Bernie’s Mitten Maker is a raw and honest account of the joy, stress, and shock of sudden internet fame. Told with captivating storytelling, this memoir explores the many roads that led to the Bernie Sanders mitten meme sensation that followed the 2021 presidential inauguration. Jen Ellis’s debut publication reads like an intimate conversation with an old friend. Vermont teacher, mother, and crafter, Ellis weaves the stories of her life together with humor and thoughtful insight. She shares her struggles with childhood trauma, infertility, and homophobia and shows us how crafting can build community and generosity can bring joy.
From the Author
At the root of the Bernie Sanders mitten meme story, there was a gift. It was a simple gesture that brought joy. The strange and wonderful way these mittens became an iconic symbol of one of the most historic elections in American history is a story worth remembering and repeating. Even in one of our darkest hours, when our world was gripped by the sorrow and loss of the Covid-19 pandemic, we experienced a global moment of laughter. We were able to reach across the partisan divide and share memes with people who didn’t agree with on us any other topic. This moment showed us that we can laugh together; we can heal together; we can move on. My gift sparked millions of memes and countless moments of joy, and it is my hope that this joy will continue to spread when this book is shared worldwide. This is my story: Bernie’s Mitten Maker.
Advance Praise for Bernie’s Mitten Maker
“In the fine old Vermont tradition, Jen Ellis keeps it real—as well as warm and fuzzy. Not even going viral stays this crafter from her self-appointed rounds of generosity, thrift, neighborliness, and radical kindness.”
—Alison Bechdel, author of Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home
“In her alternately moving, sharp, and funny memoir about her sudden fame as Bernie’s mitten maker, Jen Ellis reveals the possibilities and pressures of becoming meme-famous and how a gay, small-town elementary school teacher and crafter became a public symbol of hope during the pandemic era. Ellis’s candor and insight guide this book far deeper than the typical self-help tale, and yet it is an affirming, inspiring, generous read that cuts a new pattern for the American success story.”—Maria Hummel, author of Still Lives and Motherland
About the Author
Jen Ellis is a Vermont teacher, mother, and crafter. Originally from South Portland, Maine, Ellis attended the University of Vermont. She started her teaching career with Teach For America in rural North Carolina before returning to Vermont to teach elementary school in Montpelier and Westford. She used her flash of fame to raise money for non-profits in her community. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her partner Liz and daughter Helen. She enjoys going for long walks, finding new swimming holes in the Green Mountain State, and writing songs. Ellis is currently pursuing a Masters in counseling from the University of Vermont.
224 pages; 5.5 x 8.25/ Trade Paperback
$19.95 print / $9.99 e-book
Publication Date: May, 2023
Distributor: IPG / Chicago
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights contact: Dede Cummings
Distributor: IPG; also available through Ingram, Follett/Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can pre-order directly from Bookshop.org, Indiebound.org, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order directly through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741
Via email: email@example.com
For an advance reader’s copy—digital or print—email firstname.lastname@example.org
Preorder at your local, independent bookstore, or also from Bookshop.org: