Book Review

Young author’s book inspires readers


"Sheltering Hearts" is an uplifting story penned by 17-year-old author Ricky Circelli, a senior attending Ponte Vedra High School. This remarkable book truly showcases the power of kindness and the unwavering resilience of humanity, serving as a beacon of inspiration.

The plot revolves around Charlotte, a lively girl with a natural sense of joy and care. Charlotte stumbles upon Mr. Harrison, a homeless man sitting alone under a tree. What unfolds is a beautiful narrative of compassion and understanding as Charlotte befriends Mr. Harrison and listens to the ups and downs of his life's journey.

Ricky's storytelling ability shines through as he builds a story of both generosity and companionship between Charlotte and Mr. Harrison. Readers learn from their exchanges that life's path is often unpredictable, and that even the most unexpected friendships can bring immense joy and insight.

Ricky discussed what inspired this book: “During my years volunteering at Mission House Jax, I was constantly surrounded by countless stories of resilience, hope and humanity." His desire to share these stories with young readers was driven by an intense connection with real-life homelessness, which ultimately highlights the value of compassion.

Ricky beautifully captures the essence of these lessons in Mr. Harrison's words: "The most special gift, my dear, you will find, is to treat every person with love, oh so kind." This phrase serves as a guiding light for Charlotte and the readers. Ricky's vivid descriptions paint a picture of a town bound together by a common goal, where empathy serves as an agent for positive change.

One of the most pivotal moments of the book is when Mr. Harrison's hidden talent, his beautiful singing voice, is discovered. This realization inspires the creation of a wonderful concert that brings the entire town together, displaying how acts of generosity can ripple through a community, improving lives.

Ricky's words resonate with genuineness and authenticity throughout the course of the story.  He expertly captures the core of his characters' emotions, exhibiting a strong understanding of the importance of empathy.

"Sheltering Hearts" is not just a story; it's a call to action. Simple acts of kindness, no matter small, have the capacity to promote a world of belonging and goodwill. Ricky's words carry a powerful message that will stick with readers well after they close the book.

“I wanted children to understand the importance of empathy and compassion, and the best way I knew was through the magic of storytelling,” Ricky explained. His extraordinary talent as a young author shines through on every page of "Sheltering Hearts,” for his ability to weave this touching story is nothing short of remarkable. As made clear in the book, age is never a barrier to changing the world for the better. Both children and adults should read “Sheltering Hearts,” as it reminds us all of the transformative power of love and understanding.