In Kala’s Hands, A Lakota Sioux Proclamation, by Mary Crocco, is about a special young woman named Kala, who spends her first twenty-four years as a wannabe artist. Kala has no talent, which makes her life miserable as she suffers humiliation from her teachers and classmates. Always having support from her friends and family doesn’t make up for her pensive sadness. Aware her daily scribbles lack talent, she retains her passion. Living in Rapid City, South Dakota, Kala visits art galleries and museums so often, the staff knows her intimately. Hoping to work at a gallery is a dream that she prepares for by educating herself through college in art history. Washing dishes at home, Kala suffers a horrific accident and mangles her right hand. During her emergency room visit, an unexpected visitor appears, Howahkan, from the Lakota Sioux Nation, and wraps a sacred blanket around her shoulders while reminding her of a proclamation declared on the day of her birth. Before she leaves the hospital, her hand is miraculously cured, which results in Kala possessing artistic talent. Shocking Kala, but understanding she now has a destiny to fulfill, absorbs her existence. Family and friends step up to assist Kala with her new purpose in life as an artist. Her boyfriend, Todd, suggests a trip to The Pine Ridge Reservation. The trip reveals Kala’s destiny and she fulfills her proclamation by opening her own art gallery while using the profits to build an art school near the reservation. Unconditional support from Kala’s family and friends, before and after her accident, plays a major role in her success. Life events provided Kala the tools for her trips to the reservation, where she maintains much needed art education for the residents. I recommend this book to readers who like stories of family, history, and culture.
The book plunges the reader into caring for the main character right away. She is bleeding, disoriented, and needs to get to the hospital.. what better way to grab the reader than that? At the hospital, a miracle and mysticism are blended into this story of an Italian-Irish girl who has a love for Native American art/culture. Though she has a passion for NA art, she lacks the talent to excel and struggles through her schooling, relationships and finding a job while trying to find her life's purpose. Woven throughout the story is her connection to a sacred blanket which was given to her at birth by a very special person. The story of the blanket is told by her family to a friend she brings to dinner. This reminded me of dozens of dinners of my own family where we tried to embarrass the other with "remember when you did this" or "remember when you were five and you ate the bug?"
The story is well written and the author possesses a talent for descriptions of scenes and details. The family banter seemed real, for example at the Italian mother loves to cook, but the character responds at one point with "I'm like my Irish father.. I leave the cooking to mom" (or something to that effect. Anyone who is interested in the Native America culture would appreciate this story that entwines realism with the spiritual.. This is not normally my genre, yet I was compelled to keep reading to find out what would happen next and I read it overnight. This book is a very good start for Ms. Crocco, in what I am sure will be a blossoming writing career.
I would recommend this book for any young adult who is struggling with their future. This is an interesting story of a young woman named Kala whom at the age twenty four finally realized what her destiny in life would be. Of course it didn't happen over night. She had a freak accident that landed her a trip to the hospital where she met a dead Indian who gave her a blanket with a prayer for her to find her purpose in life. This story has great history of the Lakota Star Quilt and the people called Lakota Sioux. If you like to read a YA book with some fantasy in it this book is for you. Thank you for a great read Mary Crocco.