Shane is a sincerely nice young man. He’s honest, respectful, polite and kind. I’ve never seen him do anything less than take other people’s feelings into consideration before moving forward with whatever he says or does.

He’s a 14-year-old whose obvious maturity adds value to each one of his many accomplishments.

Shane is a freshman at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights. In 2013, as a 12-year-old, he took third place in his age group and category at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland. Shane followed that two months later with a first-place finish at the 47th International Woodcarvers Congress Competition in Iowa. In both events, he had entered a bald eagle carved out of tupelo wood.

Shane loves the outdoors. This past summer, he and his dad spent a week fishing and touring Alaska.

He also loves the process of creating, whether it be another decorative woodcarving or his latest endeavor, which is where I come into his story. I own a publishing company in Elgin. Well, what started as a school project two years ago became a professionally illustrated children’s book, which was released in September, 2015.

The illustrations were the work of Richard Browning, a longtime Elgin art educator and one of Shane’s grade school teachers. The rest of the book, however, is all Shane. It’s his creation, his narrative, from cover to cover. His book, Journey to the Cross, tells the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from Christ’s birth to the crucifixion. The book’s ultimate message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that memorable night in Bethlehem.

Shane’s love of animals and the fact that he and his parents actually owned, kept and cared for two miniature donkeys were the inspiration for his choosing a donkey as the central character in his book. In real life, most, if not all, donkeys have a narrow strip of hair that runs down their backs and each of their shoulders in a darker shade than the rest of their coat. This naturally makes the shape of a cross, a phenomenon that sparked Shane’s artistic inclination.

His book is currently available at You also can Google him for additional information.