Mattie Stepanek’s life as a writer commenced, as most writers' do, with a dramatic and heart-wrenching story. His elder brother Jamie, the only sibling Mattie had ever known, passed away from the same disease with which Mattie would struggle the whole of his. Mattie lost Jamie when he was only three, leaving the sensitive boy confused and sad.

Though he was only just learning to read and write, Mattie began composing poetry to express his emotion. With the help of his mom, Jeni, and a tape recorder, Mattie created hundreds of poems, focusing on life, death, God, sadness, and joy, among other diverse subjects. Mattie’s most moving poetry, however, centered around a simple concept—the story of a Heartsong, a personal melody that, with a simple heartbeat, intoned a mantra for life.

Though Mattie was recognized for his writings early into his life, it was not until 2001 that his dream of being published was finally realized. In a joint effort, Hyperion Books and VSP Books released his first collection, based on his mantra and entitled Heartsongs. The popularity of the book eventually spawned four more compilations of poetry: Journey Through Heartsongs, which topped the bestseller charts, Hope Through Heartsongs, Celebrate Through Heartsongs, and Loving Through Heartsongs.

The success of Heartsongs prompted a “book on tape” featuring Mattie himself, as well as a music CD of some of the poems transposed into music and performed by young country artist Billy Gilman.

Mattie continued to contribute poetry during his life; many of his poems were made available to read through the Internet and donated to various causes. Mattie also collaborated on other works of prose and poetry until the end of his life.

All five Heartsongs books are available through local retailers, as well as online through book chains such as and Barnes and