Book Article

A guide to naming children

Author Linda Rosenkratz and Pamela Redmond Satran provide a guide for expecting parents in the name-game business

''(A) rose by any other name would smell as sweet,'' wrote the Bard. Well, mommies- and daddies-to-be, the Bard was dead wrong. According to Pamela Redmond Satran, renegade baby-namer and, with Linda Rosenkrantz, author of the trendy hit book Beyond Jennifer & Jason, the name game is serious business and what you name your kid counts. ''It's like choosing an item of clothing your children are going to wear for the rest of their lives,'' says Satran. ''Names like Ashley are the lime green mini-skirts of names. They look good now, but how about in 10 years?''

Unlike garden-variety baby-name guides that, Satran says, ''tell you what name means 'gift of God' in Hebrew,'' her tome lays it on the line: ''We wrote the book so parents wouldn't choose a name like Hannah and then be totally surprised when they got to preschool and found 600,000 other parents had had the same idea.''

Hannah is listed among names that are No-Frills. Other categories include timeless Volvo Names (Tess, Hugh, Frederick), Intellectual Power Names (Cloris, Adlai), and Handsome Nice Guy Names (Cass, Wade). Or, how about a Boyish Name for a girl? ''Many celebrities have masculine first names-Glenn Close, Drew Barrymore, Daryl Hannah,'' notes Satran. She named her own daughter Rory, an Irish boy's name. Satran's other picks for '90s progeny? ''Names that are not too weird, not too common, that are classic and not invented-Eliza, Grace, Georgia. Joseph is a great name. Every time I say it, it makes me feel good.''

Originally posted Apr 29, 1994 Published in issue #220 Apr 29, 1994 Order article reprints
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