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.
Praise for Bernie's Mitten Maker:
"Jen Ellis, the Vermont teacher who created the mittens that Senator Bernie Sanders wore in his now-famous photo, has written a surprisingly moving memoir not only about how that happened, but also how it ties into her wider story of coming out, becoming a parent, the power of crafting, and the magic of generosity . . . . This charming and unpretentious memoir of crafting, parenthood, healing, and connection offers a read as comforting and warm as her famous mittens." -- Mombian
"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 neighborliness, generosity, and radical kindness. Bernie's Mitten Maker is an engrossing memoir about the healing power of handwork and the generative potential of an openhanded approach to life. And when you think about it, what's an upcycled, fleece-lined mitten but a wide open hand?" -- Alison Bechdel, comic artist of Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home
Jen Ellis is a Vermont teacher, mother, and crafter. Originally from 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. 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 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.