Rupi Kaur Milk and Honey

Popular Ontario poet makes list of most banned books in the US

A popular Ontario poet has made the list of most banned books in the US, and she's deeply concerned by the repercussions this will have on students.

PEN America, a non-profit organization that defends the freedom to write, shared its report on the 2022-2023 book bans in the US.

"The 2022-23 school year has been marked to date by an escalation of book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States," reads the report, which was released last week.

The organization says this is due in part to broad efforts made to label certain books "harmful" and "explicit," effectively expanding the type of content "suppressed in schools."

Ontario-raised author Rupi Kaur's debut book of poems, Milk and Honey, was named one of the most banned books in the US by PEN America.

According to the report, Milk and Honey was banned 10 times in the first half of the 2022-2023 school year.Most banned books in the US

PEN America

Kaur believes the book has been banned "because it explores issues of sexual assault and violence."

"It deeply concerns me that there is a group of people hell bent on taking away literature that students find refuge in," the author shared on Instagram. "Many actually seek these books out because they're going through those experiences themselves."

Kaur recalled going to her high school library in search of books about sexual assault because she didn't have anyone else to turn to.

"This is the reality for many students. we all find comfort in literature that reflects our experiences," she wrote. "Now that books about sexual assault and other topics are being banned- i worry for students who rely on school libraries for access to literature."

These book bans have escalated alongside legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics like race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities.

"The freedom to read, learn, and think continues to be undermined for students," states PEN America.

Kaur isn't the only Canadian that made the list. Margaret Atwood is no stranger to this treatment, with her novel The Handmaid's Tale being a regular on this and other lists of banned books.

This also isn't the first time Milk and Honey has been banned in the US. Last year, the book was banned in Texas.

Lead photo by

Rupi Kaur

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