One thing you may not know about me—my side gig is working on a baby name website. I’ve adored names since I was a kid, and turned my obsession into a blog, then a job, and even a book, over the past 10 years. I’ll always be a bit name obsessed, even though I’ve broadened my blogging horizons. And that obsession is all for your benefit!
Today I’m talking about the BEST baby name books for you. Not everyone is looking for the same things when it comes to browsing baby names, so I’ve got you covered no matter what your needs are. Let’s get right to it!
The Best Baby Name Book for Finding Your Style or Choosing a Sibling Name
The Baby Name Wizard would be great for the first time parent who doesn’t quite have a feel for what their style is, or for someone who either feels like they love too many names (ME.) or doesn’t like any names. It’s just a great starting point for someone who’s not sure where to start.
This book is absolutely the BEST when it comes to sibling names as well. Sometimes parents have a harder time naming a second or third baby than they did their first…parents of more than one, I’m sure you know where I’m coming from.
Laura Wattenberg’s amazing knowledge of names applies to both of these situations because it extends into cultural and social significance, and one of her many strengths is naming style. She has a fantastic ability to help pinpoint your style and identify natural options for names that you might love.
If you’re looking for a sibling name, just start by looking up your child’s name, or if you’re looking to identify your style, start with your favorite name. You’ll find suggested sibling names and the styles the name encompasses. Here’s a quick example…
Sisters: Beatrice, Amelia, Adelaide, Flora, Penelope, Louisa
Brothers: Casper, August, Felix, Hugh, Edmund, Foster
Styles: Ladies and Gentleman, Saints, Why Not?
So if you love Matilda, but want more name ideas than you see in the sibling names, you’d simply hop on over to Ladies and Gentleman to find a large list of other names that might suit your style.
This is just a small and incomplete example from the book. There is loads of information on each name, and I love that popularity is visualized in mini graphs right there in the page. It should be noted that meanings are rarely included with this book.
The Best Baby Name Book for a Baby Shower or Your Coffee Table
Yep, I’m listing my own book, Baby Names. I know it inside and out, obviously, and it has a really fantastic strength: It’s darling! It features a colorful layout with lots of sweet photos and quotes to decorate the pages and keep naming from feeling like a research project.
When I wrote this book, I made sure it included every name you’d need to know about–like the top 1,000 boys’ and girls’ names in America and the UK, as a starting off point. I also included themed lists, like Princess Names and The Fastest Rising Boys’ Names in the UK, for extra inspiration. It makes a darling gift for a mama-to-be!
Its beautiful layout and pictures also would make it an ideal gift for any prospective parents, as it is by far one of the most attractive name books on the market.
-Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names
I don’t make royalties from it, so you know I’m being genuine. And sadly, it looks like my book is not being printed at the moment. I debated listing another book in place of this one, but I honestly can’t find anything else like it. Hope you don’t mind! Right now the hardcover is going for less than $1.00 used, meaning you can grab one in great condition for less than $5 including shipping. It’s well worth that price!
The Best Baby Name Book for the Name Obsessed
For those of us who love names and want a firm foundation in all things names (onomastics), I’d wholeheartedly suggest the Oxford Dictionary of First Names.
This is a comprehensive book detailing history and origins of both common and uncommon names, with an eye toward historical significance and famous bearers. Name meaning is included quite literally, for example, Henry is “from haim ‘home’ + ric ‘power, ruler’.” This makes it easy to tell why the meaning of Henry has come to be interpreted as ruler of the home. It’s perfect for someone who loves reference books, or wants to start writing about names.
There are loads of baby name books specific to name styles (quirky, Saint’s names, Irish names, etc.) but these comprehensive books are great at what they’re made for, and are interesting and easy to read too. I think you’ll love any one of them, if they fit your needs of course.
So there you have it! I hope you found the right book for you!
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