Hoping to raise a bookworm? Or want to honor your favorite books, characters or authors with your child’s name? You’ll find everything from classic to unique baby names for your little one on this list. There are gender-neutral baby names, girl names and boy names, all listed below in alphabetical order. Go and find your favorite literary baby names or at least some ideas for new books to read!
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The queen of detective novels, Agatha Christie was even made a Dame of the British Empire for her literary works. Call her Aggie as a nickname.
Based on a Middle Eastern folk tale, the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp has been beloved for generations.
Whether you’re a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or Alice Walker, the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the name Alice is a popular, classic name.
Meaning both noble and battle-ready, Alonso is the original name of Don Quixote in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel. Alonso is also the name of the King of Naples in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The heroine of the historical romance novel Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor, is both beautiful and ambitious. The book caused a scandal but became a best seller and is credited with popularizing the name Amber in the United States.
Word nerds love Amelia Bedelia, from the classic children’s books by Peggy Parish, but the name has other literary ties. Amelia is the heroine in William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and Amelia is the given name of Princess Mia in Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries.
Famed author Anaïs Nin is known for her journals, novels, essays and short stories as well as her beautiful name. She led a Bohemian lifestyle that she wrote about in journals, many of which have been published.
That’s Anne with an “e.” The 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery tells the tale of an 11-year-old girl sent to live with two middle-aged siblings and work on their farm.
The author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is known for his children’s novella The Little Prince. The much-loved story is about a young prince who visits various planets and makes observations about life, love and human nature.
Arabella appears as the name of female characters in several books, including Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
Aramis is the alias of Rene d’Herblay, a fictional character in The Three Musketeers and other books by Alexandre Dumas.
Game of Thrones fans already know and love the character Arya Stark, a brave and loyal hero in the book series it’s based on, A Song of Ice and Fire.
The talking lion in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia is called Aslan; the name also means lion in Turkish.
Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird popularized the name Atticus, thanks to the character Atticus Finch, a lawyer many fans consider a moral hero.
Beatrice (or Beatrix)
The name Beatrice appears in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series, among other books. Spell it Beatrix to make it more unique and to honor Beatrix Potter, who wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Samuel Beckett was an Irish writer best known for his play Waiting for Godot. The nickname Beck is where it’s at.
Lord Byron, the English romantic poet, was born George Gordon Byron and is best known for the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
Charlotte is the spider from E. B. White’s children’s book Charlotte’s Web. She befriends a pig named Wilbur and saves his life by writing messages about him in her web.
British author Neil Gaiman wrote the fantasy children’s novella Coraline in 2002. The main character is a curious, intelligent, courageous explorer, and Cora and Lina would make great nicknames.
One of the popular flower names, Daisy appears in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novella The Great Gatsby and in Henry James’s Daisy Miller.
Mr. Darcy is the male love interest from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but this unisex name works equally well as a girl name.
American author Dashiell Hammett was a mystery writer who created well-known characters Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles. Dash is a cool nickname.
The character Dean Moriarty appears in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as a carefree adventurer up for adventure.
Dorian is the name of the main character in Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The brave and kind Dorothy Gale travels around Oz with a scarecrow, tin man, cowardly lion and her dog, Toto. The movie we know and love was based on Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Author Edgar Allen Poe is known for poems such as “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” as well as the horror story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The name Edgar also appears in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
Name your girl or boy after Ralph Waldo Ellison, the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Invisible Man. Fun fact: The author was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Fans of Eloise, the spunky star of Kay Thompson’s children’s book series, know she lives on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her nanny, dog and turtle.
Emma is the name of the main character in Jane Austen’s book of the same name. She is smart, beautiful and compassionate, all traits you may want for your child.
The name Finn was popularized by Mark Twain in books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. You could also name your child Huckleberry or Huck. Twain would make a more unexpected homage.
Gabriel is a protagonist in Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd, and Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian author admired for literary works including One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Harriet the Spy is a classic children’s novel by Louise Fitzhugh, based around the adventures of an 11-year-old girl who documents her observations in a notebook she carries with her.
The name of the romantic hero from Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights comes with two excellent nicknames: Heath and Cliff.
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is known for works including Peer Gynt, A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. As a name, Henrik is a more unique form of Henry, which could be used as a nickname along with Rik.
The main character in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has long been regarded as a teen icon for his angsty rebelliousness.
Holiday “Holly” Golightly is the beloved star of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn famously played Holly in the much-loved movie version.
If you’re a fan of Greek literature and classic names, go with Homer, the presumed author of both the Odyssey and the Iliad.
Jo is a favorite character in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, thanks to her bravery and principles. She’s also a book lover and writer herself, so naming your child Josephine gives her a literary character to look up to.
Looking to raise a child who loves travel? Consider the unisex Jules, either as a given name or as a nickname for Julian or Julia. Your child will share it with Jules Verne, the French author who wrote Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Inspired by the leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, the name is of Old English origin and could have Lang as a nickname.
The star of a series of classic children’s books written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline is the smallest of her friends and also the bravest.
Writer Maxine Hong Kingston has received several awards for her contributions to Chinese American literature.
Poet, memoirist and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is best known for her autobiographical books, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Whether you want to honor Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde or the protagonist of Junot Diaz’s Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, this classic name can be spelled both Oscar and Oskar.
British writer Roald Dahl is best known for children’s books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.
Rosalind is the heroine of Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, as well as the title of a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and a play by J. M. Barrie.
Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie can give their child this unisex name.
American writer Willa Cather is known for her novels about the frontier and pioneer experience, and for her gorgeous first name. It can be a nickname for Wilhelmina or used to honor a relative named William.
This less-common variation of Sadie is the diminutive of Sarah and makes a cool name on its own. Your child would share the name with English novelist Zadie Smith, whose debut novel White Teeth became an award-winning best seller.
Author, anthropologist and filmmaker Zora Neale Hurston is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
—Taylor Clifton & Eva Ingvarson Cerise