Children can fall in love with literature as early on as one year of age. The first time they hear a bedtime story, they are transported into an exciting world where they can imagine themselves as warriors or princesses or wizards, or just more grownup versions of themselves. Everyone wants a name that paints them as an individual, but there is still something exciting about finding a character who you relate to beyond even looks and personality. Someone who shares your name can create a kinship, even if it's a fictional character. And believe it or not, most names have at one point or another been the name of an author or a book character, after all, there are only so many names to choose from. Though many may have fallen out of vogue over the passage of time.
Books are a never ending source of inspiration, and have always been a popular outlet for naming a child. The sheer range from strange and unique, to historic, to classic makes it impossible not to stumble upon something magical. Whether it's a character who was an inspiration to us while we were children, or the author themselves, why not leave it to a professional writer to think of the ideal girl or boy name? Just be careful not to pick something too obscure (unless that is exactly what you are looking for of course)! Here are some of our favorite literary inspired names your little prince, princess, or tiny future authors.
Of course no list of literary names would be complete without Jane. As in, the great Jane Austen of course!
One of the first feminist authors of her time, and the most well known, Jane Austen was a romantic who didn’t believe in sacrificing her own independence in the name of love.
She believed the two went hand in hand. Of course, you will have to read your little girl the story of Pride and Prejudice so she can get familiar with her namesake, as well as the values that were inherent in all of Austen's writing.
Jane may not be the most unique name, but it is a classic with a long, illustrious history of its own. Other than Miss Austen herself, Jane was the name of iconic actress Jayne Mansfield, mother of Mariska Hargitay. That's right, actress Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order fame. So, if female role models are your thing, and I think they should be everyone's thing, this name is a pretty good bet. It also doesn't hurt that this is one name that your daughter shouldn't have any trouble pronouncing right off the bat. Although we do love to hear our little ones come up with their own adorable nick names.
It's never too early to be introduced to at least one of the Bronte sisters, even if it is only by name. And as Jane Eyre is possible the best Bronte book (debatable of course!), Charlotte has to be on this list.
Not only is this a name that harkens to the Brontes, it can also be a reference to Charlotte's Web, one of the most classic children's (or adult) books out there.
Romance, animals and adventure? What more could you want associated with your name (or rather your daughter's name).
Another classic name that doesn't get the kudos it deserves, we definitely think it's time to reintroduce this one back into society. This one has been around since the 14th Century and is French in origin (can you say bilingual?), so there is definite staying power in this one.
When it comes to bringing up a future bookworm, we think it makes more than perfect sense to start them off with Charlotte's Web before moving them on the works of Charlotte Bronte. Bonus points awarded to the fact that this name basically demands to be shortened to Lottie (which is adorable). Though we do love the idea of a little girl lisping around the name Charlotte.
We just couldn't help but put in another shout out to a Bronte sister. Though if you prefer, you can always pretend this is based on Emily Dickinson. Emily is such a popular name but we are pretty confident that your little girl can make it all her own. Plus, if it gets her into the poetry of Dickinson, then who is complaining really? Though if it gets her interested in Wuthering Heights instead, just let her know that not all bad boys are worth trusting (even if they are Heathcliff).
The name Emily means industrious and striving which are two qualities I think everyone hopes their children will possess.
And certainly, the late Emily Dickinson and Bronte were both industrious women who fought to make their voices heard.
We all know how important it is to little girls to be heard. Especially at snack time.
Emily Dickinson was also well known for being shy, and slow to warm. So if your little girl is more of a wallflower rather than a social butterfly, neither of you need worry. Creative types always tend to keep more to themselves. And if she is more interested in books, well, she has some pretty amazing role models to look up to.
Does this one even need an explanation? We didn’t think so. Hermione from the Harry Potter series is such a classic female heroine and role model, that we are pretty sure this name will stay in fashion for a long time to come.
The character of Hermione in the series is brave, brilliant and compassionate.
Arguably, Harry and Ron never would have been able to accomplish anything had it not been for their female friend. A fairly realistic situation we think.
The Harry Potter series has been an ideal entryway into the world of literature for young boys and girl since the first book was published in 1997. It is likely that this series will remain a staple in modern middle grade literature for many decades to come. Even if they are introduced to the character through the film series, we guarantee that your daughter will fall in love with this fabulous female heroine and the adventures that come with her.
The name Hermione is derived from the name of the Greek messenger God Hermes, and has always been a popular English name. So whether your daughter gets her start in Greek Mythology or pulp fantasy, she is in good hands with this one.
Virginia Woolf, classic female author and vocal feminist. Though, depending on how well traveled your daughter becomes, she may start questioning why she is named after a US state. Just try not to show her the play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” too early on…
Despite being widely regarded as a classic author, and one whose work is taught in most schools, Virginia is also a relatively controversial author, as many of her views were quite ahead of her time. In short, she was a complicated woman. And complicated women are usually a bit more exciting.
If your daughter does become interested in the work of Virginia Woolf, she should always be encouraged to question what she is reading, and to be loud and steadfast in her arguments. Just like the author herself.
As for the main character in the play, maybe explain to your little girl not to see the main character as too much of a role model...
This name is derived from the Latin word “Virgo” and means virgin or maiden. Particularly appropriate if your daughter is an actual Virgo! Every little girl needs an equally adorably nickname and we can’t help but love the idea of a little Ginny or Ginger running around!
This is a fun one because it can be either a little girl or boy name.
However, the inspiration behind this name is the under appreciated Charles Dickens character Sidney Carton of A Tale of Two Cities.
Sidney is a beautiful and tragic character in this novel and one who represents themes of redemption, morality and selflessness.
Though Sidney Carton is not a role model by any means, there are portions of this novel as certain character actions that are important for a young boy's growth. Learning that to love someone or something has more to do with the other person's happiness than with your own. Knowing that just because you want something doesn't mean that you deserve it. Learning what it means to earn love and admiration.
Most importantly, the lesson that your mistakes do not define you and it is what you do next that truly matters. Charles Dickens' work is simple enough that it can be read and enjoyed at any age.
Sidney is an English name meaning “South of the Water”, and if these parallels still aren’t convincing enough, just think how much fun it will be to explain to a child that their name is also a part of Australia!
From Arthur Miller to King Arthur to Arthur the Aardvark, this name has plenty of literary credit to its, er, name. Each of these figures is a classic in the field of literature for their own reasons.
Arthur the Aardvark is a classic children’s character, King Arthur an epic hero and Arthur Miller, simply a giant of American playwrights.
The best part? You can start your son off slow with the Arthur books, which are the ideal way to get a child comfortable with reading on their own. Then as time goes on, you can get a bit more complex. The plays of Arthur Miller are easy enough that you can start reading The Crucible while he is in grade school. If your son is at all interested in witches, romance or lies and deceit, then he will fall in love instantly!
The Once and Future King by TH White is a classic King Arthur story, and perfect to gift to him when he is of High School Age. An ideal gift for your little Prince.
Arthur is an Irish name, meaning stone, and was first recorded as the name of a 6th century Irish Prince. Let’s bring this one back to our century!
No, not the angel Gabriel, this one is a shout out to Gabriel Garcia Marquez of 1,000 Years of Solitude!
A Colombian novelist, short- story writer, screenwriter and journalist, Marquez is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th Century.
Unfortunately your son will not be able to enjoy Marquez until he is much, much older (and even then it might be hard to convince him). But he if he does decide to give Marquez a try, he will be introduced so some of the most passionately romantic prose in modern literature. Marquez was known for his magical realism and his lyrical writing style. His books seemed to take place in a dream of our world. So, if you have a little boy with a sensitive heart and a head in the clouds, you can bet he will eventually fall in love with the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Even if he doesn't attempt to read it until he is well into his 20s.
Gabriel is an ancient Hebrew name meaning “God is my Strength. However, whether you are Hebrew, Latin American, or both, or neither, to be named after one of the literary greats is an amazing start for all future bookworms.
After Heathcliff! Ok so Heathcliff is a complex and not necessarily good role model, but if you want to try to teach your son to love Bronte, Wuthering Heights is always a good start.
For best results, do not introduce this story to your son until he is much older and can appreciate and understand the qualities of this iconic anti-hero. Heathcliff is not someone to strive to be anything like, but he can be quite relatable to both men and women. After all, everyone knows what it is like to feel jealous and misunderstood. Maybe just explain to him that Heathcliff is an example of what never to do in any relationship you ever have.
Heath is an English name meaning “Untended Land”. Which is somewhat fitting for a young boy, isn’t it? All that potential to become whatever he wants to be! All children start off as untended land before growing into their own gorgeous and flourishing garden. And if he chooses to become more of a movie buff than a literary buff then you can always introduce him to the work of Heath Ledger. Thought perhaps that is also someone who shouldn't be regarded as a role model.
Yes, this could be a reference to the biblical Abraham however, the inspiration behind this one was none other than renowned vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing of Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
There is a reason why Abraham made it on this list and not Vlad (as in Vlad Tepes, the inspiration behind Dracula). And that reason is because no one wants to name their child after the villain of the story. Abraham is fascinating in himself. He is essentially a professor who can morph into a courageous warrior when the time comes (a la Indiana Jones), however his character is never given as much attention as the character of Dracula.
Most may not know this, but the Bram Stoker's Dracula novel is actually quite tragic. This is having to do mostly with Dracula himself who is, yes, a monster, but one who knows himself to be a monster and is filled with regret and loneliness because of his lot in life.
There have been so many iterations of this character, especially considering the many different adaptions of Dracula. From a wizened warrior from another time, to a young and dashing antihero, there are plenty of versions of this character to introduce to your young son.
A list of names for future bookworms would not be complete without a Game of Thrones reference.
If you aren’t bold enough to name your daughter Daenerys, Dani is a cute a simple name with plenty of history of its own.
Daenerys is pretty phenomenal female character in her own right. A self made queen and warrior who commands dragons and inspires warriors with her influence and bravery. She tamed a Khal (essentially a king), broke free from her controlling brother and most recently it seems like she will finally be the one to sit the iron throne. It is unfortunate that Game of Thrones is decidedly too mature for anyone under the age of 15 at least. However as soon as she is old enough to be able to understand these themes, we think your daughter would be inspired by both the novel as well as the television show. Daenerys is our generations warrior princess. And her outfits are pretty cool too.
A Hebrew name meaning “God Will Judge”, but with plenty of pop culture impact, those with a music background will remember this name from the Red Hot Chili Peppers single “Dani California”. Future bookworm or future rockstar? The choice is hers!
Who didn’t want to be Eloise at the Plaza when they were young?
Some of us still wish we were her even now and if you want your little one to be an adventurer with a hear of gold and some sweet digs, then Eloise is the perfect literary character to introduce into her life.
Eloise is a troublemaker but also an adventurer and definitely a bold little girl. Whether or not your daughter lives in the city she is going to see Eloise as someone who she wants to be best friends with. Sure, if you ever brought your child to a high end hotel, you probably wouldn't want her to get into half the trouble that Eloise gets herself into, but that is half the fun of having kids. Getting to see them make a playground out of whatever environment they are placed into can transport you back to your days of childhood adventure. Everyone wants to make sure they keep some whimsy in their lives, the Eloise books do just that.
After all, having kids can do a lot to make you feel like a kid again too.
Eloise is a German name meaning “Healthy”, and we certainly hope your little girl is just that!
Agatha Christie was, and is still, one of the most famous female mystery writers in history. In her time she wrote 66 novels and 14 short stories, many of which have found success as feature films.
Overall, Agatha Christie's stories portrayed her complex view of morality. The person who you assumed would be the villain was almost never the real villain, and the hero or heroin of the story often had a closet full of skeletons themselves.
Christie's books are simple enough for those of any age to enjoy and they are nothing if not entertaining to read. But they are also chock full of lessons for adults and children alike. Lessons such as, not assuming anything about someone's character before you know them, and to always pay extreme attention to your surroundings lest you miss a valuable clue.
If the books don't catch your daughter's interest, the films certainly will. And either way, she will be introduced to Agatha Christie's legacy, and hopefully develop an appreciation of her own.
The name Agatha means “good”, but we think that any girl who has this name is going to be much more of a puzzle. As long as she cleans up her puzzle pieces after playing with them.
Though this was the name of William Shakespeare’s most famous fairy queen, there haven’t been many non-fictional mortals who can boast of having the name themselves. Queen Titania is a courageous, clever woman who knows what she wants and stops at nothing to get it. Much like many young toddlers we have been familiar with.
Much of A Midsummer Night's Dream shows King Oberon and Queen Titania engaging in some lighthearted sparring, but there is actually quite a bit of positive characterization on the part of Queen Titania. She will not let herself be cowed by King Oberon, even when it seems that he has won their rivalry over the stolen prince. When she finds herself in a possibly humiliating situation, she still does not go down easy. These are things that we absolutely want to instill in our daughters from a young age and thankfully, this play is fairly easy to enjoy whether it is read or seen.
A comedic fairytale with themes of romance and mistaken identity it is easy to see why this is one of Shakespeare's best loved plays and if Queen Titania gets your daughter loving Shakespeare that it seems a worthwhile endeavor.
Better than PeaseBlossom anyway.
Anais Nin was an American essayist and writer of short stories known for her passionate verse and mastery of the Surrealist movement in literature. Some might say that the works of Anais Non are too inappropriate to introduce to your children. Certainly they are too inappropriate to be introduced to children of a certain age.
However Anais Nin's work was some of the most under appreciated of its time. It reflected the society which she lived and spoke to an adventurous and perceptive woman with a talent for putting her observations into a particularly poetic prose.
It seems that her books are certainly something to be introduced to your daughter once she is at the very least in High School. Best to start off with her diaries which are possibly the most tame of her work as well as the most thoughtful and intriguing.
The name Anais is Persian in origin, based off of the Goddess of fertility. It is always fascinating to see the different connotations associated with a name depending on where you come by that name.
Whether your daughter is a gentle caretaker or a passionate adventurer, this name will serve her well in life as well as future exploits.
Atticus Finch is one of the best classic male characters because he is relatable. He is a man with a job and a family and a standing in the community which he then risks in order to make the right decision. Portrayed by Gregory Peck in the movie version of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird only cemented the character’s status as a lasting literary icon.
Atticus Finch is absolutely someone who I would consider a perfect childhood role model.
He is initially portrayed in the novel as quite distant and a bit intimidating but he quickly becomes someone whom his children clearly idolize and for good reason. He does the right thing despite it being the most difficult choice he could possibly make in the situation. Why does he do it? Simply because he knows it to be the right thing. He knows the status quo to be unjust. It is not entirely clear whether he, himself has the prejudices of his time. What is clear is that as a man of the law, he believes in the fairness of the law. He also obviously wants to be someone his children can look up to which is even by itself an admirable quality.
Rhett Butler of Gone with The Wind gets a bad rap. All he ever did was treasure, love and care for Scarlet. And everyone knows that Clark Gable was one of the most dashing actors of his time.
Gone with The Wind is such a classic because its characters are deeply complex and interesting. Their motives and actions are fairly realistic because how often does anyone consistently make the right choice in a given situation? Both of the protagonists make mistakes but always with the hope of bettering their lives. Arguably Rhett is quite a bit more compassionate than Scarlett throughout the story but it is certainly not a clear cut situation from any perspective. The book itself can be a bit intimidating if only because of its considerable length (the movie too actually), however if your son ever decides to take an interest, it is certainly something to be knocked off the bucket list somewhere down the line. The acting and the beauty of the film make for a breathtaking experience as well.
The Dutch name Rhett means “advice and counsel”. A wise and compassionate literary name for your caring and kind future son. Certainly a one of a kind name!
A list that includes Anais Nin absolutely had to include Henry Miller.
Henry Miller was a world traveler, a rebel and a philosopher. Perhaps not the easiest child to bring up, but certainly one who will never be boring.
Though you may not want to introduce his books to your son until he is of age.
Henry Miller's books, like those of Anais Nin are not necessarily the best thing to introduce to very young children, however as they grow older and more mature, his books will definitely be something of a favorite to mist little boys. Apart from being classics, they also are easily relatable to any young man looking for love, success, and excitement in a world that can sometimes be difficult to understand. If anything, once he is in High School, Tropic of Capricorn might be a good place to start. Apart from his whirlwind relationship with Anais Nin, Henry Miller seemed to have fairly simple values. Those being, that a life worth living is not one spent inside.
The name Henry also means ruler, so if you are looking for a name for a little boy who is always going to be looking to get his way, this is definitely the one.
Everyone loves a tragic romantic. Ok, well maybe not the tragic part, but a world traveling poet and lover of the arts? All good qualities we want to pass on to our children. Or, you can just let Ernest Hemingway do it for you. The name Ernest means “serious and determined”, which is what we want our children to be in all of their endeavors.
Ernest Hemingway was best known for his simplistic stories which somehow reached out and defined the human condition, or more specifically, the condition of what it was like to be a man during his time.
His writing was often criticized for being too simple, however that was the beauty of it. He was able to get his point across is a heart wrenching way without becoming overly wordy.
His novels are often taught in school, however they are easily accessible at an even younger age if your son is interested. The Old Man and The Sea specifically is a good place to start. A tragic tale but one whose message of perseverance and the pursuit of a simple life is perfectly understandable to adults and children alike. Something that you could easily share with you child at bed time.
This is inspired by “The Picture of Dorian Grey” however we hope that none of the character’s vanity passes over to you little boy, but rather that they carry the opposite values. When they are eventually introduced to the book, do tell them that they aren’t supposed to identify with the main character.
Oscar Wilde's novel was actually more of a philosophical treatise than the horror novel it is often made out to be. A very early look at toxic masculinity and solipsism, both of which are things that it is probably never too early to start thinking about. Though the book may be a tad scary for early ages, this one is definitely entertaining enough to hold their attention while their young, and if it prompts a discussion on why the character of Dorian is not the best man to look up to, all the better.
The point of literary inspired names isn't exactly to give them someone to look up to, more so to get them enjoying literature in general, which can be a challenging thing in the iPhone generation. Though a Kindle or a Nook are both pretty good investments and Holiday gift for kids and adults alike.
Harper Lee only came out with two novels, and still managed to become a famous novelist of her time and ours.
If our daughters manage to make even half of that impact then we will have done our job right. And if she learns out to play an actual harp somewhere down the line? Well that’s just one more thing to be proud of.
Earlier we spoke about the iconic character of Atticus Finch. It is worthwhile to say that he wouldn't even exist if it weren't for Harper Lee who not only created Atticus but his brave and brilliant daughter Scout as well as the dreadfully misunderstood Boo Radley.
The great thing about To Kill A Mockingbird is that it can be enjoyed by people of any age. It is cerebral but also entertaining. And an excellent source of morality for young children just starting out in the world. This classic novel taught us where the true monsters lie, how to remain steadfast in the face of prejudice and why it is impossible to truly know someone until you speak to them face to face.
It is truly a blessing that Lee recently came out with a new book so long after her first.
After Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet! A strong, independent woman and a shockingly modern representation of femininity during its time.
Honestly, every young girl should know that it is always her choice to follow her heart and say yes or no when she wants to. If Pride and Prejudice can help us teach our daughters this, then we will be happy.
Unfortunately Pride and Prejudice is not the most accessible book for young girls but as she grows she will hopefully gain an appreciation for it. If not, the movie is certainly romantic enough to be an alternative to a Disney Princess film. Not that there is anything wrong with Disney Princesses, but we feel as if Pride and Prejudice takes a more realistic stance on what would actually happen if a rich man fell in love with a "common" woman. Spoiler alert, he would probably accidentally insult her and it would be up to the woman to teach him a thing or two about how to talk to women in a way that makes them want to talk to a man. Essentially, make sure your daughter knows that if a man insults her before asking her out, she should probably say no thank you, not right now.
A less celebrated Jane Austen classic and a fun tale about romance and pride. The name Emma is of German origin meaning whole or universal and is quite popular in the States.
Some famous Emmas who we love include Emma Stone, Emma Watson and Emma Thompson.
Like most Jane Austen books, this one can be quite wordy and difficult to get into at first, however it is still slightly more accessible than Pride and Prejudice and a good place to start if your daughter is interested in becoming more familiar with the author and her work.
If anything, this book will teach your daughter that it is never a good idea to mettle in the romantic affairs of others. Honestly, a lesson best leaned early on if ever. After all, we have probably all at one point or another thought that we were helping our friends by trying to set them up, only to have a lot more trouble on our hands than we had initially hoped for or expected.
Thus is the plot of Emma. Maybe a good read for when she enters into High School. Certainly her English teachers will be impressed to see her already reading Jane Austen.
Scarlett O’Hara of Gone With The Wind was always misunderstood. She may have started out spoiled but grew into a brave, independent and industrious young woman. Scarlett is the color of passion and fire and we all know how fiery little girls can be.
The character of Scarlett O’Hara is most definitely known for her passion.
She is not the most sympathetic character, but it's easy to understand why she acts the way she does. She was brought up given everything and anything she could possibly want and then suddenly found herself having to scrape and scrounge to even get by. She survived by any means necessary, even if one of those tactics was through manipulation. This was probably what most women had to do in that time period when a woman very rarely was given the opportunity to learn how to support herself.
This does not excuse what she put Rhett though, but it is hardly enough to demonize the character. There are a lot of good qualities we would want to see in our daughters. Just maybe a bit more honest and self reliant without the unnecessary love triangle. Plus, what a great fashion icon in the film version!
Last but not least, a classic Shakespeare leading lady. The name means gentle, tender and soft but the heroine is anything but. A feisty and stubborn young lady if ever there was one. Whatever qualities your child ends up possessing, you can never go wrong with the classics.
Rosalind is also such a head strong character. Her influence on the surrounding characters forces them to behave in a way that takes into account the perspectives and emotions of others. Not to say that her character is flawless. Rather she is a realistic representation of an independent young woman who has been hurt but still hopes for happiness. It is shocking how Shakespeare's work is still so incredibly relevant today. And it is always such a great way to get children reading because most of his work is so understandable despite the odd prose. There have been many representations of the story As You Like It, from which Rosalind hails. Whether your daughter comes to it through book, film or a live play she is bound to fall in love with the story and the character. Perhaps she may even enjoy acting the part. That is what is so exciting about children. There is so much potential in them!