Meaningful, strong characters can inspire wonderful baby names. It doesn’t matter if the parent fancies themselves a lit nerd or a book worm, these names are lovely classics, just like the stories. Those who have a handful of stories that have meant a lot growing up, can share this love with their new baby!
A good book entertains readers. A great book will stick with them for a long time. The characters speak to people in a deeply meaningful way and so they’ll want to revisit them again and again throughout their lives. These paper characters are larger than life and the words inside the book (or on your e-reader) will act as a sort of comfort food for the soul.
Classic literature remains relevant generation after generation because of the way it continues to intrigue readers, start meaningful conversations and provides valuable insight to new and exciting worlds and perspectives.
Anyone who has spent an evening voraciously devouring a great book, only to re-read it again and again or who has recommended this book to practically everyone they’ve ever met knows how deep the impact of these words are. Parents can pay tribute to their favourite stories and characters by naming their child after that special character who speaks to them.
25 Alice Liddell
Alice is a fictional character in the books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice is an wealthy seven and a half year old child growing up in the Victorian Era of London. She is smart well beyond her years, brave, and has a great sense of curiosity and adventure that drives her to learn. Her journey is a classic story enjoyed by adults and children alike all over the world for generations. It has a timeless sense of fun that makes the perfect bedtime story, and think about the fun themed nursery options for little Alice in Wonderland!
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll
Alice is a French baby name that means nobility. This classically simple name is easy to pronounce and is perfect for that curious little girl who wants to discover everything about the wonderful wonderland around her as she grows up.
24 Anne Shirley
Little girls have been fans of the feisty and fiery redhead Anne Shirley since the first moment they learned about the beauty of Green Gables. Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in the early 1900’s, Anne is a relatable, outspoken, child who is a loyal friend that anyone would be happy to claim as their BFF. She is clever, strong, and never afraid to speak her mind. Anne is a simple, classic name that will easily take your little girl from childhood into a strong adult, just like the fictional Anne Shirley.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Anne is a Hebrew baby girl name meaning Grace.
Fans of the Tolkien world can pay tribute to the beautiful half-Elven daughter of Elrond and Celebrian who lived during the Third Age in Tolkien folklore. Her name means noble maiden and she is among the last generation of High elves in Middle Earth. Arwen is a fairly minor character in The Lord of the Rings, but has a greater purpose. She is a deep motivation for her love Aragorn, who must become King of both Arnor and Gondor before her father would permit their marriage.
Parents aren’t the only ones who want to honor J.R. Tolkien and his works. The International Astronomical Union have named all of the small hills on one of Saturn’s moon Titan after notable characters from Tolkien’s stories. A hilly area on Saturn was named the “Arwen Colles” in 2012.
Parents can name their most beautiful little elf after Tolkien’s mythical beauty.
22 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch is a fictional character portrayed in the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus Finch is the father and support system for his children Scout and Jem (Jeremy). His character’s willingness to support both social outcasts and victims of prejudice has been seen as a noble inspiration and a wonderful name choice for parents. Harper Lee based Atticus after her own father who was also a civil rights lawyer and also represented black defendants in a high publicity criminal trial.
Book Magazine voted him as the 7th best fictional character in 20th century literature. Atticus appeared on the US top 1000 names in 2004, and within a decade jumped to 370 in terms of popularity. With the recent death of Harper Lee, and the release of the companion book Go Tell a Watchman there has been some controversy surrounding the name Atticus as this newly released book paints the hero, once portrayed on film by Gregory Peck, as a racist.
21 Charlie Bucket
Parents with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for the magical world created by Roald Dahl may want to name their child after the young, kindhearted Charlie Bucket, who comes from a loving and thoughtful, but very poor family. Charlie is featured in the classic story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its sequel Charlie and the Glass Elevator. Dahl intended to write a third book, making the series a trilogy, but never finished it. Charlie is a great, classic name that can be easily used for either a baby boy or girl. Charlie Bucket cares deeply for his family, and his selfless nature is emphasized throughout the series as an inspiration for close knit families everywhere.
“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.” ― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
20 Charlotte A. Cavatica
Charlotte is the spider, and often a hero, in E.B. White’s children’s novel Charlotte’s Web. When Charlotte befriends the runt piglet named Wilbur, she devises a plan to help prevent him from the typical barnyard fate of slaughter. After Charlotte weaves messages praising the little pig, all of the humans believe that it is “Divine” intervention and the piglet soon becomes a local celebrity. This classic story of friendship is still very relevant to kids today. Charlotte is smart, kind, loyal, and maternal in a truly beautiful way that is inspiring for kids and adults alike. Who wouldn’t want to name their child after this fantastically kind spider?
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte is the female form of the male name Charles. The name, French in origin, means free man or petite.
Elizabeth Bennett isn’t the only one who falls in love with Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. As a central character in the novel he is the aloof romantic hero that we see mirrored in some of the best romantic stories everywhere, boy meets girl, boy acts like a jerk, boy slowly realizes he’s in love with the girl, he screws it up again, and eventually figures it out. Darcy is a fantastic, Jane Austen inspired name for baby boys or girls.
“The power of doing any thing with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. – Mr. Darcy” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Darcy is derived from an English surname which was introduced to Britain during the Norman Conquest and is an adaptation of the French place Arcy. The Celtic baby version of the name Darcy means dark.
18 Drew, Nancy
Nancy Drew is a smart girl detective who has reached young readers everywhere, and has been reinvented and updated over the years. Nancy was created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer and has been ghostwritten since 1930 under the name Carolyn Keene. Girl detective Nancy inspired TV fan favorites like Veronica Mars. The series has sold over 80 million copies of the books, and they have been translated into over 45 different languages. As a cultural icon, women everywhere have noted Nancy Drew as a formative childhood hero. Many prominent and successful women including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor have noted The Nancy Drew stories as being a positive and noteworthy influence on their lives.
“Read, read, read. That’s all I can say”— Carolyn Keene, The Secret of the Old Clock
Emma is witty, smart, fun, and just a little bit spoiled, but lovable just the same. The perfect baby name for the child that you want to shower with love and adoration, knowing that even though they’ve gotten their heart’s desires their good will shine through. Emma is the title character and protagonist in a Jane Austen novel. Writers of the 1990’s cult film hit Clueless decided to pay their respects to the classic novel by naming many of its characters and their lessons of growth after those we first meet in Jane Austen’s world. Emma is a wonderful friend who makes the happiness of those she cares about a high priority.
“I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him.” ― Jane Austen, Emma
Emma is a baby girl name derived from the German word “erman” which means universal or whole.
16 Finn (Huck Finn) or Sawyer (Tom)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel by Mark Twain and is considered to be one of the best reads out there. Huckleberry Finn is a boy who is in his early teens being brought up by his alcoholic father and is forced to survive on his wits. Huck is both thoughtful and intelligent despite having a lack of formal education.
The name Finn is an Irish origin baby boy name that means Fair. Finn MacCool was a mythical warrior and hunter from Irish mythology.
Other notable people with the name Finn include: Nobel Prize Winner Finn E. Kydland, and soccer players Finn Dossing, Finn Seeman, and Finn Willy Sorensen.
Celebrities who have named their child Finn include: Jane Leeves, Tori Spelling, and Dean McDermott
His best friend Tom Sawyer is the leader in the adventures of all the boys in the town and known as “the best fighter and the smartest kid in town. Sawyer is an excellent preppy American baby name for a boy that means cuts timber.
15 Holly Golightly
Holly Golightly is the main character in Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Holly is a country girl who became a New York City Society party girl who meets narrator Paul/Fred in the autumn of 1943. Fred becomes fascinated by Holly’s lifestyle, as a young woman who lives by socializing with very wealthy men in hope of eventually marrying one. Holly is outspoken, and complicated and slowly reveals her true self to Fred over the course of a year, in this classic novel that gained popularity thanks to Katherine Hepburn’s brilliantly charming portrayal of Golightly. This is the perfect name for that bright spark firecracker of a child with a sparkling personality.
“Would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse. A girl doesn’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.” ― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
14 Holden Caulfield
Holden Caulfield is the teenage protagonist and narrator of the 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Holden is iconic for teen angst and rebellion, being both naïve and immature and highly hateful towards adults and people he deems to be “phony”. He embodies the contradiction of a late teenager, tall and adult looking, but still very much a little boy, and reader’s feelings about the character are often divided. The novel is a blunt and honest retelling of Caulfield’s experiences in New York City during Christmas break after he has been expelled from a prep school. The character Holden Caulfield is regularly considered one of the most significant characters in 20th century American Literature. This is the perfect name for a complex, brooding child.
“Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them-especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Holden is an English baby name meaning from the hollow in the valley or hol-eage meaning hollow eyed.
13 James Bond
Is there a cooler person ever imagined than 007 himself? James Bond, nowadays better known for the movies, is the fictional lead in a number of short stories and novels by Journalist and Author Ian Fleming in 1953. Fleming wrote a total of 12 novels and a collection of short stories about the suit wearing charmer and British secret service agent that were published annually, two released following his death.
Many boys dream of action, adventure and intrigue, why not celebrate by naming your son or daughter after one of the greats?
“History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.” ― Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
James is a late Latin name and an evolution of the name Iacobus and derived from the Hebrew name Jacob meaning one who follows. James is the most popular name among past United States Presidents, with six former presidents having been named James.
12 Jo March
Jo (Josephine) is the teenage, tomboy, spirited, and quick-tempered second eldest daughter in the classic book Little Women by Louise May Alcott. Jo is angered that she has been left on the sidelines in a domestic role, rather than able to fight in the Civil War beside her father. Jo is a writer who hates the idea of romance because she wants nothing, particularly marriage, to separate her from her family and sisters whom she adores. The book can be read as a romance or a quest of self-discovery and growth, as all of the characters grow throughout. The book addresses many of the times struggles with gender roles and with the character of Jo as a “fan favorite” of many readers, so much so that Alcott was asked to write a sequel entitled Good Wives in which Jo finds romance in unexpected places. Jo Marsh is an admirable inspiration, this short name stands on its’ own, not needing a nickname and is certain to please classic book lovers.
“I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.” Louise May Alcott, Little Women
11 Katniss Everdeen
Planning for a revolutionary child, one who is capable of greatness. Consider naming your daughter after fictional revolution leader, and The Hunger Games protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. The name, made popular from Suzanne Collins highly acclaimed young adult trilogy comes from both the edible plant Katniss (Sagittaria) and Sagittarius, the Archer whose name means he that throws arrows. In the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss shows great bravery when she volunteers to replace her sister after she is chosen to compete in an annual televised fight to the death. The young hero uses her knowledge of hunting, archery and a few underdog allies to survive. During the next two novels in the trilogy Katniss’s role evolves into the Mockingjay symbol of rebellion against the capital.
Consider naming your leading lady after Katniss, the girl on fire.
“You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really. I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena, trying to think my way out.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
Matilda is a remarkable little girl, trying to make the best of a bad situation, and a completely terrible family. The book, by Roald Dahl was published in 1988 and quickly became a favorite of young readers everywhere. Matilda is smart, studious, and magical, and begins to seek revenge on her terrible, awful, no good parents and other terrible adults in the name of fairness. In a 2012 survey published by the School Library Journal, the novel Matilda was ranked number 30 of people’s favorite children’s novels.
Matilda is the ultimate name for the magical child girl with smart, savvy and stick-to-itiveness grit. She is fun, funny and kind.
“Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…” ― Roald Dahl, Matilda
9 Noah Calhoun
Ryan Gosling made women everywhere swoon in his portrayal of Noah Calhoun in the movie adaptation of the book The Notebook. Noah is strong, stubborn, and will do anything to earn the trust and heart of his true love Allie Hamilton. Noah is a classic boy’s name that defies time, just like a great romance.
“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Noah is a Hebrew boy’s name that means comfort; long-lived repose. In the Bible, it was Noah who built the ark that allowed his family and every known species of animal to survive the flood.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a modern young adult novel written in two perspectives Nick (whose voice is authored by David Levithan) and Norah (whose voice is authored by Rachel Cohn). This lovely modern story of romance and friendship was adapted into a movie in 2008 starring Kat Dennings and Michael Cera. The natural chemistry and adventure follows after Nick sees his ex-girlfriend and asks Norah if she’ll indulge him by pretending to be his girlfriend for five minutes. Norah has a quick, dry sense of humor, which she uses to hide her insecurities as she tries to decide what life after high school should be. At the end of the story we’re left with a couple of people, who still don’t know quite where they’re (or their relationship) is going, but they’re going to try to hack it out.
This name is perfect for the child who is about thoughtfully mastering their journey on their way to the destination.
“Tikkun olam.Exactly. Basically, it says that the world has been broken into pieces. All this chaos, all this discord. And our job – everyone’s job – is to try to put the pieces back together. To make things whole again.” ― Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Norah is a girl’s name of English origin and comes from the names Eleanora and Honora. The name means honor.
Make a lovable child a part of your family for naming them after the title character in Charles Dicken’s novel Oliver Twist (also called The Parish Boy’s Progress). The protagonist, a young orphan, escapes his life where he’s been sold into work as an undertaker, to the streets of London where he meets the Artful Dodger and joins a gang of juvenile delinquents under an older criminal leader named Fagan. This progressive, social novel addresses issues of class and child labor, and the seedy underbelly of the time.
“Some people are nobody’s enemies but their own” Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Oliver originates from an old Norse name such as OLAF, and the spelling of the name by a Latin association with olive, meaning olive tree.
The name Oliver has become increasingly popular in the United States in the last decade and continues to climb the charts!
6 Pippi Longstocking
Pippi Longstocking is a magical little girl who leads an unbelievably charmed life. She is independent and lives by herself in a brightly colored house in the forest. Her companion is her pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Who wouldn’t want to name their child after this enchanted little girl? Pippi Longstocking is a character born out of a parent’s love, created when author Astrid Lindgren’s daughter Karin asked her to tell her the story of “Pippi Longstocking”, and like many parents, she created a character just for her child.
Pippi embraces her individuality and is proud of being different. She is giving, and on her own birthday shares presents with her friends.
“’He’s the strongest man in the world.’ ‘Man, yes,’ said Pippi, ‘but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that.’” Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
5 Ramona Quimby
Ramona Quimby is the protagonist in a series of eight books by Beverly Cleary that saw the first book published in 1955, with the most recent in 1999. Ramona is a delightfully strong-willed little girl with spunk and a creative flair for life. One of the most meaningful parts of the series is readers growing up alongside Ramona, and seeing how she matures and changes throughout the series. Ramona is a companion that any parent or friend would want to hold onto for life!
“All her life she had wanted to squeeze the toothpaste really squeeze it, not just one little squirt…The paste coiled and swirled and mounded in the washbasin. Ramona decorated the mound with toothpaste roses as if it was a toothpaste birthday cake” ― Beverly Cleary, Ramona and Her Mother
4 Sherlock Holmes
This fictional, famous private detective invented in the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a complex fellow. He is a true genius of deductive logic and reasoning, who tries to use his mind for good, bound within the struggles of a drug addicted prisoner. While not the first detective examined in fiction, Sherlock is definitely the most famous. The Guinness World Records lists him as the most portrayed film character in history. Although most of the stories surrounding Holmes are narrated by his trusty friend Dr. Watson, who is generally accompanying him on his investigations.
Sherlock is a great name for an inquisitive little boy who seeks the truth.
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
3 Trillian Astra
Space fans who have a sense of humor that’s “out of this world” will appreciate this intergalactic inspired little girl’s name. Trillian Astra, is a character from the Douglas Adams’ series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hitchhikers started out as a comedic radio play on the BBC in 1978 and then later expanded because of fan demand into a TV series, novels, and a feature film.
The character adopted the name “Trillian”, after leaving earth because she felt it sounded more “space-like. She is a human astrophysicist and Mathematician. Plot spoiler alert: Trillian is a hero and is responsible for saving the entire universe from the Krikketers, and later in the trilogy becomes a Radio reporter.
Trillian is described by main character Arthur Dent as, “Beautiful, charming, devastatingly intelligent”. Trillian (whose earth name is Tricia) is a voice of reason, and the girl next door. This unusual name certainly has “star” qualities.
2 Wendy Moira Angela Darling
Wendy Darling is the female protagonist of the book Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie, who is described as just the size of Peter Pan, the famous boy who refuses to grow up in Neverland. At about 12 or 13 years old Wendy has hit a crossroads in terms of her choices to become an adult, and leave the nursery. This beautiful story addresses the concerns in coming to terms with growing up, and acknowledging your inner child when you are an adult. Wendy embraces adventure, including her eventual choice to return to home and grow up.
The name Wendy first appeared in J.M. Barrie’s story about the young girl, so the name is truly a tribute to the story. It was created from a nickname “fwendy”, meaning friend that was given to Barrie by a child. Some people use Wendy as a short-form of the name Gwendolyn.
1 Winnie the Pooh
Oh the wonderful heart-warming adventures that have taken place in the Hundred Acre woods with Christopher Robin and all of his friends, particularly that loveable, huggable, honey loving bear, Winnie the Pooh. Created from the mind, and heart, of English Author A.A. Milne in 1926, the stories of Winnie the Pooh have been read in nurseries around the world for almost a century. The books have been translated into many languages, including Latin, in fact Winnie ille Pu is the only Latin book in history to ever have been featured on The New York Times Bestseller list.
Winnie the Pooh is sweet, gentle, kindhearted and naïve.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne
Winnie is a Welsh name, traditionally for a girl, meaning fair one, and fair or pure. The inspiration from Winnie the Pooh was a black bear at the London Zoo, named for Winnipeg.