Mattie Stepanek wanted to be remembered as "a peacemaker, a poet, and a philosopher that played."
Mattie started to write at age three when his brother died. He called his poems "heart songs," or “gifts that reflect each person’s unique reason for being.”
Mattie Stepanek had a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He passed away at the age of 13, leaving behind a message of peace and hope.
Mattie Remembered by His Mom, Jeni Stepanek
Read the essay on Mattie in My Hero: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them.
MY HERO's Slater Jewell-Kemker interviews Dr. Jeni Stepanek in an in-depth interview. Available in text with audio.
Films About Mattie
The films in this section highlight the poetry and humanity of Mattie Stepanek. Mattie's legacy continues to touch young and old alike with a sense of inspiration and hope.
A short animated tribute to poet hero Mattie Stepanek. The soundtrack features the St. Paul's Episcopal Day School choir singing a song inspired by one of Mattie's poems.
Children's Hospice Volunteer Jim Hawkins talks about his heroes, Mattie and Jeni Stepanek.
Films about Mattie's mother Jeni Stepanek
Mattie's mother Jeni has kept her son's legacy alive and has been a beacon of hope herself, touching everyday people as well as heroes among us.
Jeni Stepanek accepts the 2016 MY HERO Project Humanitarian Award.
Mattie's message of peace inspires art that is joyous and celebrates hope and peace.
Teachers: Visit the free MY HERO Lesson Plan for Mattie Stepanek multimedia lesson plan. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.
Mattie put together his first book for a contest when he was in kindergarten, and it became a New York Times best-seller.
Recommended by Oprah Winfrey, Mattie’s second book was written between ages 3 to 10. Foreword by Former President Jimmy Carter.
Mattie's third book, written between ages 3 to 11, features poems he wrote on September 11, 2001. Foreword by spiritual author Gary Zukav.
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.
Mattie’s final book. A collection of peace essays, poetry, letters and photographs. Features a "forthword" by President Jimmy Carter.
An NY Times bestseller: Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, writes about Mattie's early life through last days. Foreword by Maya Angelou.
Artwork curated by MY HERO Arts Education and Gallery director Giselle Villatoro.
Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editor and Story Director Shannon Luders-Manuel.
Audio curated by MY HERO Audio director Stu Pearlman.
Organizer created on 6/28/2017 7:30:16 PM by Jun Kelly
Last edited 7/14/2020 7:42:53 PM by Shannon Luders-Manuel