Heaven Is for Real Characters: The Burpo Family

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Heaven Is For Real" by Todd Burpo. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who are the Heaven Is for Real characters? Who are the members of the Burpo family?

Heaven Is for Real is a re-telling of Colton Burpo’s trip to Heaven by his father. This Heaven Is for Real character list consists of Colton, Todd, Sonja, Cassie, Ali, and Pop.

Continue on for the list of Heaven Is for Real characters.

The Heaven Is for Real Characters

In July 2003, 4-year-old Colton Burpo made a remarkable claim: that, during a period of serious illness earlier that year, he’d visited heaven and met Jesus. In the months and years that followed, Colton revealed more and more details about his heavenly experience, claiming that he’d seen God’s throne, met late members of the Burpo family, and foreseen the battle of Armageddon.

Penned by Colton’s father, pastor Todd Burpo, Heaven is for Real is an account of Colton’s illness and subsequent revelations. It explores not only Colton’s experiences, but also Todd’s journey to casting aside his doubts and accepting that his son had truly visited heaven. 

Below is the Heaven Is for Real character list.

Colton Burpo

Pastor Todd Burpo’s son. He is almost four-years-old when he falls ill on a family trip. It turns out to be appendicitis and he must undergo two surgeries. Colton claimed to have visited Heaven during his surgery.

Pastor Todd Burpo

Colton’s father and the author of Heaven Is for Real. When Colton described his visit to Heaven, pastor Todd asked him about the details and later turned it into a book.

Sonja Burpo

Colton’s mother and pastor Todd’s wife.

Cassie Burpo

Cassie is Colton’s older sister. She was six at the time of Colton’s surgeries.


Ali is the Burpo family babysitter. He tells her about his visit to Heaven and renews her faith in Christianity.


Pop was pastor Todd’s grandfather who passed away when Todd was young. Colton claims to have met a younger version of Pop in Heaven.

Heaven Is for Real Characters: The Burpo Family

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Todd Burpo's "Heaven Is For Real" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Heaven Is For Real summary :

  • Why 4-year-old Colton Burpo believed he had visited Heaven
  • What Burpo saw during his time in Heaven, including proof it was real
  • How the experience strengthened the faith of the Burpo family

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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