Children's books have served as the inspiration behind a plethora of baby name choices for parents all over the world. There's just something magical and beautifully simple about stories for little ones. What can be even more special about a kid's book is if it has a particularly meaningful message at its heart. If you've found that your heart pumps to the beat of equality, then why not combine the best of both worlds and think about some powerful and dynamic baby names inspired by feminist children's books?
As a book lover myself, I believe that the pages of your favorite story have the spectacular power to transcend age, race, gender, and any other kind of boundary. That's why sharing a book with your child can be such an incredible bonding experience. So how cool would it be to read a story to your son and daughter and let them know that their name was inspired by the very book in their lap? It could be even cooler if the story from which their name came held a deep significance to you and your partner about an issue in which you strongly believe. They say kids are like sponges, so telling them the origins of their name can be a sweet and simple way to introduce them to the importance of gender equality. So if you're looking to crush the patriarchy through a beautiful baby name, check out one of these monikers from feminist children's books.
1. Rosie From 'Rosie Revere, Engineer'
This soon-to-be-classic is about Rosie, a young girl with ambitions to become a great inventor, who finds the courage to never give up with the help of her great-great-aunt, Rosie the Riveter.
Rosie, a nickname for Rose, has roots beyond being associated with a flower. In Ancient Germanic, Rose (Hrodohaidis) means "a kind of fame." Who knows? Maybe your little Rosie will reach some kind of fame for inventing or discovering the next big thing!
2. Elmer From "The Sissy Duckling"
In this story, Elmer the duckling is judged to be a "sissy" because he prefers baking cakes to building forts. But when a moment of crisis arrives, Elmer proves to be the bravest of them all and puts to rest the notion that boys are "sissies" if they don't like typical "boy" things.
In Old English, Elmer means "noble" and is actually used for either gender in England, although it's primarily a boy's name here in the States.
3. Isa From "Tía Isa Wants A Car"
This book explores the dynamics of what it's like when family lives far away. Tía Isa desperately wants to be reunited with her loved ones, so her niece pitches in by doing odd jobs in an effort to raise the necessary money. Rich in cultural heritage and the deep bonds of family, this shows how a woman can do anything she sets her mind to.
Isa, short for Isabella and a variant of Elizabeth, means "my God is bountiful" in Hebrew. Whether you're the spiritual type or not, it's nice to hope for a life of plenty for your future daughter.
4. Noah From "The Different Dragon"
When one of Noah's two mothers decides to read him a story about a dragon who feels different from everyone else, he is transported into the book and explains in his own, special way how being different isn't a bad thing. Bonus points that the story normalizes having two mothers.
In Hebrew, Noah means "at peace, comfort." What more does a parent want for their future child than for them to have peace?
5. Grace From "Amazing Grace"
A Reading Rainbow classic, Grace is, as the title suggests, amazing. But not everyone appreciates her ambition and talent. When she wants to audition for the role of Peter Pan, a white male, she is ridiculed. Spoiler alert: she doesn't waver and does a show-stopping performance in the lead role.
In Irish, Grace not only means having the "virtue of grace," but it also means "love." Sometimes the biggest thing a person can do is to be gracious and loving even in the face of hate or ridicule.
6. Everett From "Piggybook"
The characters in this book are only mentioned by their last name, the Piggotts. A play on words, the males of the Piggott family are a bit pig-like in the sense that they are very messy and don't have good manners. This leaves all the work to Mrs. Piggott. She eventually tosses in the towel, and it's not until after her absence that the all male family realizes just how much she did. Upon her return, gender roles are reevaluated and everyone now does their fair share.
The unisex name Everett means "wild boar" in Old English. A nod to the porcine family in the book, Everett can offer the best of both worlds with the passion of a wild animal, but the bravery of a bold boar.
7. Duncan & Violet From "The Day The Crayons Quit"
What appears to just be a humorous book about young Duncan's crayons going on strike (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, and others) is actually a much deeper story that touches on equality, fairness, and stereotyping what someone can do solely based on their color.
8. Jane From "Me . . . Jane"
This somewhat fictionalized book tells the very true story of renowned conservationist, humanitarian, and animal rights activist, Dr. Jane Goodall. It follows a young Jane and her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee, on various adventures as she dreams of growing up to explore the animal kingdom.
Jane, the female version of John, means "gracious and merciful." Hopefully your little animal lover will be kind and gracious to creatures great and small.
9. Nate From "Ballerino Nate"
As the title suggests, Nate wants to dance ballet even though most people think it's only for girls. Friends and siblings alike try to dissuade Nate from pursuing his dream, but nothing will stand in his way.
Nate, a nickname for Nathaniel, means "God has given" in Hebrew. Perhaps your little one will have a God-given talent and this book will be just the encouragement they need to pursue it!
10. Sophy From "Running Shoes"
A heartbreaking tale about a girl who is determined to go to school even if it means wearing a pair of shoes she found to run to school every day where girls are in the minority. This can also spark a conversation about the reality that some children don't have easy access to an adequate education.
Sophy, is a nickname for Sophia, which means "wisdom" in Greek. Wisdom, and knowledge, are invaluable for any child to gain.
11. William From "William's Doll"
Another great example of breaking down gender stereotypes, William wants a doll to play with in spite of everyone's negative comments. The heartwarming ending doesn't disappoint.
William, which means "protector" in English, can give your son a sense of confidence to always stand up to protect his and others' rights.
12. Ella & Sarah From "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed"
A light-hearted story about Ella Sarah, a very quirky and unique girl, who insists on wearing whatever she pleases to express her one-of-a-kind identity. Her sisters and others might balk at her mismatched attire, but Ella Sarah doesn't seem to mind.
Ella, short for Eleanor, means "shining light" in English, and Sarah means "princess" in Hebrew. So whether your little girl wants to dress up as a princess or not, she can let her light shine bright.
13. Ashton From By "Call Me Tree"
Perhaps the most profound thing about this children's book is that neither the gender nor the name of the child is ever revealed. That perhaps can show how you don't necessarily need to know what someone's gender is in order to befriend them. A pioneering story in queer and chicanx literature, this weaves a tale of acceptance and a respect for nature.
Ashton, a unisex name, actually means "tree" in Old English. So if you'd like to take the gender-neutral, non-binary route, this option could be great for you.
14. Imogene From "Imogene's Last Stand"
Imogene takes on the role of activist in this bold story about a girl who has a deep love and respect for history. When her local Historical Society is in danger of being torn down, she takes an inspiring stand.
Imogene means "maiden" in Gaelic, and maidens can do big things!
15. Neely From "My Mum Is Fantastic"
Though the boy in this story goes unnamed, he enthusiastically talks about all the ways his mother is fantastic. What is equally fantastic, though, is that the things he describes her doing are not limited to typical gender roles.
Neely, an option for a boy or girl, means "child of a poet" in Gaelic. A fitting option for any son or daughter of an avid book lover.