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10 best baby name books to help you find the perfect baby name in 2021

Naming your baby is a huge responsibility. But with so many different baby names out there, a good baby name book can help you to narrow down your favourite.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated Nov 24, 2021

happy baby

When it comes to naming your new arrival, there’s so much to consider. You’ll want to find a baby name that goes well with your surname and one that doesn’t carry any negative connotations. Then there’s settling on the spelling and pronunciation and, perhaps most importantly of all, you have to actually like it.

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To help you find the perfect baby name, we’ve trawled the Mumsnet forums in addition to online consumer reviews to find out which baby name books our users recommend, and have come up with our top picks below.

So whether you’re a fan of timeless classics, follow modern-day trends or are looking for something a bit more unique, Mumsnet has got you covered.

Here are the very best baby name books to buy right now.

1. Best overall baby name book: The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby

The Baby Name Wizard book

Price: £10.19 paperback | Buy now from Amazon

“[...] buy this book - it's amazing. The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg.” Namingtrends

“I’ve grown really interested in names for the past months. I find it fascinating and I just bought this great book The Baby Name Wizard that Swistle and other name bloggers use.” 2020Peepshow

If you’re seeking more from a baby name book than just an endless list of names, The Baby Name Wizard is a great choice.

Taking a data-driven approach, this up-to-date guide uses computer-generated models to create a visual image for each name, examines its popularity over the last century and offers suggestions of other similar names. And if that’s not enough, nickname options, variants, pronunciations and prominent examples are also included for every single name featured.

The Baby Name Wizard is a fascinating read and you can choose your new arrival’s name safe in the knowledge that it has been analysed to within an inch of its life.

2. Best baby name book for trending names: Best Baby Names 2021

Best Baby Names 2021 book

Price: £7.99 paperback; £1.99 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

The most up-to-date book on our list, Best Baby Names 2021 features no less than 9,000 name suggestions, from trending names to old favourites.

The book also provides some excellent advice on the practicalities of name selection too. This includes invaluable tips on how to reach an agreement with your partner and how to cope with other people’s negative and judgemental opinions over your baby name choice. 

If you like to get even further ahead of the latest trends, the 2022 version of the book came out earlier this autumn.

3. Best baby name book for classic names: The Penguin Dictionary of First Names

The Penguin Dictionary of First Names

Price: £8.19 paperback | Buy now from Amazon

“I loved the Penguin Dictionary of First Names. Great classic names. I still read it now!” jakeyboy1 

The go-to guide for many parents-to-be, this tried-and-tested baby name book offers a good selection of names along with information about the origins of those names, derivations and associations, and some extra trivia to boot.

This book is a few years old now, so if you’re looking for current trends, you’ll be better off buying something else. But for the classics, this Penguin guide really can’t be beaten.

4. Most comprehensive baby name book: 100,000 + Baby Names (Revised)

100,000+ Baby Names book

Price: £10.99 paperback; £5.99 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

The daddy (or mummy) of all baby name guides, this bumper book is the definitive A-Z of baby names.

So whether you’re looking for something classic, unique, trending or out of fashion, this guide has got you covered. Also included are special sections for gender-neutral names, celebrity names and names from around the world, from Scotland to Russia, Japan to Scandinavia. Just be aware that this book doesn’t always offer advice on pronunciation, so further research may be needed if you’re drawn to an international offering.

5. Most humorous baby name book: The Brilliant Book of Baby Names

The Brilliant Book of Baby Names

Price: £10.99 paperback; £2.89 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

“I found The Brilliant Book of Baby Names by Redmond Satran an enjoyable read - not so much lists but comments about the names. I sometimes disagreed with the comments (it has an American take on some names even though the book aims to give a British take). Still one of the most readable that I've come across, and I have a selection!” Astronica

In The Brilliant Book of Baby Names, the author takes you on a humorous journey through the minefield of picking an appropriate baby name.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, there’s some lighthearted ribbing of some of the more left-field offerings (Beige, anyone?), but overall the book offers a good selection of names, both mainstream and unusual. The author is American, so be aware that this book has a definite US slant in its name choices.

6. Best baby name book for international names: Inspired Baby Names from Around the World

Inspired Baby Names from Around the World book

Price: £16.10 paperback; £9.49 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

This sublime baby name book offers 6,000 suggestions of international names drawn from religion, the works of William Shakespeare and even Muhammad Ali. And every entry includes detail about the name’s distinctive spiritual, historical and cultural background. This is a truly beautiful book that would make a great gift for any expectant parent.

7. Best baby name book for Irish names: A–Z of Irish Names for Children and Their Meanings

A-Z od Irish Names for Children and Their Meanings book

Price: £11.64 paperback; £1.42 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

Irish names are hugely popular in the UK, and this fab book is your one-stop guide to the best baby names direct from the Emerald Isle. 

All the old favourites are here, plus some beautiful, less-well-known names which are sure to inspire. This comprehensive guide includes the origin, historical and cultural background for every single name, written in a witty and accessible way. The only downside is that there’s no guide to pronouncing these names, so you may have to carry out some extra research once you’ve shortlisted your favourites.

8. Best baby name book for boys: Best Baby Names for Boys: The Ultimate Resource for Finding the Perfect Boy Name

Best Baby Names for Boys

Price: £8.15 paperback; £5.03 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

If you already know you are team blue, then this streamlined book is a great choice to help you pick out the perfect baby name for your little bundle of joy. The book contains more than 100 helpful lists and tips plus a comprehensive list of boys’ names for you to consider, from celebrity monikers to timeless classics.

9. Best baby name book for girls: Best Baby Names for Girls: The Ultimate Resource for Finding the Perfect Girl Name

Best Baby Names for Girls book

Price: £8.15 paperback; £5.03 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

Billed as the ultimate resource for finding the perfect girls’ name, this little sister to the Best Baby Names for Boys is an ideal gift for anyone who is expecting a girl.

You don’t need to wade through pages and pages of names that don’t apply. Instead, just focus on the large selection of girls’ names while enjoying the informative lists and tips which pepper the pages of this handy guide.

10. Best baby name book for unusual names: The Penguin Book of Baby Names

The Penguin Book of Baby Names book

Price: £6.95 paperback; £3.49 Kindle | Buy now from Amazon

This popular book contains more than 5,000 names for boys and girls, including the classics. But among the pages, you’ll also find some unusual and under-used names that are sure to make your little one stand out from the crowd. The book comes with information about origins and meanings of each name, plus an interesting insight into naming trends throughout the ages.

What is the number one baby name in 2021? 

As we’re still in 2021, the final figures aren’t out, but in 2020 Olivia and Oliver once again held the top spots for most popular girls’ and boys’ names respectively. For the girls, Amelia was the second most popular name, followed by Isla. George was the second most popular boys’ name, closely followed by Arthur.

How do I choose a baby name book?

Choosing a baby name book really depends on what type of name you’d like to give your new arrival. For example, if you wanted something unusual or off-beat, then a book of traditional baby names won’t be top of your list. And unless you’re certain that you are team blue or team pink, it may be better to buy a baby name book that covers all bases, to help prepare you for every eventuality.

What is the best baby name book?

Mumsnet parents rate The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby as the best baby name book to buy right now. An engaging and informative read, this book is packed full of facts and figures as well as some great name choices that most expectant mums and dads will love.

How we chose our recommendations

We scoured Mumsnet forums to find out which baby name books our users rate highly - and which ones they weren’t impressed by.

We also consulted consumer watchdogs and took note of what they looked for in baby name books and which they were recommending to their readers.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which baby name books had received the best recommendations.

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Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.