Skip to main content

Book lovers will flip for these classic literary baby names

Book worms rejoice! There is no shortage of fun or distinguished literary baby names for your little one on the way to connect your love of the written word to your child for life. Whether naming them for an author or a book character, think about that person as a whole and make sure you’ve researched their full biography (fictional or real) before choosing them as your baby’s namesake.

The 17 literary baby names below span from whimsical to cutesy to classic and will give you plenty of ideas for your boys, girls, and gender-neutral list.

baby names
Image used with permission by copyright holder


The name is Alice is strongly associated with the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll. It’s of Old German origin meaning “noble” and has the nickname Allie or Ally. The character Alice was curious and brave, both traits worth naming a child after.


Beverly Cleary (1916-2021) was a beloved American author of children’s and young adult literature and her books sold over 91 million copies. She is best known for the character Ramona Quimby who was the star of eight books published between 1955 and 1999.


In Greek mythology, Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence. Her name means “beautifully voiced.” Despite this ancient meaning, note that you may see many in modern times associate this name with the character Callie Torres from the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.


Charles is a distinguished name meaning “free man” in Old English and Charlie is such a cute nickname. You could name a boy for th prolific author Charles Dickens (1812-1870) or even the character Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roald Dahl.


Charlotte, the feminine version of the name Charles, has been a common name for royalty but it also has literary ties. Charlotte’s Web (1952) by E.B. White is a classic and the novelist Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) wrote Jane Eyre (1847).


Christopher Robin is the boy in the Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne, who based the boy on his own son. The name Christopher means “bearer of Christ.”


This gender-neutral name is associated with Fitzwilliam Darcy, a character in Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen. Since it is the last name of the character, it’s not a “boy’s name” if you give it to a girl referencing Mr. Darcy and has “girl power” vibes for the female author. At the same time, it works for a boy just as well.


Josephine “Jo” March from Little Women (1869) by Louisa May Alcott is an outspoken character who is a writer herself. Besides Jo, other nicknames for Josephine include Jojo, Josie, and Fifi.


The name Langston means “tall man’s town” but is unmistakably associated with the poet Langston Hughes (1901-1967) of the Harlem Renaissance.


Honor the novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) with this name with nicknames like Lulu. The name Louisa means “famous warrior.”


Do you remember the classic picture book Madeline (1939) about the little girl in Paris? You could read it to your little girl growing up with this name with nicknames including Maddie.


This is the full name of Meg from Little Women, one of the March sisters. Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) are also both authors with this name. Margaret has many nicknames besides Meg, including Maggie, Daisy, Margo, Rita, and Peggy.


Maya Angelou (1928-2014) wrote autobiographies, essays, poems, and many more writings that are essential parts of American history, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). Maya has been in the Top 50 most popular baby girl names in 2020 and 2021.


Peter could refer to Peter Pan created by J. M. Barrie, Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter, or Peter Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis. This classic name comes from the Greek word for “rock” or “stone.”


Award-winning novelist Toni Morrison (1931-2019) bore a name that means “beyond praise” or “priceless one.” It was most popular from the 1950s to the 1990s.


Why not name your son for The Bard himself, William Shakespeare? Probably the most famous English-language writer of all time, Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote around 39 plays and 154 sonnets. Nicknames for William include Bill, Billy, Will, Willy, and Liam.


Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) wrote about important American struggles in masterpieces including Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). The name Zora means “sunrise.”

baby reading
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Literary baby names

Foster your baby’s love of reading before they can even hold a book through their given name. They’ll feel a special connection to a character or real-life writer forever with one of these beautiful namesakes, just make sure you feel a connection to that person enough to create that bond. A name is forever so test the name in a variety of contexts after you’ve been inspired by the literary origin.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
When should babies start wearing shoes?
How can you resist a cute pair of baby shoes, but do babies need to wear them?
Child wearing baby shoes outside

Everything about baby clothes is simply adorable. Who doesn't smile at seeing those cute little outfits? One part of a baby's wardrobe that really gets the happiness meter up is the shoes. Few things are more endearing than a pair of baby shoes. They can certainly serve to accessorize a mini fashionista or a stylin' stud muffin's ensemble. Besides being wonderfully charming, baby shoes also have an important function. Baby shoes protect little ones' precious toes while helping them on the journey to independence and mobility.

The decision of whether to buy the adorable shoes you just have to buy for baby does come with some questions. When should you buy baby shoes for your cutie? When should babies wear shoes? Should babies wear shoes when learning to walk or is bare feet better? Let's take our shoes off and find out.

Read more
Why you need baby earmuffs to protect your child from noise
No need to miss out on loud events with baby earmuffs
Baby with noise-canceling headphones

Loud noises can be annoying for most people, but for a baby, loud noises can negatively impact their hearing. Noisy environments can be more than just scary to your little one. The alarming fact is that long-term or even short periods of exposure to especially loud sounds can damage your newborn, infant, or toddler's sensitive inner ear — potentially leading to noise-induced hearing loss.

Unfortunately, severe damage to the hearing nerve is irreversible. If you suspect your young child may have some hearing loss, you will want to ask a doctor or specialist to perform tests. To help prevent hearing loss, you'll want to do everything you can to keep their ears healthy and safe, like getting a pair of baby earmuffs for your little one. Headphones for infants can actually give little ones the protective benefits of noise reduction. Want to know when to slap a pair on your peanut? Read on for all the important tips and info.

Read more
When can babies eat spinach? Don’t feed it to them too early
What you need to know about giving babies spinach
A highchair set up with a baby toy, sippy cup, and green baby food.

We all want to see our kids eat more green food, starting with the transition to solid foods as an infant. If you’re hoping your baby will be “strong to the finish,” just like Popeye by eating spinach regularly, then you may wonder when a suitable time would be to introduce that iron-rich food to your little one. This little green leaf's ability to pack on the nutrients makes it such a great food for parents to feed their tots.

But when are babies able to eat spinach safely? More importantly, how can you make spinach baby food that your child will actually eat? Let's break down the when and how to get your nugget to enjoy this mineral-rich superfood.

Read more