ability to memorize. In elementary school, his mother homeschooled him, and they often read together. Then, with the help of a tutor, he enrolled in our Christian high school. He’ll be graduating in a few weeks and joining his dad and brothers in their family construction business. Though he is a mature, responsible nineteen-year-old, his mother recently asked if she could read to him again. The book she chose was Todd Burpo’s account of his son Colton’s story. Heaven Is for Real touched their hearts (pardon the pun) in a special way. For them, this book puts into words what they know and believe and have experienced. Kristof highly recommends it!
Here’s Amazon.com’s preview of the book . . .
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. ”Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there—people he had never met in “real” life. He shared events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
From me again: Several other students are now reading my copy of this book and have been raving about it. I can’t wait to get my book back so I can dive in. Do you know someone who might appreciate this story? You can purchase your copy at this link.