The book heaven is for real it is based on a true story and takes place in imperial, Nebraska. In the book Todd Burpo, Colton's father, tells the story of his son's near death experience and narrates it in his point of view.
In the movie it is almost the same as the book but the movie has less details. In the movie it makes you feel on the edge of your seat, and it shows the emotion in the actors. you can understand the pain the people are going through.
There are very little differences between the book and the movie. The book tells more details and shows more things the people went through. One difference between the movie and the book is that the film alters the story to appeal to mass audiences. Thus the film lacks the authenticity of most independent christian films.
I personally like the book better, because the movie tells more of the story and explains in more details. I like how the book tells the story in Todd's perspective, because it shows how Todd felt when Colton was in the hospital and the pain Todd went through.