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

4.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  443 Ratings  ·  81 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
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by NAL (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,023)
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Reese
Jun 30, 2015 Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-memoirs
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)
...more
Darcy Leech
Mar 24, 2016 Darcy Leech rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs was a powerful read for me. I’d seen Mattie Stepanek on Oprah as a child with muscular dystrophy. He was wise, kind, and a poet with a terminal disease. This book is his mother’s reflections of their life as a family. I cried many times in this book. It touched my heart and I hope to be able to do what Jeni Stepanek did for me in helping me heal for other readers with From My Mother!
Diana
Jul 22, 2011 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Deidre Ferris
Dec 28, 2013 Deidre Ferris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Miriam
Jun 27, 2015 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favourite quotes:

"If you have enough breath to complain about anything, you have more than enough reason to give thanks about something." (said the boy with serious respiratory issues...)

"I choose to live until death, no spend the time dying until death occurs."

"you can’t lie down in the ashes of another person’s life."

"We still spoke, as we did every year, about choice -- about how you can't choose whether you're going to have a disability, or your mother is going to be in a wheelchair, or your
...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
Jul 04, 2011 Evelyn Garzon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Melissa
Jan 06, 2010 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brandy
Jun 24, 2010 Brandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story... Very uplifting and very sad... This child was a true Messenger... born with a gift to share with the world.
Julie
It was great. This little boy was certainly
a miracle.
AlixNicolee
Jan 20, 2011 AlixNicolee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list
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
Kirsten
Nov 14, 2011 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have, paperback
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
Anne
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
Jan 20, 2011 Mary Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jessie
Jun 27, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, summer-2011
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
Dan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krista Ashe
Sep 25, 2011 Krista Ashe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-111-of-2011
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
...more
booklady
Feb 09, 2011 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Recommended to booklady by: Tom
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.
Jakki
A boy with an incurable disease listens and follows his personal call from God to bring a message of Peace to the world. Having a deep and rich faith for one so young his story uplifted and encouraged me through his realistic and funny telling. An example to follow and be inspired by.
Margaret
Nov 26, 2009 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anf
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
...more
Mak M.
Jun 18, 2011 Mak M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kym Moore
Jul 21, 2015 Kym Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeni Stepanek did an amazing job at chronicling and weaving her life, with the life and legacy of her son Mattie J.T. Stepanek. Have a box of tissue on hand when reading this book. It is a true tear-jerker, but is inspiring with elements of Mattie's poetry included.
Pat Dominiec
Jul 25, 2014 Pat Dominiec rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brittany
Aug 08, 2011 Brittany rated it it was amazing
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
Julie
Feb 22, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
~steph
Jan 16, 2011 ~steph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Roger
Sep 13, 2015 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very inspirational.

At first I thought I wouldn't get through a 300-plus page book. Then I didn't want it to end.

I love how Mattie had three "impossible" wishes, and all of them came true.
Taylor
Jul 22, 2015 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book "Messenger" is an excellent book that will make your eyes water. This book maybe sad, but also shows happiness, love, and some religious aspects. If you liked "Heaven is For Real" or "Tatoos on the Heart" you will like this.
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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...

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