Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Character Names

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Best Character Names. I've posted before about some of the really ridiculous names I've discovered in children's books; today, I'm sharing ten of my favorite names from books of all types. (Books that are the first of a series are marked with *.)

Anastasia Krupnik 

from Anastasia Krupnik* by Lois Lowry

The beauty of the first name coupled with the geeky sound of the last name really sums up Anastasia's adolescent experiences throughout this series. It's the perfect name for a precocious young woman who makes a lot of mistakes as she comes of age.

Atticus Finch 

from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a great name simply because of the way it sounds. It suits the professional image of the Southern country lawyer and is memorable without being laughable.

Aurora Teagarden 

from Real Murders* by Charlaine Harris

Cozy mystery character names are often either too plain to remember or so over-the-top I can't help but laugh. This one strikes a good balance between normal and memorable. I'm not as crazy about "Roe" as a nickname, but I can deal with it.

Cherry Sue 

from Poppleton* by Cynthia Rylant and Mark Teague

I love everything about this colorful and friendly llama who is the next-door neighbor of title character Poppleton (who is a pig.) This name suits her vibrant personality and positive outlook on every situation.

Hazel Motes

from Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

Since so much of this book has to do with sight and the importance of seeing clearly I've always liked that O'Connor sometimes refers to Hazel as "Haze" and that a "mote" is mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount as something one takes out of his brother's eye after removing the beam from his own. This is a name that seems random on the surface, but clearly has a deeper significance.

Kinsey Millhone 

from A is for Alibi* by Sue Grafton

This is the perfect name for a detective, and I like the family connections represented by the first name. The name as a whole is unusual, but not unbelievably odd.

Nancy Blackett 

from Swallows and Amazons* by Arthur Ransome

I like this name for the great joke it represents. Nancy's real name is Ruth, but she calls herself Nancy because she fancies herself a pirate, and pirates have to be "ruthless."

Peaceable Sherwood 

from The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope

This name is another one that is just really fun to say. The character himself is a larger-than-life knave, so he needs a good playful name to accompany his personality. I also love the last name's nod to Robin Hood.


from By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

Praiseworthy is a butler who sails to California to seek his fortune in the Gold Rush. I can't think of a better name for a resourceful and proper butler than an adjective that tells us exactly what he is like.

Sumner Lee

from That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen's books can sometimes get a little bit out there with their quirky character names, but this one walks the line really well between unusual and outright odd. I like that Sumner is close enough to Summer that the title of the book could be about him, just as much as it is about the special summer the main character, Haven, remembers her family enjoying with him.


  1. I love your list! Aurora made my list too. I love Hazel too. So pretty!

    Top Ten Tuesday

  2. Great choices! I do love Aurora Teagarden and the juxtaposition in Anastasia Krupnik is fantastic. I've always enjoyed Kinsey Millhone's name as well.

  3. I like Aurora Teagarden, that's such a cool name, and Peaceble Sherwood is pretty awesome too. :)

  4. I included Sumner on my list too. His name reminds me of Fort Sumter which is not that far from where Sarah Dessen sets most of her books. Also, I love the name Anastasia!! Cool list :)

  5. Dessen does always try to have unique names, but I think that is a YA thing in general. I like unique, but some a just strange. I don't think I can hear the name Atticus without conjuring the image of that fine southern lawyer in my head.

  6. These are some pretty crazy names. Peaceable and Praiseworthy for sure are out there.

    My list this week focused on Best Female Character Names. Check it out here: http://books.thetechchef.net/top-ten-tuesday-40-best-female-character-names/

  7. Cherry Sue... Now THAT'S a name! It immediately made me think of Cherry Valance from The Outsiders!