30 Baby Names from Books
Choosing baby names can be tough. You have to decide if you want something traditional or original, august appellations or cute baby names, family-inspired or creative baby names – and then you probably have to get at least one other human on board with your decision. Yes, there are apps for this whole process (and we definitely recommend you check them out if you’re in a bind), but sometimes it’s best to start with something you know and love — like a favorite book. Here are 30 baby names inspired by our favorite fiction (and book-based movies) to help you get those baby name creative juices flowing.
Winfield (The Grapes of Wrath): A certifiably old-school name for a boy, this one comes straight from the heart of American lit. We’re also almost positive we’ve never met a Winfield, which means it’s likely your baby won’t have to deal with name competition or alternate spelling confusion.
Gale or Katniss: While Peeta might be pretty obviously Hunger Games inspired, Gale is actually a super sweet name for a boy. If you don’t want to hide your love for the trilogy, go ahead and opt for Katniss, which is expected to be at the top of the baby name charts this year.
Savannah (Dear John): This wasn’t the first (and it won’t be the last) Nicholas Sparks-inspired name to make the list. What can we say? The man has great taste in names. Savannah’s an extra pretty one with a sweet, Southern heritage.
Hester or Pearl (The Scarlet Letter): Here are a couple of old school names with a whole lotta power. The book’s main character, Hester, defied norms and conventions in an oppressive, conservative time, for the sake of her illegitimate daughter, Pearl. These are two great choices with an empowering backstory.
Scout or Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird): Known for being smart, steady and an advocate of truth, kindness and justice, Atticus represents morality and reason. The book’s spunky main character Scout has a unique name that manages to be classic and modern all at once. Considering the fact that Harper Lee is now meant to be releasing a sequel to the novel, you can definitely expect these names to continue their rise from the literary ashes.
Alice (Alice in Wonderland): A little bit adventurous and a little bit quirky, this character is seriously endearing. Her name is pretty wonderful too (and also shares a fictional link with a certain visionary vampire).
Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice): Elizabeth, or Lizzie, as her father tends to call her, is smart, determined and not afraid to speak her mind. We’ll forgive her pride (…or was it prejudice?) if we can add her name to our list.
Amory (This Side of Paradise): F. Scott Fitzgerald has some pretty great characters and some pretty great character names. Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby… Amory is one more to add to the list because it’s another unique boy’s name with a traditional feel.
Finn or Sawyer: So technically these are the last names of MarkTwain’s most famous characters, but they’re too darn cute to leave out. Name your babe after these rambunctious characters and hope he (or she) grows up with a similar sense of adventure.
Lisbeth (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo): She’s definitely dark, but boy is she smart. If you’re a mystery -lover, put an interesting spin on the classic name “Elizabeth” by dropping a couple vowels.
What do you think? Are any of these classic, fiction-inspired baby names going to make your list? Let us know in the comments below!
Anne Momber is a serial optimist and hopeless romantic who lives in a big red barn with her husband and a lot of books. She loves writing essays, tackling a good DIY and is always on the lookout for a great slouchy tee.
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on May 27th, 2015 at 1:27 am
Scout and Atticus, but not mention of Jem???
Some of my favorite names and the books that made me fall in love with them:
Briar (m.), from Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic books.
Moira and Irene, from Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief.
Prosper, from Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord.
Artemis (m./f.), from Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl.
Sarah, from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess.
Dexter, from Sarah Dessen’s This Lullaby.
Arwen, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Calvin, from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Bryony, from Brian Jacques’ Outcast of Redwall
Ptolemy and Nathaniel, from Jonathan Stroud’s The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
Indigo (m.), from Hilary McKay’s The Casson Family books.
Rowan (m.), from Emily Rodda’s Rowan books.
Draco, Remus, and James, from Harry Potter, of course.
Most of these are from books I read when I was younger, but they’ve really stuck with me. When I hear these names, I still think of these books!
on May 27th, 2015 at 1:49 am
Love this post!
Anne (of Green Gables)
Alice (in Wonderland)
Josephine (of Little Woman)
Ramona (of Beezus & Ramona)
and Charlotte (‘s Web)
… are all names I love because of the characters. There are other names on the list I like as well, but these characters inspired their spot on my list 🙂
Other character inspired name favorites of mine….
Laura (of Little House on the Prairie)
Betsy (Betsy-Tacy and Tib)
Flossie (& Freddie & Nan & Bert from the Bobbsey Twins)
Violet (from the Boxcar children)
Trixie/Beatrix and Honey (from Trixie Belden)
Annika (from Pippi Longstocking)
Anyone else get inspired by these names when you read about these characters?
on May 27th, 2015 at 8:14 am
Lovely list! Many of the names I love are because I associate them with a beloved book character! some of my favorite names from my favorite books:
Diana from Anne of Green Gables
Wendy from Peter Pan
Mary of Mary Poppins
Dinah from Alice in Wonderland
Edmund and Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia
Margaret from Little Women
And my ultimate guilty pleasure name of Wednesday a la Wednesday Addams (I know technically a comic but i’m counting it since she is a fictional character!)
Being part of the Harry Potter generation I of course have lots of favorites that I associate with the books including Luna, Cormac, Cedric, Minerva, Poppy, Helena.
And no list of literary inspired names would be complete without a mention of the amazing Miss Austen! Her books are a treasure trove of great names. Jane, Lydia, Elinor, Emma, Caroline, Clara, Elizabeth, Penelope, Dorothy, and Louisa are my favorite ladies from her books. There are also some really great surnames that could be used as first names: Bennet, Graham, Lucas, Harrison, Elliott, Brandon, Elton, and of course Darcy
on May 27th, 2015 at 11:11 am
Doesn’t this list seem a little UK and US-centric? Why aren’t there any books written by, for example, African or Asian authors mentioned?
on May 27th, 2015 at 11:27 am
( to lumen: It probably seems US-centric b/c it is a US website. I’m sure everyone is open to people contributing book names from any culture).
I love that you included male names Winfield, Gale, and Stuart — three of my very favorites.
Elinor is a lovely alternate spelling of Eleanor.
I would add Dinah (Alice’s cat) from Through the Looking Glass
Jamesina from the Anne books
Bathsheba, Tess, Eustacia from Thomas Hardy
Fuchsia from the wild series whose name I can’t spell
Biddy and Estella from Dickens
Marigold, Ianthe, Mildred, Belinda, Harriet, Agatha, Laurel, Jane, Prudence, Helena, Leonora, Eyre from Barbara Pym novels
Martha and Gordy from Edward Eager children’s books
Garnet, Jay, Rush, Mona, Miranda, Martin, Jasper, Titus, Gulliver, Portia, Foster, Tarrigo, Julius, Mab, Belinda, Yancey from Elizabeth Enright children’s books
Chrysanthemum from the same-named kids’ book
Meg and Laurie (male) from Little Women
Pauline, Petrova, and Posey from Ballet Shoes
Timmy from Little Golden Books
Ginnie and Geneva from the children’s series by Catherine Woolley
Nancy, Ned, Bess, Carson, Chet, Fenton, Hardy, Drew, Helen, Buck, Jean, Cora, Louise, Gertrude, Hannah, Effie from the old Nancy Drew/Dana Girls/Hardy Boys series
Nero, Wolfe, Archie, Fred, Saul, Orrie, Arnold, Fritz, Lillian, Theodore from the Nero Wolfe mysteries
on May 27th, 2015 at 4:24 pm
I love calling my Katharine Kit from time to time. Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my favorite books growing up. I’d likely have Nathaniel nn Nat on my list too if we didn’t also call my daughter Kat.
on May 27th, 2015 at 8:44 pm
Love Lisbeth, Winnie, Alice, and Josephine! I also like March to honor Little Women– as a feminine middle!
on November 4th, 2015 at 1:29 am
My baby girls names are both from literature:
Arwen-from Lord of the Rings. We always intended on calling her Winnie- (Tuck Everlasting) but my husband wanted all AJ names. We fell in love with Arwen from the Welsh feel. Ar(Nobel) Wen-(Maiden).
Her middle name is Josephine( From Little Women)
We love her name- Though it isn’t for everyone. 🙂
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