Little Cliff and the Cold Place

by Clifton L. Taulbert

Discussion and Activities

For pre-reading ideas and background information on multiculturalism, see Around the World in 80 Books: A Multicultural Guide.

In this third Little Cliff story, Clifton Taulbert, author of Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, draws on memories of childhood in racially segregated Glen Allan, Mississippi in the 1950s. Using the illustration of Little Cliff's classroom, introduce the "Jim Crow" laws that enforced racial segregation in many Southern states from the late 19th century into the 1960s. Using Internet or library resources, have students list other public facilities, services, and activities in which these laws separated blacks from whites (e.g., transportation, restaurants, medical care, marriage, baseball, housing, etc.) Lead students in a discussion of the Civil Rights Movement initiated by southern blacks in the 1950s and 1960s to break prevailing patterns of racial segregation. Highlight the roles played by such figures as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in spurring the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. After listening to Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech, have students write a posthumous letter to Dr. King expressing how his work and sacrifices have changed our world for the better.

Little Cliff's interest in the Arctic and Poppa Joe's clever way of bringing this faraway land to him exemplify Taulbert's nostalgic recollection of his loving childhood and upbringing, which allowed him to look out beyond the confines of his small town, despite the constraints of racism. Using a map, have students calculate how far Little Cliff's Mississippi hometown is from the snow-covered Arctic. Have them compare/contrast his home in the world of the warm Delta sun, river boats, chinaberry trees, and ice houses with that of an Inuit child living on the Arctic landscape with seasonal sunlight, igloos, dogsleds, tundras, ice-fishing, and the Northern Lights. Students may then paint Arctic landscapes, including plant and wildlife typical in this Land of the Midnight Sun.


Brought to you by Penguin Young Readers Group.

The Penguin Group is the second-largest English-language trade book publisher in the world. The company possesses perhaps the world's most prestigious list of best-selling authors and a backlist of unparalleled breadth, depth, and quality. Penguin Young Readers Group features books by authors and illustrators including Judy Blume, Brian Jacques, Eric Carle, and beloved characters like Winnie-the-Pooh, Madeline, The Little Engine that Could, and many, many more.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus


Happy Halloween! Students love this fall holiday; take advantage of it! You'll find everything from costume patterns and printable Halloween masks to counting activities and vocabulary lessons.

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here! Help your students understand the process of our national elections (held on Tuesday, November 8), from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

October Calendar of Events
October is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Black Tuesday (10/29/1929) and Halloween (10/31). Plus, celebrate Bullying Prevention Month, Computer Learning Month, Diversity Awareness Month, Family History Month, Fire Prevention Month, International Dinosaur Month, Learning Disabilities Month, and School Safety Month all October long!