Joy Kogawa’s masterful third novel, a middle-aged woman discovers painful truths about her father

kogawa_rainIn Joy Kogawa’s masterful third novel, a middle-aged woman discovers that her father, a respected Anglican priest, has long been a sexual abuser of boys. Originally published to critical acclaim in 1995, The Rain Ascends has been revisited by the author, with substantive additions to the end of the narrative that bring to fruition the heroine’s struggle for forgiveness and redemption.

As a middle-aged mother, Millicent is confronted with the secrets of her father’s past as she recalls certain events in her childhood-a childhood that, on the surface, was a blissful one. Disbelief turns to confusion as she faces up to the sins of her father and wrestles with a legacy of lies, silence and her own embattled conscience.

In The Rain Ascends, Joy Kogawa beautifully sifts the truth from the past and the sinner from the perceived saint. The result is a sensitive, poetic, yet searing depiction of the wounds left by abuse and the redemption brought by truth.( Penguin)

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Date Published: January 14, 2003
Subjects: Fiction
EAN: 9780143013xxx
Physical Dimensions: 5.50″ x 8.55″
Sales Rank: #

JOY KOGAWA was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese- Canadian parents. During WWII,  Joy and her family were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, as part of the Canadian government’s policy to relocate and intern Japanese-Canadians. Kogawa is the author of several award-winning novels and volumes of poetry. In 1986, Kogawa was made a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2006, she was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia. She lives in Toronto.


“Rain Ascends by Joy Kogawa.” Penguin Random House Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2015. <

Geography AP Reading Project 2… TASK

Project 2…Non-Fiction Task

Why blog writing?

Scholarship and personal learning grows with the written word.

  • The written word is a primary device for acquiring meaning, evaluating understanding and sharing perspectives. Not unlike the expansion of culture, ideas and technologies, during global exploration, today’s online reality has expanded the potential to engage in discourse far beyond our borders.
  • Connected learning and dialogue is the new commerce. Blogs are a platform that exchanges content beyond the level of a status update.
  • Often credit and/or personal courses include ‘response’ evidence.
  • Your feedback builds academic capital for KSS and future students.


Organizer notes with references to your book choice. The notes must be :

  1. One(1) or more blog comment below and
  2. One(1) REPLY to (1) student comment(s) for a book other your own.
  3. Criteria:
    1. Comment:
      1. proficient exam writing,
      2. with a paragraph(s), your book’s connection to the main Human Geography themes.
      3. Provide a minimum of (1) quote.
    2. Reply
      1. proficient written feedback
      2. with a sentence(s), 
      3. includes mindful feedback and a POV

Geography AP Reading Project 2…Non-Fiction

Our Geography AP class is embarking on another reading project.  This unit is focusing on a non-fiction selection. Students will select a title and research as needed to write various analytical criteria of the human geography curriculum- economic, social, political and nature of place. ASK-a-Librarian 24/7 for questions or suggestions…

Reading List formal Bibliography >

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed Vaillant, John
The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating Smith, Alisa
Infidel Hirsi Ali, Ayaan
The David Suzuki Reader, 2nd Edition: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker Suzuki, David
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda Dallaire, Romeo
Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa Lewis, Stephen
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World Weiner, Eric
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Klein, Naomi
World is Flat, The: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Friedman, Thomas
Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies Diamond, Jared

AP Geo Longlist

Unit Overview:

The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place).  By it’s natural genre, he NON-FICTION reading titles have more explicit references to each concept. Your outline points should now be more analytical and less descriptive.

Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding.  An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of the geographic elements that proves your analysis and understanding.

Book Review/Resource Links to assist in your selection and analysis. Questions? contact me anytime.

KSS Novelist reviews:






Stephen Lewis. lecture on Race Against Time, Massey Lectures. frank, articulate, intelligent essay on AIDS, Africa and foreign policy.

“I have spent the last four years watching people die.” With these wrenching words, diplomat and humanitarian Stephen Lewis opens his 2005 Massey Lectures. Lewis’s determination to bear witness to the desperate plight of so many in Africa and elsewhere is balanced by his unique, personal, and often searing insider’s perspective on our ongoing failure to help.(CBC)


Hayes, Marques. “Geography, More Than You Think.” Geoawesomeness. 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

“Al’s Geography AP.” Mosaicbooks. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.

Klein, Naomi. “Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine – Part 1 of 6.” YouTube. Policy Alternatives, 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <;.

Lewis, Stephen. “The 2005 CBC Massey Lectures, “Race Against Time” – Home | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.” CBCnews. Ed. Kennedy. CBC/Radio Canada, 07 Nov. 2005. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <;.


What is the one book to break barriers?  That’s the question host Wab Kinew will be asking for the 14th edition of CBC’s battle of the books…. Try one for Spring Break.

Follow : web, TV, Radio or Social Media. 

The tradition and literary integrity of this nation wide program is the envy of the world. In Canada, millions follow the reading list, debates and events each year. Where else is there a community book club? 🙂 KSSreads celebrates the event each year.

Past winners and nominees>

If you have read any of the contenders, please post a reply below with a comment or mini review.  Thanks.

Canada Reads encourages critical thinking… 

It’s another CanadaReads season. The roots of ‘KSSreads’, our school library blog, can be found in the pioneer years of CanadaReads. Some of our Lit a Circle projects in our classrooms borrow elements of the CanadaReads model. 

Celebrate literature, critical thinking and the book club by visiting one of the program’s platforms. The web site has previews, author bios, celebrity defenders pieces , previous nominees and winners and more… The concept of people across a huge nation like Canada, sharing a dialogue about good books is such a testimony to a healthy culture. Radio, TV, Web, social media all at once, Canadians are talking books… Browse and consider reading one of the titles and join the conversation. 🙂 Thank you CBC for sponsoring. The world is watching in shock. 🙂 Crazy Canucks! 

What is the one book to break barriers? That’s the question host Wab Kinew will be asking for the 14th edition of CBC’s battle of the books.

Canada Reads 2015 is all about books that can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues. The debates take place March 16-19.(CBC)

Canada Reads takes place March 16-19, 2015. Here’s how you can tune in:


10 a.m. ET. video livesteam on
On-demand video will be available each afternoon

11 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. in NFLD) on CBC Radio One
8 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. in NFLD) on CBC Radio One
A podcast will be available to download each afternoon

4 p.m. local time on CBC Television
7 p.m. ET on documentary Channel
9 p.m. PT on documentary Channel

Happy birthday Dr. Seuss. Pioneer for children and reading… 

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ( BrainyQuote)

Dr. Seuss was a storyteller in the grandest sense of the word. Not only did he tell fantastical tales of far-away places but he also gave us a unique visual language that carried his stories to new heights of artistic expression. Surrealism provided the foundation from which he built his career, but like a launch pad sitting idle just before liftoff, surrealism was soon to be engulfed in the flames of ridiculous fun and its launch tower thrown to the ground with each new editorial cartoonmagazine coverpainting, or children’s book
It was that explosive energy that thrust Ted’s works into otherworldly places, taking young and old alike on a ride that would become a critical reference point for most children from 1937 on, as well as for the adults who raised them. Nearly everyone has a significant Dr. Seuss memory. Many of today’s top visual artists, poets, filmmakers, and authors cite Ted as one of their greatest influences. Indeed, what Walt Disney was to entertainment, Theodor Seuss Geisel was to art and literature.( Drseussart)

  1. March 2, 1904
    Dr. Seuss, Date of birth


     “Dr. Seuss Quote.” BrainyQuote. Xplore. Web. 27 Feb. 2015. <;. 

     “Introduction Dr.Seuss.” The Art of Dr. Seuss. DrSeussArt. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <;.

Mental illness and writing genius –

A fascinating overview of research into creativity from Brainpickings blog:

One of the most interesting chapters in the book deals with the correlation between creativity and mental illness, bringing scientific rigor to such classic anecdotal examples as those evidenced in Van Gogh’s letters or Sylvia Plath’s journals or Leo Tolstoy’s diary of depression or Virginia Woolf’s suicide note. Having long opposed the toxic “tortured genius” myth of creativity, I was instantly intrigued by Andreasen’s inquiry, the backdrop of which she paints elegantly:

Did mental illness facilitate [these creators’] unique abilities, whether it be to play a concerto or to perceive a novel mathematical relationship? Or did mental illness impair their creativity after its initial meteoric burst in their twenties? Or is the relationship more complex than a simple one of cause and effect, in either direction?

She cites the work of Havelock Ellis, one of the earliest scholars of creativity, a Victorian physician, writer and social reformer ahead of his time. In 1926, in his late sixties, he published A Study of British Genius, an effort to provide a scientific assessment of the link between genius and psychopathology by studying a sample of people found in the British Dictionary of National Biography — a compendium of about 30,000 eminent public figures, whom he sifted through a set of criteria to identify 1,030 displaying “any very transcendent degree of native ability.” Andreasen recounts his findings( Popova)

Popova, Maria. “The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness.” Brain Pickings RSS. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. .


Potential chess games- math can be cool


The number of legal chess positions is 10^40, the number of different possible games, 10^120. Authors have attempted various ways to convey this immensity, usually based on one of the few fields to regularly employ such exponents, astronomy. In his book Chess Metaphors, Diego Rasskin-Gutman points out that a player looking eight moves ahead is already presented with as many possible games as there are stars in the galaxy. Another staple, a variation of which is also used by Rasskin-Gutman, is to say there are more possible chess games than the number of atoms in the universe. All of these comparisons impress upon the casual observer why brute-force computer calculation can’t solve this ancient board game. They are also handy, and I am not above doing this myself, for impressing people with how complicated chess is, if only in a largely irrelevant mathematical way.

( NYBooks)

Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind
by Diego Rasskin-Gutman, translated from the Spanish by Deborah Klosky
MIT Press, 205 pp., $24.95

‘The chess master’. (2010). Retrieved Jan 8, 2015,

AVIDreaders Club- long list vote

It’s that season again. The KSS AVIDReaders book club. It’s not too late to join.
The club is a volunteer, recreational reading group that runs until June. We meet for group luncheon monthly. You only need to read one title per month and your degree of discourse, reviews, speaking, is up to each student. The more group sharing or even debating makes the experience fun. You can contribute anytime through this blog with the tag- #avidreaders , Tweet #avidreaders , or FB/Ksslibrary

Download/Read/vote …


Attached to your members’ email is a PDF file of a power point that I created that gives you the cover, the author information, tone, subjects, etc. I have not included reviews or detailed story lines. It is up to you to vote for your top 10. You can only vote once for each book.

You need to send your 10 choices back to me in 48 hours–….I need your name and your choices. Try to vote for one in each category-but do not vote for all dystopic novels. Try to pick one non fiction (could be a memoir or biography or something that is based on the truth). Ultimately, we want varied themes and levels of reading.

Look at summaries, reviews, Novelist–anything that gives you enough background information (if you have not already read the book) to help you make those difficult decisions. It is not too late to suggest another title for the next round of reading. – Ms Bede, Teacher-Librarian

Dog lovers – our 2015 Reading Picks

Love ’em or hate ’em, dogs can generate themes for some compelling stories. Here is a recommended list of fiction. We have these titles in the KSS Library. If you have other ‘dog eared’ titles to share, jot a comment below.
Visit for links to reviews and suggestions from our list.

House Broken
by Sonja Yoerg (Goodreads Author)
4.4 of 5 stars 4.40 · rating details · 87 ratings · 55 reviews
In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 6th 2015 by NAL Trade
ISBN0451472136 (ISBN13: 9780451472137)
other editions. None found (GoodReads, Literateowl)


The Story of Edward Sawtelle
by David Wroblewski
3.57 of 5 stars 3.57 · rating details · 66,157 ratings · 11,916 reviews
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family’s traditions, but (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Ecco (first published January 1st 2008)
original titleThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle
ISBN0061374229 (ISBN13: 9780061374227)
edition languageEnglish
charactersEdgar Sawtelle, Gar Sawtelle, Trudy Sawtelle, Claude Sawtelle, John Sawtelle, Mary Sawtelle, Almondine, Essay
settingMellen (United States)
Wisconsin (United States)
Pusan , 1952 (Korea, Republic of)
literary awardsJohn Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize (2008), Sakura Medal Nominee for High School Book (2010), Indies Choice Book Award for Best Author Discovery (2009), Puddly Award for Fiction (2009), Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Nominee (2008)


Marley and Me
by John Grogan
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 · rating details · 275,637 ratings · 12,018 reviews
John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same. Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through … (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published 2005 by William Morrow; 1ST edition
original titleMarley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
ISBN0739461192 (ISBN13: 9780739461198)
edition languageEnglish
charactersJohn, Jenny, Patrick Grogan, Marley, Conor Grogan
settingUnited States
literary awardsPuddly Award for Nonfiction (2007)


Adult Fiction a Narrated by a Dog:

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 · rating details · 251,615 ratings · 25,812 reviews
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Hardcover, 321 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Harper Collins (first published January 1st 2008)
original titleThe Art of Racing in the Rain
ISBN1554681723 (ISBN13: 9781554681723)
edition languageEnglish
charactersEve, Enzo, Denny Swift, Zoë
settingSeattle, Washington (United States)


by Virginia Woolf, Trekkie Ritchie (Introduction)
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 · rating details · 1,833 ratings · 164 reviews
This story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush, enchants right from the opening pages. Although Flush has adventures of his own with bullying dogs, horrid maids, and robbers, he also provides the reader with a glimpse into Browning’s life. Introduction by Trekkie Ritchie. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Paperback, 204 pages
Published October 4th 1976 by Mariner Books (first published 1933)
original titleFlush: A Biography
ISBN0156319527 (ISBN13: 9780156319522)
edition languageEnglish
charactersRobert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, Flush, Miss Mitford
settingEngland , 1842 (United Kingdom)


Merle’s Door- free thinking dog.
by Ted Kerasote
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 · rating details · 12,354 ratings · 1,415 reviews
While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog door in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published July 2nd 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2007)
original titleMerle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
ISBN0151012709 (ISBN13: 9780151012701)
edition languageEnglish
charactersMerle, Ted Fielding


Classics not to be forgotten

James Herriot’s Dog Stories
by James Herriot, Victor G. Ambrus (Illustrations)
4.35 of 5 stars 4.35 · rating details · 4,234 ratings · 194 reviews
James Herriot is one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. The warm and joyful memoirs of his life as a country vet in Yorkshire have endeared him to countless readers around the world, and many of his most memorable tales featured man’s best friend.
Here are the complete dog stories from his much-beloved memoirs: a handsome collection of tales, available for the first time in trade paperback, that will warm the hearts of dog lovers around the world. Featuring a special introduction by the author and his own accompanying notes to each specially illustrated story, this tribute from man to dog is a volume no Herriot fan will want to be without. ((GoodReads, Literateowl)


Call of the Wild
by Jack London
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 · rating details · 12,666 ratings · 199 reviews
Of all Jack London’s fictions none has been as popular as his dog stories. In addition to The Call of the Wild, the epic tale of a Californian dog’s adventures during the Klondike gold rush, this edition includes White Fang, and five famous short stories – B tard, Moon-Face, Brown Wolf, That Spot, and To Build a Fire. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 20th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1906)
original titleThe Call of the Wild, White Fang and Other Stories
ISBN0192835149 (ISBN13: 9780192835147)
edition languageEnglish
charactersBuck, Spitz, John Thornton, White Fang, Bâtard
settingAlaska (United States)


Big Red
by Jim Kjelgaard, Carl Pfeuffer (Illustrator)
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 · rating details · 12,977 ratings · 131 reviews
From the moment Danny sees the beautiful Irish setter, he knows Red is the dog for him. Fast and smart, strong and noble, Red is the only dog Danny wants by his side. Soon, neither boy nor dog can stand to be apart. Together Danny and Red face many dangers in the harsh Wintapi wilderness that they call home. But the greatest test of their courage and friendship will come from an enemy more cunning than any they’ve known before–a bear who is the undisputed king of the wilderness, a savage killer called Old Majesty. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Yearling (first published 1945)
original titleBig Red
ISBN0553154346 (ISBN13: 9780553154344)
edition languageEnglish
seriesBig Red #1


*****And for the little ones, you have to read…
by Norman Bridwell (Illustrations)
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 · rating details · 46,823 ratings · 364 reviews
Emily Elizabeth describes the activities she enjoys with her very big red dog and how they take care of each other. (GoodReads, Literateowl)
Paperback, 32 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Cartwheel (first published 1963)
original titleAn Itchy Day
ISBN 059044297X (ISBN13: 9780590442978)
edition languageEnglish
seriesClifford the Big Red Dog
other editions (32)



Christmas in the Library

Planning our 13th Annual winter Staff Reception. A social event hosted by the Library to give admin, faculty and staff a chance to browse new resources, reading selections and select some vacation reading; in a social setting.
Alice Munro Commons

Alice Munro Commons

  • Book Displays and reading lists
  • Light Lunch
  • Draw Prizes
  • Share/browse
  • Tips and prizes
  • Signout
  • Chat
  • Relax or Read

Our PBL Book 6: John Grisham

Book 6:

John Grisham – The Painted House


Description:Using his own childhood for inspiration (and leaving the lawyers behind), bestselling author John Grisham sets A Painted House in 1950s rural Arkansas. During harvest time, together with hired Mexicans and hill people, seven-year-old Luke Chandler picks cotton on his family’s rented 80 acres. But racial tension, a forbidden love affair, and murder cause Luke to grow up before he’s ready. — Description by Dawn Towery.

Genre:Adult books for young adults; Coming-of-age stories
Tone:Homespun; Suspenseful
Writing Style:Descriptive
Lexile:780 [view chart]
Persistent link to this record (Permalink):

Library Journal:

Lucas Chandler is a seven-year-old boy who lives in an unpainted house on an Arkansas farm with his parents and grandparents in the early 1950s. He loves Coca-Cola, baseball, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and he plans on using the money he earns picking cotton to buy a shiny baseball jacket from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Soon after the hired crews of Mexicans and “hill people” arrive to help pick the Chandler family’s 80 acres of cotton, Lucas sees things that cause him to lose his innocence much earlier than he should and long for the days when he did not have to keep secrets or worry about his and his family’s safety. Legal thriller master Grisham changes direction with this lawyer-free coming-of-age novel, and the results are stunning. Featuring vivid descriptions, bits of humor, and a thrilling pace, this is a suspenseful and satisfying read. (Novelist).