Have you ever been so inspired by a book that you chose a literary name for your baby ? Apparently, when J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books were published there was a rise in babies named after her famous characters – Harry, Hermione, Luna (Lovegood) and even baddie Lucius (Malfoy). And whenever Disney brings a character to life on screen there’s a surge in names like Elsa, from Frozen, and Ariel from The Little Princess.
Funnily enough, I gave both my children literary names – only in my case they were inspired by the authors themselves. My daughter Adèle is named after Adèle Hugo, daughter of Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s also a shortened version of Adelaïde, a character from a series of novels; Les Rougons Macquart written by Émile Zola – who’s my favourite author. Not surprisingly, I called my son Émile.
As an avid reader in my teens, I always knew that if I had children I’d name them after my favourite authors. I loved reading stories and I loved the idea of there being a story behind my children’s names. It felt significant and special.
I could never have predicted then that I would grow up to run a business related to children’s books, but I guess it makes sense really. I’m passionate about getting kids excited about reading – which is why our book case and book box can be personalised with your children’s names. It’s a way of giving them their own little story and making them feel special, too.
Going back to my own children, I’m lucky that my husband, Matthew, agreed with the names I chose. Though I must admit that while he was instantly taken with the idea of a daughter called Adèle, he wasn’t so sure about ‘Émile’ at first. But then, when the mid-wife asked us what we were calling our new-born son, Matthew instantly said ‘Émile’. To which – to my surprise – the midwife replied, ‘Oh, after Émile Zola?’
You see – it’s a lovely story, isn’t it?
Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile. She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids. Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.