12 Lyrical, Literary Baby/Pet Names for a Girl

Best lit baby names collageIs 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!


Best lit baby names blog Avonlea 

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.



Besr lit baby names The Help “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.


Best lit baby names beatrix

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.”


Best lit baby names EsperanzaIn 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.


TFIOS text Hazel

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.


Best lit baby names RueThe 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.


best lit baby names Luna

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.”


best lit baby names Zora “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!)


Best lit baby names Lyra

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!


Best lit baby names PearlPearl 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.


Best lit baby names Hadley The Paris wife 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!


Best lit baby names winnie

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”) 

What names have caught your Name Freak ears these days? What’s your favorite character name from a book? Do tell! There’s nothing better than a humdinger of a baby name conversation!


  1. says

    LOVE those names. Came across a first name from the Alamo website, which could go either way, boy or girl. Claiborne. Isn’t it lovely?

  2. says

    My oldest is Hadleigh! I’ve always loved the name and we decided to spell it like I spell the leigh in my name. :) At the time, we didn’t think at all about it also being Hemingway’s wife, although as an English major, I feel I should have known that! :) I also would use the name Avonlea if I had another daughter now–was just telling my girls yesterday how pretty a name that would be!


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