Is your bookshelf an untapped gold mine of fabulous baby or pet names?
Yes, yes, it is, dear reader! Because I haven’t written about baby names in awhile (not since I went all regal and picked a bunch of my favorites inspired by “The Crown”), I thought it was high time to delve into the brightest and the best naming possibilities from the best-loved books. Some of these names appear in my 2008 baby name book “A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books,” while others have just recently struck my fancy.
Fellow book addict, here’s hoping this list will inspire you to pick a peck of pickled peppers (or just the perfect name for your baby girl (Boys’ list soon!), or female kitten, puppy or hedgehog. I hope you will enjoy all the fun little literary tidbits herein as much as I relished curating them!
From “A is for Atticus”: “Avonlea is the fictional village on Prince Edward Island where Anne of Green Gables died her hair green, broke the slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head (and he loved her thereafter), and got Diana Barry spiffed on Raspberry Cordial. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful, romantic word, and completely suitable for a first or middle name.” For more on Anneish names, check out this baby name blog.
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” And you is/are a musical, lilting baby name! Avelien, which sounds similar, is the Dutch form of Evelyn and belongs to the delightful daughter of someone I know.
From “A is for Atticus”: “Anyone who likes to think about ducks and frogs and rabbits having tea parties is bound to be enchanted by Beatrix….Prim with a saucy, winking side that makes it delightful on a little girl.”
In English, the word/name for Hope is short but sweet. Hope takes flight in this elegant, uplifting Spanish form, given to the title character of the beloved middle-grade book by Pam Munoz Ryan.
From my crazy-read blog on TFIOS:
“John Green had me at Hazel and Augustus. (Okay, so I’m a name freak.) I honestly think these honest, real-as-flesh-and-blood characters would not have popped off the page so vividly had their names been plucked off the Top Ten list with no thought, no heart. When it comes to character naming: no guts, no glory.” I adore the name Hazel, infused with grace galore via Hazel Grace!”
Check out what the name gurus at Nameberry say about Hazel, too.
The 12-year-old tribute from District 11 does have a dystopian name, but the more I say it the more I think it works for here and now, especially as a middle.
I’m rather moonstruck, if you will, over this lumen of a name. Harry Potter fans know and love her as Luna Lovegood, one of the best ever instances of character naming in the history of books. From “A is for Atticus”: “In a world of sun worshippers, this moonlit name is perfect, understated elegance.”
“Crackles with verve,” I say, just like all the zippy z names. Zora Neale Hurston was at the center of the Harlem Renaissance, along with poet Langston Hughes (who WILL make my boys’ list!)
A friend of mine has a daughter Lyra who is adopted from Russia. I just swoon every time I hear it, and then to find out it’s also the name of a constellation (Lyra the Harp)! Otherworldly AND classical!
Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker (note the intriguing and virtuous middle name ‘Comfort’) was a missionary kid from China who wrote the stunning–and Pulitzer Prize winning–”The Good Earth,” which blew me away with its emotional core and razor sharp insight into human nature. As a name, Pearl is, well, pearly. Shimmery. Perfect for those on the hunt for just one sleek syllable.
Kind of obsessed with this name right now, due to my current enthrallment with all things Hemingway. I’m also reading “The Paris Wife,” which is so rich, layered, and absorbing. It’s about Hadley, Hem’s first wife, and Ernest, and their bright but doomed love, and how she spurred him on to be one of the greatest American writers of all time. Highly recommend, both the name and the book!
Winsome Winnie is sweet and old fashioned and charming, but your girl might want something longer on her birth certificate one day: How about Winifred, Edwina, Gwendolyn (Winnie from “The Wonder Years” was a Gwendolyn)? I’ve also heard Wilhelmina as a long form, as well as Winnipeg, which is the name of my beloved hometown! And yes, Winnie the Pooh was named after his hometown, also Winnipeg!
Also (I get carried away when Winnipeg is mentioned): Who can forget Winnie Foster from “Tuck Everlasting”?
Plus four more I am thinking about in the Name Freak Section of my brain:
Xiomara (from “Jane the Virgin”)