Earlier today we discussed Jenny Grace's question about the name Eloise. At the beginning of that question she writes "I have been VERY MUCH enjoying the discussion of various names that originate in children's literature, such as Heidi, Wendy, Alice, Dorothy, the names from The Children's Hour, the names of the Little Women, stuff like that. And...um...some boys' names too I suppose (not really, I'm not good at naming boys)," and at the end of that question she writes: "I also want to know what you're favorite literature-based names are, if you have any." I thought we should have that as its own separate discussion.
Let's see...my own favorite names from children's literature seem to be mostly girl names. Josephine for sure, from Little Women, and Margaret/Meg from there too. Genevieve from the Madeline books: even though Genevieve is the dog, it was when I was reading those books (as an adult, reading them to a child) that I thought, "...Hey, the name Genevieve is pretty awesome." Anastasia from the Lois Lowry series. Margaret/Meg and Charles from A Wrinkle in Time---with conflicting feelings about preferring the nickname Charlie, which would be incompatible with naming a baby in honor of the book. Fern from Charlotte's Web. Frances from the Russell and Lillian Hoban books. Phronsie (short for Sophronia) from The Five Little Peppers. Phoebe from The Children Who Stayed Alone. And it was Kevin Henkes who, during one of my pregnancies, caused me to give serious consideration to the name Chrysanthemum.
But it is a little hard to say which of those names I love because of the books, and which names I love because they were/are in style and REMINDED me of the books. I didn't like the name Genevieve when I was reading the books as a child, after all, but only later on. And I like Charles/Charlie, but not the middle name Wallace unless I'm actively reading the book at that moment. And I probably liked Margaret mostly/only for the nickname Meg, and Megan was near the top ten when I was the age to read those books.
I think it's often that the name starts coming into style---and then, when people are considering the name, the childhood book connection seals the deal. The name Charlotte came into style and, as it did, people remembered the pleasing connection to the book Charlotte's Web---but without also turning to names like Fern and Wilbur, because those two names were NOT coming into style. Same with Genevieve: I was reminded of the name by seeing it in a Madeline book, but the name was already on its way up at that point.
Other names, though, I loved for the first time BECAUSE OF the book: the name Anastasia was not at all in style (or even on my radar) when I was a child, but it rocketed up my favorites list as I was reading the books, dethroning previous queens Megan and Stephanie.
Discuss: What are YOUR favorite names from children's literature? And are any of them BOY names, because Jenny Grace and I seem to be heavily covering the girl names.
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