Book cover: Just a Dreamby Chris Van Allsburg
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.
48 pgs
All ages

When Walter’s neighbor tells him how excited she is to have received a tree to plant for her birthday,

Walter is confused. Why would you want a tree when there are such great toys to be had?

Walter is too concerned with things like his favorite TV program, to have time to plant trees or sort recycling or throw away his jelly donut wrapper.

When Walter goes to sleep that night, he dreams of a future filled with robots, just like the ones in the cartoons he loves to watch. However, when Walter wakes up, it is not to the future he was hoping for.

The future Walter wakes up to is filled with garbage on the ground, smoke in the sky, and no trees to be found.

From hotels on Mount Everest to a Grand Canyon that is too filled with smog to see, this is not the future Walter had imagined.

When he finally wakes up back in his own bedroom, that tree seems like the best present a kid could receive.

There are numerous activities that could be done with this book in classrooms with students of all ages.

This book is a must-have resource in every classroom, because it pushes students to think about how their actions shape the future and what kind of future they hope to find.