March 26th, 2022: Handful of Buttons

Different family structures do exist. It’s normal. It’s natural. It is essential that we, as educators, discuss this with our students. On Friday, I read a book to my students titled A Handful of Buttons by Carmen Parets Luque. This story teaches about the diversity of families and breaks the ubiquitous stereotypes of the typical nuclear family.

“I have three siblings, but do not speak to one of them” (that’s me)

“I have three mommies”

“I just live with my mom”

“We live with our grandma”

As read, all of my students sat straight up in their seats, which was quite a departure from their regular slouching. Their eyes were transfixed on the book, and their engagement was high. I did not see kids putting masking tape on their fingertips, or trying to hide the notes they would write on tiny post-its underneath their desks. With each page turn, I could see their eyes open wide, opening up to a world they have and have not seen. “How many of you see your own families represented in this book,” I asked enthusiastically anticipating a sea of student’s hands raised high in the air. As expected, their tiny hands reached high, almost shooting through the ceiling with excitement.

When we finished, I told the class we would do something extraordinary with this book. And here is the idea for any educators who would like to steal it. We are going to make our own portrait with handfuls of buttons, just like the book. Then, we will share our creativity and uniqueness with the class. Here is what you will need to make your students feel seen, heard, and appreciated.

  1. A Handful of Buttons by Carmen Parets Luque.
  2. A bag of mixed buttons (you can buy on Amazon for $10)
  3. glue sticks or glue guns
  4. large white paper
  5. markers
  6. crayons
  7. colored pencils
  8. glitter

Let me know if you decide to do it. I will upload their final projects later 😉


12 thoughts on “March 26th, 2022: Handful of Buttons

  1. Thank you for sharing this great idea. I am a school library director and will share this with my staff at our 11 K-5/K-8 sites. We are working specifically on having books and programming that allow for more complete representation of all our students and this does that!


  2. Such a great way to talk and think about the diversity of families. My own family is fractured – almost beyond repair – but I will pray for reunion for all of my days.


  3. I remember you said in one post that you were trying not to write about school. But I/we are glad when you do. This sounds like a great book and a super idea, and you are spreading it. My favorite passage is when you knew you had complete attention, with no tape-wrapping fingers or secret sticky-note writing under the desk!
    PS- I’m glad I’m going to see the results in person! I am wondering where the glitter will be…


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