Top baby names from classic books that you'll absolutely love

Published on: 30 August 2019 Author: Sophie Offord

Want inspiration on unusual baby names? Check out these literary characters from popular children’s books: we think you’ll love some of the boy and girl names for your child.

Want to get ahead of the curve and pick a brilliant name for your baby? Preferably one where, later on, there aren’t ten other children in their class with the same one? 

We’ve poured over classic children’s books and think this list has it all: unusual names, classic names, names that have gone out of fashion but are overdue a revival…

What’s even cuter is that friends and family will have a ready-made gift to give to the newborn baby – their very first book, with a character that shares the name!

Disclaimer: of course, ALL names are beautiful and especially YOURS.

Girl names

From left to right: Harriet the Spy, Arrietty from The Borrowers and Pippi Longstocking

  • Ada: it's already on the rise because of Peaky Blinders, but we think this name should climb the ranks further – and not just because Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts is one of our favourite picture books! More on the book 
  • Arrietty from The Borrowers by Mary Norton is a curious girl, full of adventure and daydreams. Go for it, it’s gorgeous! More on the book
  • Arwen from The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien is a beautiful elf queen: a pretty, ethereal name for those who want something a bit different.
  • Coraline: Neil Gaiman’s character is a curious explorer who leaves a mighty impression (just like the name) in this classic modern fairy-tale. More on the book
  • Fern from Charlotte's Web by E B White: the kind and caring girl who is friend to Wilbur and Charlotte. Also, a good choice for all green-fingered parents… More on the book
  • Fleur from J K Rowling’s Harry Potter: a beautiful witch whose name means ‘flower’ in French. What could be lovelier? More on the book
  • Ginny from Harry Potter: a gifted witch who is Harry’s main love interest. We really rate this name, which has fallen out of fashion but was once more popular than Jenny. More on the book
  • Harmony from The Queen's Nose by Dick King-Smith: lover of animals and finder of a magic 50-pence coin. Into your music? This could be the one for you! More on the book
  • Harriet from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. She’s ambitious, enthusiastic and, of course, nosey! We think this name sounds both tough and sophisticated. Double thumbs-up. 
  • Hermione from Harry Potter, the bookish girl who ends up one of Gryffindor's bravest. We’re surprised this one hasn’t climbed up the ranks already! More on the book
  • Hilda from the Luke Pearson graphic novels is full of daring and magic. It’s seldom used now, which is even more reason to dust it off and bestow it on your little one. More on the book
  • Jemima is a strong and chic name, meaning ‘dove’ – so it carries a peaceful vibe, too! We first came across it in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter.
  • Luna in Harry Potter is dreamy and eccentric. Not only that, but her name comes from the Latin for ‘moon’, which grants it lots of extra bohemian points. More on the book
  • Lyra: the tomboyish, determined and obscenely clever hero from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. This name is gaining in popularity but is still a bit of an outside choice. More on the book
  • Mildred from The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy: OK, she struggles a bit with a broomstick, but everyone roots for her! The name has a vintage ‘geek chic’ vibe. More on the book
  • Phyllis from The Railway Children by E Nesbit is the baby of the family. We think any baby with this name would be ahead of the curve, as its popularity hails from an era that’s back in fashion right now with baby-naming. More on the book
  • Pippi from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren: who doesn’t love Pippi? Playful, fun and superhumanly strong! This name has oodles of cuteness. More on the book
  • Posy is the amazing dancer from Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. The name means ‘a bunch of flowers’ and sounds very sweet and delicate. More on the book
  • Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: clever and caring, with a strong sense of right and wrong. We’ve seen Atticus rise up the ranks – will this one, too?
  • Wendy was made up by J M Barrie in 1904 for his book Peter Pan. These days, the name has a retro 50s/60s feel, and we think it’s due a comeback. More on the book
  • Winnie: a fond reminder of one of children’s books’ most lovable characters: the Winnie-the-Pooh bear created by A A Milne. It also means ‘gentle friend’, which surely tugs on the heartstrings? More on the book

Boy names

From left to right: Elmer the elephant, Julian from The Famous Five and Laurie from Little Women

  • Artemis from Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer: the likeable and mischievous hero from the fantastic adventure series. Could this name be the new Atticus? More on the book
  • August ('Auggie'): the ten-year-old from R J Palacio’s Wonder is a smart, funny, Star Wars-loving boy. It sounds very cool but not too try-hard. More on the book
  • Barney from Stig of the Dump by Clive King: a gentle boy who forges an unlikely friendship in this lovely, classic story. Banish all thoughts of the purple dinosaur as this name is a definite keeper. More on the book
  • Bernard from Not Now, Bernard by David McKee, the classic picture book that’s stood the test of time. Come on, this name is great! We don’t know why it ever fell out of favour. More on the book 
  • Cyril from Five Children and It by E Nesbitt is one of five siblings to discover a sand-fairy. The name has long been associated with saints, intellects and aristocrats. Can we give it a modern-day reboot?
  • Edwin from Edwin Speaks Up by April Stevens is a brilliant picture book about a baby who thinks he has all the answers! And, look, it means ‘wealthy friend’, so if you want to give that a try… 
  • Elmer, everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant from the much-loved books by David McKee. OK, this is leftfield – but it was once a top-100 name and could be again. More on the book
  • Ferdinand from The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf is a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight. This name has links with Shakespeare and a unique European feel.
  • Hogarth is the boy in The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes: a book that’s a big favourite of many. We’re surprised this name never caught on – until now?
  • Horton from Horton Hears a Who! By Dr Seuss, a caring and protective elephant who believes that ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small’. This one is a trend waiting to happen… More on the book
  • Joe: the name crops up in Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood and we think it deserves to be more popular than it is. A great, solid name! More on the book
  • Julian from The Famous Five by Enid Blyton is the oldest of the adventurers. Surely this one is a rising star? What a handsome name. More on the book
  • Laurie is the wealthy, swoon-worthy love interest from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. A Goldilocks “just right” name: interesting and sweet and not too outlandish! More on the book
  • Neville from Harry Potter by J K Rowling goes from fool to hero over the course of the books and ends up one of the most-loved characters. This name is French and dashing. More on the book
  • Norman is a cute name that’s popping up in some of our favourite kid’s books right now, from Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival and The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen. 
  • Percy from Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan: this boy with powers is at the heart of an ultra-exciting fantasy series. The name itself is exceedingly lovable. More on the book
  • Pod: Yes, this name from The Borrowers by Mary Norton is a little bit radical but, hey, it could be the new Bear or Bean! Are you brave enough to go for it? More on the book
  • Sebastian from Belle and Sebastian by Cécile Aubry, a classic in France from the 1960s about a boy’s beautiful friendship with his dog. It’s a classy name that never seems to date. More on the book
  • Stanley: overdue a resurgence, the name crops up in both Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown and the popular Holes by Louis Sachar. 
  • Wilbur is, of course, the inspirational pig in the beloved Charlotte’s Web by E B White. It’s an unusual name that also sounds very current. More on the book
What names have we missed? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @BookTrust with your own baby name suggestions.

Check out these inspiring baby books to gift to new parents

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