Children’s Book Names

Title Characters: Caspian, Clifford & Coraline

posted by: CaraMichelle View all posts by this author

By CaraMichelle

Literature has been a source of inspiration for many parents over the years. Thousands of babies have been named after favorite characters, authors, and literary places. This has led to many well-named, book-loving children running around. Chances are that these children will eventually read the book their name was inspired by: for those whose names were inspired by children’s books, that day will come even sooner.

There are hundreds of great characters <a href=””>names in children’s literature</a>, and many books that have been loved for generations have proper names right in the title. Here are some prime examples.

One prevalent thread in children’s literature is main characters with short, sweet, nicknames ending in the -ie sound. Examples include Elsie (from Elsie Dinsmore), Pippi (from Pippi Longstocking), Winnie (from Winnie the Pooh, of course), Harry (from the Harry Potter series), and Charlie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). These names would easily fit right in with currently popular names. Other names in this vein include Betsy (from BetsyTacy), Caddie (from Caddie Woodlawn), Julie (from Julie of the Wolves), Nancy (from Fancy Nancy and the Nancy Drew mysteries), and Lilly (Lilly‘s Purple Plastic Purse).

On the other hand, longer names are found in children’s books as well. Everyone knows of Pollyanna, Stellaluna (which was used as Stella Luna by actress Ellen Pompeo), Matilda, and Angelina Ballerina. Similar long names include Coraline (from the book of the same singular name), Esperanza (from Esperanza Rising), and Ramona (from the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary). The boys’ side brings long monikers like Alexander (from Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), Ferdinand (from The Story of Ferdinand), and Sylvester (from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble).

Children’s literature also brings a bevy of traditional names. Many classic children’s books were written long ago, so this would be expected, but more recent books utilize traditional names as well. Names for girls in this category include Alice (from Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland), Amelia (from Amelia Bedelia), Charlotte (from Charlotte‘s Web), and Madeline. These names are timeless and will always fit in. Other girl names in this category include Catherine (from Catherine, Called Birdy), Ella (from Ella Enchanted), Olivia (from the Olivia series), Rebecca (from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), and Sarah (from Sarah, Plain and Tall). These names are always sure to be pronounced and spelled properly!

Classic names on the boys’ side are all very handsome choices: Edward (from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane), George (from Curious George), James (from James and the Giant Peach), and Peter (from Peter Pan). Any boy would be lucky to receive such a strong name.

Many names from children’s lit are due for a revival. These may not be currently super popular, but they still have rich histories and are wonderful names. Examples for girls are Anne (from Anne of Green Gables), Eloise, Harriet (from Harriet the Spy), Heidi, and Martha (from George and Martha). Girls with these names would have a beautiful and solid first name, and yet would would likely be the only one in their class.

There are a similar number of boy names in this category, possibly still considered fusty and old-fashioned by some, but the right little boy could make them oh-so-handsome. Amos (from A Sick Day for Amos McGee), Hugo (from The Invention of Hugo Cabret), Ivan (from The One and Only Ivan), and Lyle (from Lyle, Lyle Crocodile) would all fit in easily with trendy names. Names in this category that are due for a dusting-off include Clifford (from Clifford the Big Red Dog), Harold (from Harold and the Purple Crayon), Richard (from the Richard Scarry books), and Stuart (from Stuart Little).

Finally, we have names that are more trendy and modern. Our parents or grandparents likely wouldn’t have used these names, but the current “anything goes” mantra of the baby-naming world right now makes them usable. These include Bentley (from Snowflake Bentley), Caspian (from Prince Caspian), and Shiloh (from the Shiloh trilogy). One can also look to last names of characters; if Tom and Huckleberry aren’t your style, Sawyer and Finn might be.



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CaraMichelle Berry Juice default profile image

About the author


CaraMichelle has loved names since she was young and has become interested in celebrity baby names in the past few years. She enjoys editing her name list, reading historical fiction and mysteries, and talking about names to anyone who will listen.
View all of CaraMichelle's articles View all Berry Juice Bloggers


5 Responses to “Children’s Book Names”

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SimoneKadele Says:

April 17th, 2015 at 12:19 am

What I don’t get is that some of these names aren’t recent- I like a lot of these names, but children’s book names is a very general category… 😐

Chloe14 Says:

April 17th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Well, I think Emily Elizabeth is a pretty nice name, however, I’m not keen on the name Emily. Although, I did grow up with the TV version of “Clifford The Big Red Dog.”

SoDallas3 Says:

April 19th, 2015 at 5:41 am

My first car was named Clifford, it was a very old Toyota Camry with red-orange
paint, that in the end I couldn’t drive because it had no power-steering. I was pretty devastated, but I did, in fact, name it after the character.

lesliemarion Says:

April 19th, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Good blog. I like the inclusion of books which have withstood the test of time.

I will add Dinah, Alice in Wonderland’s cat. 🙂

As well as names from Alcott: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and for a boy, Laurence/Laurie.

And of course there are so many Anne of Green Gables names that they get their own blog. My two children in heaven were named from Anne: Owen and Cordelia.

starophie Says:

October 24th, 2016 at 11:11 pm

i love children’s lit, and there are so many good names, but “a little princess” is one of my absolutely favorite books and there are some lovely names in there — not necessarily from main characters, though! i think sara crewe must have been one of the original name nerds, because in her musings while she lives in miss minchin’s attic she comes up with the most fanciful names for the family she calls the “large family,” aka the montmorencys, aka the carmichaels:

ethelberta beauchamp is the youngest;
next youngest is violet cholmondeley;
third (a boy!) is sydney cecil vivian;
fourth is lilian evangeline maud marion;
fifth is rosalind gladys (whose real name is nora);
third eldest is guy clarence (whom we later learn is really called donald, ha!);
second eldest is a girl sara calls veronica eustacia, but is really named janet (what a pity);
and the eldest is a boy whom sara refers to as claude harold hector.

i doubt i could ever use any of these names — certainly not as given by sara! i do like evangeline and rosalind and nora. but they’re quite fanciful and fun, and it’s fun to read of their adventures through sara’s eyes in the story.

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