If your nose is always in a book, your favorite place is your local library, or you can’t wait to see what upgrades the next Kindle will have, this baby-naming guide might appeal to you. Maybe this blog post will spark your imagination and get you thinking about some of your most cherished storytellers. Read on for some examples of the ways you can honor literary characters or authors, but a name will have the most meaning if you choose your favorites.
Naming your baby for a book character
From Anne of Green Gables to The Color Purple to Harry Potter, people through the years have adored beloved characters from their favorite books. Maybe you admire from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Or perhaps your tastes run toward a more contemporary character, such as Astrid Teo from Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians or T’Challa from the Black Panther film and comics, most recently written by Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. The following are naming suggestions from some of the most well known characters in much loved books, but feel free to pick your own favorite character:
- Hermione: pronounced “her my own knee,” Hermione Jean Granger is one of the heroes of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Known for her intelligence, quick thinking under pressure, and strong need for social justice, Hermione is the perfect name for any little girl from a Potter-loving family. The pronunciation might present problems for some folks, but the nickname Oni (own knee) is short and sweet. And the Harry Potter books are filled with other great names; other favorites are Seamus, Lavender, and Cedric.
- Sam: if you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, you might want to name a baby for a character, but the names can be a little bit out there. Legolas and Aragorn will likely be the only ones in their class or school, but Sam is the perfect compromise. A shortening of Samwise Gamgee, the hobbit who selflessly accompanied Frodo Baggins on his quest to destroy the ring, the name is symbolic of loyalty and bravery, not to mention your love of epic fantasy fiction, without being too weird.
- Eleanor: now a super-popular girls’ name, this one harkens back to the eldest Dashwood sister in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The character is steadfast, modest, and feels things deeply, and the name is classic without being dated. It comes with other spelling options—the most common of which is Elinor—and plenty of great nickname options, including Ellie and Nora.
Naming your baby for an author
Maybe the same person writes all your favorite books, and it’s not the characters that inspire you, but the author. There are so many talented writers in all the genres—poetry, fiction, and non-fiction—that once you decide to honor a special author, it might be hard to pick just one. (Don’t worry there’s always the middle name!) What follows are just suggestions, but of course your favorite writer may not be on this list and it’s a great idea to pick their name, too:
- Ezra: one of the most beautiful children’s books ever is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, who wrote at least 20 other books for young readers. Naming your baby boy Ezra is a great choice if you want to honor his creativity and storytelling, while also choosing a name that feels classic, but not stuffy. Ezra has the added benefit of being easy to pronounce, but isn’t especially popular, meaning your little boy will likely be the only one in his class by that name.
- Zora: this beautiful, rare name honors Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God and Barracoon, as well as more than 50 other books, short stories, essays, and plays. Zora sounds a little bit like Sarah or another popular name ending with an “ah” sound, but the name will be rare, a benefit for parents who want something unique for their baby girl.
- Langston: poet Langston Hughes, one of the most well known voices of the Harlem Renaissance, is famous for social activism, as well as beautiful writing. Langston is another easy to pronounce name, but one that will likely not be common and help make your baby boy’s name memorable.