Names from Treasury of Indian Tales, Books I and II

I recently checked out just about every book of Indian stories and folktales I could get from my public library. One of the story collections I found was Treasury of Indian Tales, which my library had in two volumes (Book I and Book II). The first volume was originally published in 1967 and the second in 1969, although the copyright page says that both have been reprinted many times and the books I had were definitely later editions. Both volumes are written by Shankar. The first is illustrated by Debabrata Mukerji and the second by Anil Vyas. They are published […]

Review: The Little One by Kiyo Tanaka

I’m working on some more name posts, but a couple of them are bigger projects that require some time. In the meantime, here’s a quick post about a book I love. The Little One by Kiyo Tanaka is a magical book. My toddler grabbed it off the shelf at the library one day, and we both absolutely fell in love with it. I think I have bought five copies of the book since then, because I keep giving it to everyone I know. It can be a little bit hard to find, since the American edition comes from a smaller […]

Name Interview: Casimir

A traditional name for medieval royalty in Poland/Lithuania (including Casimir the Great and St. Casimir), Casimir is relatively unheard of in North America. I interviewed the parents of a Casimir I know about how they chose that name, and I also asked Casimir himself for his opinion. Quick Facts Name: Casimir Name pronunciation: KAZ-ih-meer Birth year range: 2018-2022 Location: United States (west coast at birth, east coast now) Name popularity: Casimir first showed up in the US baby name data in 1894. Depending on whether you look at ranking or number of births, it peaked in either 1917 (205 births, […]

Name Interview: Indigo

I spend enough time on name websites that I probably saw Indigo on some list or other previously, but the first time I really noticed it as a name was when some friends chose it as the name for their baby. It’s a name I never would have chosen, but I could immediately see the appeal: as a modern word name, Indigo has the advantage of being an uncommon name while still being familiar to say and spell. It has a soft, gender neutral sound, and lots of nickname potential (this Indigo sometimes goes by Indy, but I also love […]

Name game: Canadian prime ministers

Today’s name game is to choose a new name for yourself from the names of all the Canadian prime ministers and their spouses!  Here are the rules: Here is the list of Canadian prime ministers and their spouses (1,2). The married women on the list seem to all have used their husband’s family name after marriage, but instead of writing it twice I listed their family names pre-marriage: My choice: Sparrow Ok, it’s gotta be Sparrow, right? My current name is a classic English feminine name, so there’s plenty of opportunities on this list to make a lateral move to […]

Names from 1923 movies

The other day, I found myself wondering how names of characters (in books, movies, tv shows, etc.) differ from the real names of people from the time and place the story is set. I was especially interested in the process of choosing character names for a contemporary story – I feel like those names should tell us something about how the writers think about their present moment, but in a different way than baby names from the same year would. I decided to look at names from 1923 movies, and how those differ from the names of the actors portraying […]

Distinctive international names

A topic I see pop up on baby name websites pretty frequently is multicultural names, or names that work in multiple languages. It makes a lot of sense that this is a popular category of names – choosing a name that contains common sounds and syllables can be a great way to give a child a connection to their heritage while making sure the child and all of their relatives can confidently and easily pronounce the name. However, this strategy produces a sort of “Modern Vaguely International Style” of short, vowel-heavy names (think Maya, Hana, Kai), and leaves behind a […]

Name interview: Juniper

When I was telling you how to name a baby, I mentioned that I know more children 5 and under named Juniper than any other name, even though it’s not actually that popular overall. I was very interested in this sort of niche popularity that Juniper has, so I interviewed the parents of one of the Junipers I know about how and why they chose that name for their daughter. The questions were mostly answered by Meggie, Juniper’s mother, with some input from Nick, Juniper’s father. Quick facts Name: Juniper Name pronunciation: joo-nih-pur Birth year range: 2018-2023 Location: Halifax, Nova […]

Name game: Fantasy names

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m naming someone but I have to abide by a bunch of constraints. Today, the game is that we’re naming a baby, but we have to choose a name that was made up for a fantasy novel. Here are the rules: My choice: Tenar Tenar is a character from Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea series. I like her as a person, which I think would be important for a name that can be traced back to a specific character – she grows and changes lot over the books she’s in, and I think all in all […]

Name suggestions from a toddler

Are you struggling to name your baby? Let my toddler help you. Here are some name suggestions I got when asking my kid, “What should [Friend] name her baby? Oh, she says she doesn’t like that one, do you know any more names?” An interesting side effect of gathering content for this post is that now my toddler seems to feel responsible for naming our friend’s baby, and will occasionally offer totally spontaneous suggestions, or ask me if the baby has a name yet. Hopefully this means I am raising a future name nerd! Some of these name suggestions have […]