Top 10 Most Powerful Author Quotes Against Book Bans in 2023

Read on to see what our favorite quotes by authors against the rampant book banning across the US are.

Book Bans Book Culture Favorite Quotes
A "don't go" symbol in red and blue is on the left. On the right are stacks of books in black and white.

In 2023, book banning is not a new occurrence; neither is the idea of authors speaking out about it. Since before the boom of the digital age, where people discover the goings on in the news on a minute-by-minute basis, book banning has been a news-worthy topic. In fact, the first book banning took place in 1637 when Thomas Morton published his book New English Canaan, a book that shed an unfavorable spotlight on Puritan society and was banned by the Puritan government. Today, book bans are just as prevalent in many cities and states across the US. According to PEN America, in the 2022-2023 school year more than 3,000 book bans have affected more than 1500 books, with over 40 percent of these bans occurring in Florida alone.

“PEN America counted school book bans in the 2022-2023 school year, and found 3,362 book bans affecting 1,557 unique titles, with more than 40% of the bans occurring in Florida.”

THE 11 MOST BANNED BOOKS OF THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR, PEN America

It’s no surprise to anyone that many authors, some placed on banned books lists, have spoken out against these bans. We at Bookstr are here for it. For this top ten list, we take a trip back through this year of author quotes speaking out against book banning.

1. Mad Honey Co-Author, Jodi Picoult

“Twenty of My Books Were Pulled Off the Shelf… That is Not a Hoax. That is a Ban.”

In March of this year, during an interview with ABC’s Gio Benitez, Picoult spoke about what she thinks is the driving force behind book bans, which doubled in 2022, with more than 1200 challenges. While she comments about a small but vocal group of people who seem to be the ones behind the bans, this part of her quote seems to lend greater weight to how outrageous book bans have since gotten in just two years.

On the left is a quote in orange. On the right is the cover of Jodi Picoult's novel. The title is in large, red lettering in the center. At the top, one of the author's names is in white lettering. At the bottom, another author's name in white lettering. The cover is dark yellow color with purple flowers at the edges of the cover. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

2. Fairy Tale Author, Stephen King

“Find Out What They Don’t Want You to Read.”

In late January of this year, Stephen King took to his X (formerly Twitter) page to voice his stance on banned books with this rather colorful yet poignant tweet:

There's a quote on the left in blue. On the right is a cover for Stephen King's novel. The author's name is in large lettering at the top. The title is in smaller lettering at the bottom. A dog and human surround a red, fiery circle. They stand on a cobbled surface.
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3. Speak Author, Laurie Halse Anderson

“What’s Really Inappropriate are Adults Who are Unwilling to Talk to Kids About the Realities of the World.”

In late November of this year, during an interview with PEN America’s Lisa Tolin, Anderson speaks about her assault as a child and why banning books like hers isn’t helpful to children.

On the left is a quote in grey. On the right is the cover for Laurie Halse Anderson novel. The cover is a stormy gray. Barren tree limbs and branches create the illusion of a person's face and neck. The title is in lowercase yellow lettering and is placed over where the mouth would be. The author's name is in small, black lettering at the top. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

4. Nic Black and the Remarkables Author, Angie Thomas

“Create a World Where We Don’t Have a Banned Books Panel.”

In early April of this year, Angie Thomas was a guest speaker at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Thomas spoke during the “Banned Books: Defending the Right to Read” panel. The panel, held at USC’s Newman Recital Hall, discussed stakes that potentially will affect librarians, writers, and students. Thomas further spoke on the idea that as a Black woman, many may not see her and her struggles outside of her books. To conclude her thoughts, Thomas ended with this quote:

There's a quote on the left. On the right is the cover for Angie Thomas' novel. A young child stands in the center. She has a puff ponytail. An animal sits on her shoulder and licks her face. Two older people stand behind her. They stand in a torn hole held up by claws. Part of the title is in large, yellow lettering, the rest is in smaller white lettering. The author's name is at the top in yellow lettering. The cover is a pinkish purple. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
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5. We Are Not Broken Author, George M. Johnson

“We’re Reaching a Place Where There’s Certain Censorship… for Certain Artistic Expressions.”

In early March of this year, Johnson sat down with Time’s Janell Ross to talk about his memoir and the hurdles he’s faced as a queer black man. During the interview, Johnson opines about his thoughts on book bans, and who the book bans target the most.

There's a quote on the left side in black. On the right is the cover for George M. Johnson's novel. The tile is in large, white lettering near the bottom. The author's name is at the top in white lettering. Five faces sit in between the author's name and the title. Four faces of young boys and the face of an older woman. One of the boys sits in the center larger than the other pics. There's a flower wreath around his head. The images are set against a black background. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

6. Victory City Author, Salman Rushdie

“The Freedom to Publish… Is Also the Freedom to Read and… Write What You Want.”

In May of this year, Rushdie, still recovering from a vicious stabbing in August of 2022 that left him blind in one eye as he was set to give a lecture, accepted the Freedom to Publish award in a video message. During his speech, Salman Rushdie expressed his sentiments on book banning and the ability to be free to choose what to read.

On the left is a quote in black color. On the left is the cover for Salman Rushdie's novel. The author's name is in large, sandy brown lettering. The title is in large tan lettering. Underneath the title and author's name is the image of two structures set against foliage and a sandy surface. Quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

7. Into the Light Author, Mark Oshiro

“Oh, I Will Give You Something to Ban.”

In late March of this year, Oshiro discussed his latest novel, Into the Light (2023), with Subjectify Media’s Karen Rought. When asked about his feelings of uncertainty and backlash, Oshiro says of his other works getting the book ban treatment and what it means for this novel to most likely receive the same treatment:

On the left is a quote in a dark green shade. On the right is the cover for Mark Oshiro's novel. The author's name is in yellow lettering at the top of the cover. A forest-style image in the shape of a face with the silhouette of a person inside the image is in the center of the cover. The title is at the bottom in white lettering. The cover has a black background. The cover and quote are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

8. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret Author, Judy Blume

“I Know That We Can’t be Complacent.”

In June of this year, Blume delivered a rousing keynote message at the ALA Annual Conference. In her speech, she thanked librarians for standing up against banned books. She also spoke about a time when her book was removed from school bookshelves in the 70’s, that the 80’s seemed to signify a new age for books without the backlash and bans, and that the issue was laid to rest for good. Yet here we are, still enacting book bans at an alarming rate. But Blume says we can’t be complacent. Her words couldn’t be further from the truth.

A quote in pink is on the left. On the right is the cover of Judy Blume's novel in pink. The author's name is in large, dark pink lettering. The title is in speech bubbles in smaller white lettering below the author's name. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
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9. This Book is Gay Author, Juno Dawson

“I Wanted to Give LGBTQ People Hope.”

In late March of this year, Dawson posted a short yet introspective video message to her Instagram page about the audience her book was meant for and why she penned the work almost a decade ago. She explains that LGBTQ young people need sex education that will lead to healthy relationships. She also briefly touches on the book bans happening in America and the U.K., specifically Ireland, while also uplifting librarians and educators for their defense of free speech.

On the left is a quote in red. On the right is the cover of Juno Dawson's novel. The title is written in large, bold white lettering that takes up most of the cover space. Under the title is the author's name in large, white lettering. The quote and book cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

10. The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country Author, Amanda Gorman

“There’s a Huge Loophole… We Expect If a Book Isn’t Burned… Or Thrown Away, That’s Not a Ban.”

In a video interview with CBS’s Gayle King, Gorman talks about her book being moved from the elementary school level to the middle school level section in a Florida school library due to the complaint of one parent. She also speaks about loopholes and the illusion of what book banning looks like, that access to books is what needs to be preserved.

On the left is a quote in yellow lettering. On the right is the cover of Amanda Gorman's novel in a mustard yellow color. The author's name is in red lettering at the top of the cover. The title is printed in the center. Some intricate linework is drawn on the lower left corner and near the upper right corner. There are other words in smaller red lettering at the bottom of the cover. The quote and cover are set against a white, faint marble background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/VPHAN

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