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Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs
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Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  379 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The moving tribute to the young man Oprah Winfrey called "an inspiration"-told by the woman who raised him.

Mattie Stepanek's Heartsongs books were a phenomenon. Not only did they hit the bestseller lists, but the books-and Mattie himself- were a source of inspiration to many, and brought him major recognition. Jimmy Carter described young Mattie Stepanek as "the most re
Paperback, 344 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by NAL (first published 2009)
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I don't mind tear-soaked sleeves, but tissue / handkerchief users -- you'll need a large supply of one or the other if you read MESSENGER: THE LEGACY OF MATTIE J.T. STEPANEK AND HEARTSONGS.

As many times as I've read my favorite Mattie Stepanek poems, I still suspect that I will read them more times than I have already read them. Mattie's books should head a list of "Books to Read Before I Live," so if you are unfamiliar with his work,
. . . .

MESSENGER, the work (with Larry Lindner's assistance)
I gave the book 4 stars. I thought this was an amazing book !! I had read some of Mattie's poems in the past and had seen him on TV. However, those things didn't prepare me for the whole story. This child was truly a messenger and there were so many memorable quotes from him and those around him. It starts with Maya Angelou quoting an old African gospel song, "Lord, don't move your mountain, just give me strength to climb it. You don't have to move that stumbling block, just lead me, Lord, aroun ...more
Pat Jorgenson Waterchilde
Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!! The story of Mattie Stepanek lives on through his mother's words. You cry, you laugh, you remember a little boy who struggled through life and gave back so much to others. A must read for all.
Evelyn  Garzon
Not done with this book yet but already, the story makes me want to love, give and see the goodness in everything, one chapter at a time. Lessons from a child.
I first heard about Mattie on Oprah's show. What an inspirational and beautiful boy Mattie was. I loved this book, and I cannot wait to meet Mattie in heaven.
Amazing story... Very uplifting and very sad... This child was a true Messenger... born with a gift to share with the world.
It was great. This little boy was certainly
a miracle.
Mattie is so inspirational. The doctors predicted his death right after he was born, but he lived. They said that he would never learn like a normal child. They were right. Mattie started homeschooling when he was 10 at the learning level of a 9th grader. He died for five and a half minutes once. He's a miracle child, born July 17, on the 17th minute of the 17th hour (5:17 P.M.), measuring 17 inches and weighing 2,017 grams. His shyness eroded at age 6, and he began writing poetry he called his ...more
I first heard about Mattie on Oprah. I didn't pay too much attention (mostly because I am never home in time to watch). I heard bits and pieces and was always impressed with how Mattie spoke ... with conviction ... self awareness and assurdness. After he passed away, I saw Jeni on Oprah by chance and there were other viewings of Mattie. I bought this book for my uncle for his birthday, all the time keeping in the back of my mind that I needed to read it. I thought that this would be one of my "l ...more
I've always loved everything I've known about Matte Stepanek, and I loved this book. I went into it expecting to be touched by the story of this amazing boy's life. But I did not realize going into reading the book just how attached I'd feel to his mother, the author of the book. When the time came that I'd knew was coming throughout reading the book, when Mattie passes on, I was overcome with emotion. I realized I'd become so attached to Jeni Stepanek while reading that while I expected to be m ...more
Mary Alice
Oh, what a book. I'm not easily led to tears, but this got me crying.
Put's your life into perspective. It's nice his mother continues to spread Mattie's message now that he's gone.

Instead of writing a review I'll leave you with Mattie's words--

"I Am"

I am black.
I am white.
I am all skin in between.
I am young.
I am old.
I am each age that has been.
I am scrawny.
I am well fed.
I am starving for attention.
I am famous.
I am cryptic.
I am hardly worth the mention.
I am short.
I am height.
I am any fram
This is a nonfiction book about the life of a young boy named Mattie Stepanek who died at the age of 14, in 2004 from an inherited disease. His mother wrote and narrated the book. His life is amazing. In my school class I have the motto, "You can make a difference." This young boy certainly did. *** spoilers follow*** He was reading and writing at an early age. He finished college even though he was only 14. He understood deeper principles than most adults. He wrote many books of poetry, once co ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krista Ashe
I saw another reviewer mention needed a box of tissue when reading this. I would whole heartedly agree!!! I knew going in this would be a difficult read. When the book opened with Mattie's death and funeral, I had to put it aside for awhile because it was just too sad. There were times my vision blurred through tears to where I couldn't read. Mattie was an AMAZING, GIFTED, and HEROIC person!

Since my mother and sister had an adult onset form of Muscular Dystrophy, I've always been drawn to Mattie
If you haven't 'met' Mattie Stepanek, you are in for a treat. What a neat young man! Although he just missed celebrating his 14th birthday, he was wise far beyond those few years. I enjoyed every story his mother, Jeni, the author, shared in this autobiographical narrative about her life with this incredible child. Although poignant, Messenger was told with admiral restraint. I tried picturing myself in Jeni’s place writing about my own son and I couldn’t do it. The title refers to the fact that ...more
Pryclynn Campbell
This was a very touching book to say the least. I loved reading about Mattie and learning about his life. Since it was written by his mother, Jeni, it was especially personal and a lot of information that otherwise would have been left unknown was able to be shared. I really felt as though I got to know him personally and was truly moved by his journey through life. I would recommend this book to anyone. it teaches many life lessons and really opens your eyes.
I saw Mattie Stepanek on Oprah a few times over the years and was sad when he died. For me, he came across as a sweet and joyful boy who tragically died very young. I picked up this book at Costco and didn't read it right away. I was much more excited about reading other books on my shelf. I finally picked it up and it bowled me over. For me, it seems that Mattie is an old soul come to teach all of us, not just with his desire for peace but also with his admonition to play after every storm. I s ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Anf is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Only 31 pages in and already I've choked up and felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

He wouldn't let it go, though. "Maybe I wanted to have kids," he said, "because you want to leave behind lessons, leave behind everything that matters to you. That's how you touch the world. But I have to reconsider what it's like to leave a legacy. I think my life is opposite of what it says on your coffee mug."

On my coffee mug it said, "I may have to grow old, but I don't have to grow up." Mattie said, "I thi
Mak M.
MESSENGER is a powerful and inspirational message to all who read it. It’s a beautiful testimonial of strength and love beyond measure. This is Mattie’s legacy. This is a tender read, a detailed account of the life and feelings of Jeni Stepanek’s son Mattie who suffers the pan of muscular dystrophy. Mattie was an angel from heaven who looked beyond himself to do good for others, in spite of his own struggles to survive. He brought peace, love and harmony to all who knew him. This young man’s ind ...more
Pat Dominiec
Great book

To think that someone so young would have such an impact on life. As the old saying goes "Out of the mouth of babes". As adults we should listen to kids. They make more sense than some adults.
I believe what Mattie says, that he was placed on Earth to be a messenger for peace. In his short, challenging life, Mattie inspired millions of people to celebrate life and play after every storm. I admire and thank Mattie’s mother, Jeni Stepanek, for her ability to put it all out there and share her son with us. I marvel at her talent for parenting to foster such creativity and spirituality in her child. This book provided the dialogue for me to express my emotion about mortality and the fear ...more
Very sad book. However, if you can move past the sadness it's an amazing read. I loved hearing about the miracles that were sprinkled throughout his life. He lived such a hard life, but gave such joy to others.
By page 3 of the prologue I was sobbing. I knew I was in trouble! I could only read this in small bunches because I'd be crying so much! I just finished it last night. I remember seeing Mattie on Oprah years ago, and learning about his life was incredible! The way he inspired so many around the world...he also inspired me. Times get tough, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. I do, frequently. But when I feel like that, I'm trying to remember Mattie, his (and his mom's) daily struggles, and be tha ...more
Sweet read about the life and death of a smart little boy born with a horrible disorder that takes his life at age 13. He published books of poetry and attracted the attention of Oprah Winfrey.
A very special friend recommended this book, “Messenger”, to me. I am glad she did. This is one of those scenarios where I judged the book by it’s cover, and never would have considered picking it up on my own. I began reading, and within the first few pages alone I was moved and completely engrossed. I honestly believe this is a book that everyone needs to read. The power this child (Mattie J. T. Stepanek) had to touch peoples lives didn’t end with his death, because he touched mine simply by h ...more
Deidre Ferris
This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. I remembered Mattie from his Oprah shows. I'd never read his books before. This book is precious. What a wise young man he was and gift to the world. His mother has endured such strains in her life and is astoundingly dedicated to living a full life, and did the same with Mattie. She wouldn't/doesn't allow her physical condition to inhibit that. I cried more reading this book than any other, though please don't let that stop you from readin ...more
This book was an amazing story of a family who were all diagnosed with a rare disease. The first three children died at a very young age, but the 4th child Mattie beat the odds and kept living. His life story is sad, yet very inspiring. I was amazed at how much this boy accomplished in such a little time. His plea for peace at a time when the world was yearning for it was readily accepted. He made his dreams happen and his hope and message inspired many other people. His poetry was beautiful and ...more
Ruth Fuller
An absolutely awesome book. One could be sad whil reading this book, but I felt only joy in knowing this incredible young man. I highly recommend this book.
I was truly touched with the story. I did feel that the way it was written could have been better organized which is the only reason i took off one star. Other than that this book was very inspiring a young boy with so much love joy and peace in his heart. It helps make us see that life is too short sometimes but we have to deal with what we have been dealt and make the best of it because we were all put here for a reason. Amazing story. My heart goes out to jeni for having to bury each one of h ...more
Becka Lloyd
Being from the DC area, this was not the first I had heard of Mattie Stepanek. A radio station I listen to in the morning had him on before he passed away and have had his mother on regularly. Anytime I hear anyone speak of this kid...i run down into tears.

Reading into his story was a heartbreaking journey. It made you smile in places...made you cry in so many and made you wonder about how someone so young, could be so strong and so peaceful and so smart. This kid touched every single person he
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Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D., is the mother of the late NY Times bestselling child poet and peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek, and the mother of three other children, Katie, Stevie, and Jamie, who also died due to a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease. Jeni was diagnosed with the adult onset form of the condition only after the births of all four of her children. Her son, Mattie, created six bestselling b ...more
More about Jeni Stepanek...
Messenger:  The Legacy of Mattie TJ Stepanek by Jeni Stepanek Messenger Messenger: The Amazing Story of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs Teaching by Design in Elementary Mathematics, Grades 4 5 Teaching by Design in Elementary Mathematics, Grades K-1

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