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Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry Review by Dena Wood

By Akiane and Foreli Kramarik
W Publishing Group
PO Box 141000
Nashville, TN 37214

Last year, during our annual church campout, I shared around my Summer 2005 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. An article on Akiane Kramarik, a young artistic prodigy whose pictures are literally awe-inspiring (and I don't use that term lightly), inspired us all. I doubt there was a person at the campout who missed an introduction to her artwork. I, personally, was so intrigued by her story that I went home and researched her online. Unfortunately, other than a site dedicated to her amazing art, there was little information on her, personally.

What a treat to receive Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry to review this summer. And would you believe I packed it along to our same annual campout? This book was so riveting that I was constantly reading sections out loud to whoever was standing nearby. (I now have three people eagerly waiting for me to finish this review so they can have their turn reading it!)

This book is far from simply a dry list of dates and accomplishments. In Part One, Foreli Kramarik, Akiane's mother, shares the story of their family's journey as God meets with them in the form of their young daughter. Though God has especially gifted Akiane, her parents and three siblings are very much a part of this amazing experience.

"Two weeks overdue, but exactly on the destined due date, our daughter was born as a hot, muggy July day dawned over our home. For us, like millions of other parents, it was no accident for such a little being to emerge, and we felt that there had to be some Higher Power behind this wonder, but at the time we knew nothing about Him, nor did we suspect the spiritual transformation that our family would experience due to the influence of this nine-pound baby girl."

Kramarik writes the story of Akiane's life, from ages 4 to 10, with such honesty and vulnerability that you can't help but be captivated. Neither she nor her husband were Christians when their 4-year-old daughter, raised in a very rural environment and not exposed to outside influence, began telling them about God. She shares their confusion at Akiane's behavior and undeniably profound spiritual insights.

She answers all those "real life" questions we have when we read about a child like this. What did you think when you recognized her skill? Did you feel inadequate as a parent/teacher? Does Akiane behave like a "regular" child? Do you treat her differently than the other children? Why Akiane and not someone else? Do you discipline her differently than your other children? How does Akiane receive her visions? Do her deep spiritual insights affect her personality?

"It seems that all along, God's protection of Akiane's childhood innocence has been through her selective memory-something that had so worried us for many years. For how else could a child show awareness of such intense adult emotions and spiritual events without any negative consequences afterward? It's another mystery, yet anyone who knows Akiane observes how easygoing and unself-conscious she is, how she loves people, and how young children knock on her door every day just to play with her or watch her entertain them, covered from head to toe with paint, like a living canvas."

Kramarik, who has taken extensive notes over the years, shares as if you were sitting with her over a kitchen table. She writes of physical hardships, financial struggles, and frustrations as well as the successes, answered prayers, and spiritual gifts. I'm grateful for this peek into their lives. When God so obviously touches someone in such a powerful way, we can't help but be curious about the how and why. Though we aren't given any answers, we are allowed to see the events as they transpired.

In one section Kramarik recounts asking Akiane about a planet in one of her paintings.

"Oh, that's the new earth. I just felt that I had to include it. I don't remember where, when or how, but the earth will change. All I know is that everything will be different. There will be no fear, no hatred, and no hunger or pain. Only love."

"Why is it all green? I see no blue oceans."

"I don't know. Maybe only rivers and lakes will be there. Why do you ask me as if I know? I paint what I can remember from my visions."

"Why do you ask me as if I know?"

What a statement. Only God knows the "why" behind her giftedness and insights. Akiane and her family are simply being obedient to His direction and guidance. I am thankful to them for sharing their story.

Part Two of the book is a gallery of Akiane's paintings with a brief explanation of each. Many are allegories filled with spiritual comparisons. I was particularly touched by the painting "Found," depicting the true story of an infant and 2-year-old orphaned and left to survive for three months alone before being rescued. As with all her paintings, this one is filled with symbolism. What was most striking is that Akiane, without knowing where the children were found, painted a background of trees and waterfalls behind the children. The children's adoptive parents later told her that the children were found in the only waterfall jungle in Madagascar.

Part Three is dedicated to Akiane's poetry. Most poems correlate to a specific painting, though the connection was not generally known at the time they were written. The poems are dictated to her mother as if Akiane is seeing the words.

"While it was somewhat easier to comprehend Akiane's art, which she created for weeks and months at a time, we were never able to understand the source, the method, or the pattern of her writings. As soon as we were convinced that they arrived in a certain way, something would happen to show us that we didn't have the whole picture."

Though complex and full of depth, Akiane's poetry is touching to all.

"For some reason, ordinary people have been able to understand Akiane's deep and complex poetry, which has been equated with quantum physics by some scholars. We notice that the message of faith is recognized by people of all religious and philosophical viewpoints, and the art is absorbed easily by both young and old."

The story of Akiane is one that you will not only read and enjoy, but will also share with those around you. I was amazed, uplifted, and inspired. This book is one you'll not just want to read but add to your home library.

Product review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2006