Written by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry
Last week we found some great names for girls inside beloved children’s books, and now it’s the boys’ turn. But to avoid the risk of their commandeering the list, we’re ignoring all the "Harry Potter," "Twilight," "Hobbit" and "Narnia" boys in favor of heroes and supporting players from a variety of sources -- picture books to classic tales to YA novels. As always, it’s tough to pick a dozen best from all the endless possibilities, but here’s our list of top 13 storybook boys’ names.
In the bestselling fantasy series "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Fowl-cover-Eoin-Colfer/dp/1423124529/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1366914925&sr=8-2&keywords=artemis+fowl" target="_blank">Artemis Fowl</a>" by Eoin Colfer, Artemis is a child prodigy/ criminal mastermind—whose moral character, thankfully, gradually improves. So although in Greek mythology <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Artemis" target="_blank">Artemis</a> was a goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, this series of books has affirmed it as an attractive unisex possibility.
"<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Hats-Bartholomew-Cubbins-Classic-Seuss/dp/039484484X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366914964&sr=1-1&keywords=bartholomew+cubbins" target="_blank">Bartholomew Cubbins</a>" is the feudal era hero of two of the few Dr. Seuss books written in prose rather than rhyme. The upstanding name of one of the twelve apostles in the Bible, widely used in literature by Dickens and others, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Bartholomew" target="_blank">Bartholomew’s</a> one problem is the Simpson-ish nickname Bart -- but you could go for the jolly old pet form Tolly instead.
In the 1979 German fantasy novel "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Neverending-Story-Michael-Ende/dp/0525457585/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915005&sr=1-1&keywords=the+neverending+story" target="_blank">The Neverending Story</a>," the hero <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Bastian" target="_blank">Bastian</a> Balthazar Bux is a shy 12-year-old. A common Hispanic pet form of Sebastian used on its own, Bastian has just recently emerged as a possibility here in the US. Jeremy Sisto used it for his son.
<a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Eben" target="_blank">Eben</a> McCallister is the imaginative and entrepreneurial boy hero of "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Wonders-Sassafras-Springs/dp/1416934898/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915043&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Seven+Wonders+of+Sassafras+Springs" target="_blank">The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs</a>." And though we wouldn’t necessarily recommend the full form Ebenezer, we do love Eben all on its own, sounding both friendly and creative -- and a possible update of Evan.
Huck Finn is of course the iconic Mark Twain 13-year old Mississippi River boy in<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Huckleberry-Finn-Mark-Twain/dp/0486280616/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915073&sr=1-1&keywords=huckleberry+finn" target="_blank"> the eponymous novel </a>Ernest Hemingway deemed the "one book from which all modern American literature came.” There was a lot of ‘crazy baby name’ commentary when first Kimberly Williams and Brad Paisley used <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Huckleberry" target="_blank">Huckleberry</a> as a middle name for their son William and then Bear Grylls did as a first, but now some parents are beginning to warm to the nickname Huck -- not to mention surname Finn.
In the 2007 historical fiction book "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Invention-Hugo-Cabret-Brian-Selznick/dp/0439813786/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915172&sr=1-1&keywords=invention+of+hugo+cabret" target="_blank">The Invention of Hugo Cabret</a>," which in 2011 was made into a 3-D film by Martin Scorsese, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Hugo" target="_blank">Hugo</a> is a 12-year-old orphan living in a Paris railway station. With its lively o-ending and, yes, Harry Potter cred, Hugo is now a Top 10 name in both France and Spain.
Indigo Casson is the only boy in a decidedly idiosyncratic family in Hilary McKay’s novels "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Saffys-Angel-Hilary-McKay/dp/0689849346/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915212&sr=1-1&keywords=Saffy%E2%80%99s+Angel" target="_blank">Saffy’s Angel</a>" and "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Indigos-Star-Hilary-McKay/dp/141691403X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366919464&sr=8-1&keywords=indigo%27s+star" target="_blank">Indigo’s Star</a>." One of the most dynamic of the new color names, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Indigo" target="_blank">Indigo</a> makes a great choice for both boys and girls.
In Norton Juster’s 1961 modern classic fairy tale, "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-50th-Anniversary/dp/0375869034/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366916318&sr=1-1&keywords=phantom+tollbooth" target="_blank">The Phantom Tollbooth</a>," illustrated by Jules Feiffer, bored hero <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Milo" target="_blank">Milo</a> drives his toy car on the road to Expectation into the Kingdom of Wisdom. Milo is a real winner -- with both Berries and celebrities -- from Alyssa Milano to Liv Tyler to Craig Ferguson.
<a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Ned" target="_blank">Ned</a> Coleman Nickerson is the athletic, tall, and handsome boyfriend of girl detective "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Staircase-Nancy-Mystery-Stories/dp/0448095025/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366915388&sr=1-7&keywords=nancy+drew+secret+of+the+old+clock" target="_blank">Nancy Drew</a>" in the long-running series read by generations. Ned is a cooler-than-Ed vintage nickname name that we’d love to see come back.
In M. M. Kaye’s 1980 novel "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Princess-M-Kaye/dp/0142300853/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366916818&sr=1-1&keywords=the+ordinary+princess" target="_blank">The Ordinary Princess</a>," <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Peregrine" target="_blank">Peregrine</a> is a king in disguise who -- oops--just happens to hate his name. But we think that this elegant, aristocratic British-accented appellation could appeal to some cutting edge US baby namers.
In the eponymous 1719 evergreen classic Defoe novel, "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Robinson-Crusoe-Barnes-Noble-Classics/dp/1593083602/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366917187&sr=1-3&keywords=robinson+crusoe" target="_blank">Robinson Crusoe</a>" sets off as a young man on sea adventures, to be cast away on a desert island. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Robinson" target="_blank">Robinson</a> is a largely undiscovered patronymic -- a perfect choice to honor an ancestral Robert.
The title character of the 1993 fantasy series "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rowan-Rin-1/dp/0060560711/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366917283&sr=1-1&keywords=rowan+of+rin" target="_blank">Rowan of Rin</a>" is a timid village boy who proves himself heroic. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Rowan" target="_blank">Rowan</a> is a handsome Gaelic name that has been on the US list since 1999, rapidly rising to Number 309. And since Brooke Shields used it for her daughter in 2003, it’s become viable for girls as well.
In the series of <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Septimus" target="_blank">Septimus</a> Heap <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Magyk-Septimus-Heap-Book-1/dp/0060577339/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366918202&sr=1-1&keywords=septimus+heap+1" target="_blank">fantasy novels by Angie Sage</a>, the eponymous hero is, quite appropriately for the meaning of his name, the seventh son of a seventh son. Several of the venerable Latin numerical names have now entered the realm of possibility.
More Baby Name Ideas
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/literary-baby-names-_n_3111806.html" target="_blank">Baby Girl Names Inspired By Beloved Book Characters</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/baby-names-2013_n_3016970.html" target="_blank">The Hottest Baby Names Of 2013 (So Far)</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/22/baby-names-becoming-popular_n_2925579.html" target="_blank">12 Surprising Baby Names That Are Trending</a>