Books

Sen. Warren keeps her ‘Pinkie Promises’ in new children’s book

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new children’s book is a story of persistence that all starts with a pinkie promise.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren makes her signature "pinky promise" with Katie Duran, 8, of Wolfboro, N.H., at a campaign event in 2019. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

On the presidential campaign trail, Senator Elizabeth Warren was well known for her locked-pinkie-finger poses with young girls. Those interactions were all about inspiring girls to dream big, and that’s exactly what she hopes to do with her new children’s book. 

Warren debuted her first children’s book, “Pinkie Promises,” on Tuesday, but she started writing it back in March 2020 when she dropped out of the presidential race.

“I started this book right after I dropped out for president,” Warren told The Boston Globe. “I started writing as a way to [tell] every one of those little girls I had seen, ‘That’s what we do. We stand strong.’”

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The picture book, illustrated by nonbinary Canadian illustrator Charlene Chua, follows Polly, who is initially told about all the things she can’t do. Then, she meets a woman running for president and they make a “pinkie promise” to remember all the things girls can do. She also has a dog named — you guessed it — Bailey.

“What Polly does each time is she gets in the fight,” Warren told the Globe. “She stands on the field and she kicks the ball. But you never see if she kicks that ball and makes a goal. You never see if she wins her [class] presidency. Because it doesn’t matter for the story. Her growth, strength, and courage are getting into the fight, and you can’t win if you don’t get in. That’s the heart of it.”

Warren remembers pinkie promises from her youth as having a “strengthening quality” between girls and started making them when she was on the campaign trail for Massachusetts senator ten years ago.

“Every time I would see a little girl, I’d drop down on one knee and say, ‘My name is Elizabeth and I’m running for Senate, because that’s what girls do.’ And we’d make a pinkie promise,” she told the Globe. “Through the years, I’d have people come up to me and show me their pinkie promises pictures from when they were little girls. It was a huge thing during the presidential elections for me, and what it’s always meant is that we remember, ‘That’s what girls do.’”

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Warren held an outdoor reading of her new book at Porter Square Books in Cambridge on Sunday, but photos and video weren’t allowed. The event was sold out.

“I wrote this book for all the little girls I’ve done pinkie promises with,” Warren tweeted last week. “It’s about the joy and hope that comes with throwing yourself into the fight, and the power of dreaming big.”

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