Baby Names

40+ Literary Baby Names Inspired by Classic Books


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Babies named after classic books"
Babies named after classic books
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Novels are treasure troves of evocative names to consider for your new baby. If you’re looking for something vintage, classic literature can be a great source of inspiration. While older English-language classics tend to feature Western names, you can look to slightly newer books—that have quickly become classics—for names with origins in other parts of the globe.

It’d be impossible to list every memorable name from classic literature (War and Peace alone features hundreds of named characters), but below are a few of our favorite baby names inspired by influential authors and fictional characters. Read on for over 40+ of our favorite literary baby names perfect for your little book worm.

Our Favorite Literary Baby Names

Book-Inspired Names for Girls


Origin: Indian, Hebrew | Meaning: Limitless

Ashima, which means “limitless,” is the name of the kind, complex mother in Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake. It is also the name of an ancient Semitic goddess.


Origin: English | Meaning: Day’s Eye

While the leading lady in The Great Gatsby may be a complex character, Daisy is a sweet name that harkens back to the early 20th century.


Origin: English | Meaning: Riches, Blessed

Edith Wharton, the groundbreaking author of The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence, and other novels, was groundbreaking as a prominent female author writing candidly about the American upper class in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: God’s Promise

Jane Austen fans will be quick to recognize the name Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. As a bonus, few names lend themselves to a wider variety of nicknames if you end up feeling like your child is more of a Liz, Liza, Elle, Betty, or Beth.

classic book names
Source: Etsy | BusyPuzzle


Origin: English | Meaning: Entire, Universal

The eponymous protagonist of Emma is another charming Jane Austen favorite. It was recently brought back into the limelight with the 2020 film adaptation starring Anya Taylor-Joy.


Origin: Spanish | Meaning: Hope

The name of the heroine in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Esperanza, means “hope” in Spanish.


Origin: Spanish | Meaning: Strong

This lovely name is inspired by the beautiful Fermina in Love in the Time of Cholera by Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez.


Origin: English | Meaning: Youthful

It wouldn’t be a literary list without at least one inclusion from William Shakespeare. Juliet is a timeless choice that also lends itself to more modern nicknames like Julie or Jules.


Origin: Chinese | Meaning: Delicate

Fans of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club may recognize this name as one of the daughters in the novel. While it’s received some criticism since its publication, it remains one of the most influential books of the 20th century by an Asian-American author.


Origin: Russian | Meaning: Pure

In Anna Karenina, Katerina (nicknamed “Kitty”) was one of the leading female characters. She had a much happier fate than the protagonist, Anna. 


Origin: German | Meaning: Famous Warrior

When you think of a strong namesake for a girl, it’s hard to argue with Louisa May Alcott, who bucked stereotypes by writing Little Women at a time when women writers were generally not taken seriously. 


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Pearl

A nostalgic inclusion, many of us can remember falling in love with The Velveteen Rabbit growing up. Now, you can share that love with our own little one by gifting her author Margery Williams’s lovely old-fashioned name.


Origin: Hebrew, Spanish, Greek | Meaning: Dream

With roots in many different cultures, Maya is a nod to one of the most influential African-American women writers in history, Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and many other works.


Origin: Arabic, Slavic, African | Meaning: Dawn, Sunrise

This name, which means “dawn” or “sunrise,” pays tribute to Zora Neale Hurston, author of many novels, including Their Eyes Were Watching God, a classic of the Harlem Renaissance.

Book-Inspired Names for Boys


Origin: English | Meaning: Wealthy, Old

This elegant name is often associated with the British writer Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World and nearly 50 other books. 


Origin: Irish | Meaning: Fair, Blessed

Ensure your little one has an adventurous spirit by bestowing him with a name inspired by perhaps the most adventurous boy of all: Huckleberry Finn.


Origin: Spanish | Meaning: Flower, Blossom

Inspired by the hopeless romantic in Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, Florentino is a name that rolls off the tongue.


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Farmer, Earthworker

For a little boy whose curiosity is as big as that of the famous literary character of the same name, consider this classic moniker.

Book baby inspiration
Source: @thiswildheart


Origin: Scandinavian | Meaning: God is Gracious

Because bringing a newborn home will be like a fairytale, give him this name from one of the Brothers Grimm classics Hansel and Gretel.


Origin: Japanese | Meaning: Spring Child

Haruki, known by many as the name of the prolific Japanese author Haruki Murakami, is associated with spring. Therefore, it’s a sweet choice for a spring due date.


Origin: English | Meaning: God is Gracious

We’ve all wondered what it would be like to have a genie grant us one wish. But Jack got even more than that with his magic beans in Jack and the Beanstalk. We know welcoming a newborn will be like a wish come true.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: Supplanter

James pays tribute to many great authors, including James Baldwin, James Joyce, and Henry James. 


Origin: English | Meaning: Long Stone

Langston is a nod to the seminal writer of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes.


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Victory for the People

As the name of the narrator and protagonist of The Great Gatsby, Nicholas (or “Nick”) is a solid choice for those with a special place in their hearts for this great American novel.


Origin: Irish | Meaning: Champion Warrior

The outspoken writer Oscar Wilde—famous for The Picture of Dorian Gray and many quotable lines like, “I can resist everything except temptation”—makes a fun namesake.


Origin: Norse, English | Meaning: Olive Tree

Inspired by Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, the name Oliver has a variety of meanings, including “the olive tree.” 


Origin: Scottish | Meaning: Steward

Whether you’re more keen to the classic children’s book or the ’90s film, this story about a brave little mouse is about as heartwarming as it gets—just like the name!


Origin: German | Meaning: Resolute Protector

An almost forgotten but highly masculine name, parents and kids alike can thank Wilhelm Grimm and his brother Jacob for some of the most classic tales like Snow White, Rapunzel, and more.

Gender Neutral Literary Baby Names


Origin: English, German | Meaning: Home Strength

Amory, the protagonist in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel This Side of Paradise, is a stately choice for those looking for a name that’s not particularly common.


Origin: British | Meaning: Of Briton

Ernest Hemingway gave us no shortage of name inspiration from his many works. One of our favorites is a traditionally masculine name he uses for the female protagonist in his novel, The Sun Also Rises.


Origin: Irish | Meaning: Dark-haired

The surname of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy could just as well make a nice gender-neutral first name—and is arguably simpler than the character’s first name, Fitzwilliam. 


Origin: English | Meaning: From France

While there are many males with this name, J.D. Salinger gave the name to his famous female character, Franny Glass. It can stand on its own or be a nickname for Francis/Frances.

baby names from classic books
Source: @fulchersunfiltered


Origin: Latin, Hebrew | Meaning: God is my Strength

With roots in antiquity and Judeo-Christian tradition, Gabriel is also a nod to Gabriel García Márquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and other novels. 


Origin: English | Meaning: Harpist

One of the most popular names of the last few years, the name Harper is often associated with Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.


Origin: British | Meaning: Where Hawthorn Trees Grow

A unique title, this name is brought to our list by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of House of Seven Gables and The Scarlett Letter, among other works.


Origin: American | Meaning: God is Gracious

The heroine of Little Women may have been named Josephine, but Jo is what we really know her by and has the added benefit of being a great gender-neutral name option.


Origin: Latin | Meaning: Symbol of Victory

Also from Little Women, Laurie is everyone’s favorite boy next door. Though a nickname for the character, Theodore Laurence, Laurie is a solid name in itself.


Origin: French | Meaning: Man Power

Brought to our list by a tale that always reminds us that we’re so lucky to “live in a world where there are Octobers.” Known as Anne of Green Gables, the classic story was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


Origin: German | Meaning: Bright, Shining

Many of us can look back on our childhood with fond memories of Winnie the Pooh. We all dreamed of becoming Christopher Robin just so we could visit our favorite characters in the Hundred Acre Woods.


Origin: English | Meaning: Woodcutter

Where there’s Huckleberry Finn, there’s Tom Sawyer! Honor the great author Mark Twain by using his classic 1876 novel as baby name inspiration.


Origin: Pan-European | Meaning: Flower, Flourishing

Often used as a nickname for names like Antoinette or Anthony, Toni also pays homage to Toni Morrison, author of Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and other classics. 


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Life

Zooey, which means “life,” is the name of Franny Glass’s brother in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey.

Out of this World Astrological & Celestial-Themed Baby Names
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