Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest Winners

The MY HERO Project hosts the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest in honor of poet and peace activist Mattie Stepanek. Before Mattie passed away, just before his 14th birthday, he had become a New York Times Bestselling author and a celebrated guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon. His mother, Jeni Stepanek, continues his legacy with the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation and is our judge for the poetry contest.

Mattie Stepanek Poetry Contest Winners 2020
Credit: MY HERO

Grand Prize Winner | Poetry and Film


Alana Daly Mulligan is an award-winning spoken-word “artivist” & filmmaker of Déise extraction.

"Last year I did a lot of reading about Mattie and his attitude towards life and it really inspired me to change as a person, to be better to other people and I really wanted to tribute his life and the impact he continues to have on the world."


Alana Daly Mulligan
Credit: Personal photo

Mattie J.T. Stepanek

By: Alana Daly Mulligan

Alana's poem about Mattie

To The Boy - for Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Produced by:Alana Daly Mulligan

Alana's poem about Mattie put into film

Submissions are open for the 2021 Mattie J.T. Stepanek poetry contest!

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest

By: Xenia Shin

Submissions are now open for the 2021 Poetry Contest! Celebrate National Poetry Month in April and submit your work for the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest.

Poetry Winner | Adult Category


Mark Cavanagh is a MY HERO board member who contributed a poem in hopes of getting his niece and nephew to do the same. "Ha, I won!"


Mark Cavanagh
Credit: Personal photo

My Hero, Mattie

By: Mark Cavanagh

Poetry Winner | Youth Category


Milan Bhargava Desai is a 3rd grader in Newport Coast, California. His sister Maya was a finalist for her poem about the heroism in us all.


My Dad My Hero

By: Milan Bhargava Desai

All about Mattie and Jeni Stepanek

Mattie Stepanek

By: Jun Kelly

This showcase is all about Mattie, a young poet and peace activist with dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy.

Jeni Stepanek To Receive 2016 My Hero Humanitarian Award

Press release about Mattie's mother, Jeni Stepanek

Related Pages

Mattie Stepanek

By: Jun Kelly

Mattie Stepanek birthday showcase.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest Finalists

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel
Our finalists for the 2020 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest
Coronavirus community heroes contest
Credit: MY HERO

Books by Mattie


By: Mattie J. T. Stepanek
Mattie's poetry and finger paintings between ages 3 and 5. Mattie put together his first book for a contest when he was in kindergarten, and it became a New York Times best-seller.

Journey through Heartsongs

By: Mattie J. T. Stepanek
Recommended by Oprah Winfrey, Mattie’s second book was written between ages 3 to 10. Foreword by Former President Jimmy Carter. The book features poems and finger paintings, and was a #1 New York Times best seller.

Hope Through Heartsongs

By: Mattie Stepanek

Celebrate Through Heartsongs

By: Mattie Stepanek
Mattie's fourth book was written between the ages of 3 and 11. Foreword by Jerry Lewis, MDA National Chairperson. It was also a NY Times bestseller.

Loving Through Heartsongs

By: Mattie Stepanek
Mattie’s fifth book of poetry was the last published during his lifetime. Written between ages 3-12, it features a foreword by Dr. Maya Angelou.

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

By: Jeni Stepanek, with Larry Lindner, Maya Angelou (Foreword by)
A NY Times bestseller: Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, writes about Mattie's early life through last days. Foreword by Maya Angelou.


Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editor and Story Director Shannon Luders-Manuel. 

Organizer created on 7/7/2020 2:54:16 PM by Shannon Luders-Manuel

Last edited 11/2/2020 3:28:41 PM by Xenia Shin