Because of Winn-Dixie

By Kate DiCamillo,

Book cover of Because of Winn-Dixie

Book description

Funny and poignant, this 2001 Newbery Honor novel captures life in a quirky Southern town as Opal and her mangy dog, Winn-Dixie, strike up friendships among the locals.

One summer's day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries - and comes home with a…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Because of Winn-Dixie as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Kate DiCamillo has an amazing way of creating characters that are easy to fall in love with, including a dog named after a grocery store. My daughters and I loved this book, which sits prominently on our shelf of favorite books. This story is especially beautiful because of the main characters, Opal and her father. Both are struggling with the abandonment of Opal’s mother. This book deals with important themes of grief, hope, acceptance, loss, friendship, and the healing power of animals.

From Jessica's list on the ins and outs of friendship.

Winn-Dixie is what Opal names the stray she rescues when it invades the local supermarket. She can’t bear to let anyone send it to the pound. I knew I was in for a ripper read the moment she said, "I knew I had done something big. And maybe stupid too." Her tale, like everything Kate DiCamillo creates, took me on a delightful journey.

Opal’s mum left when she was three and her dad, who she refers to as the preacher, never speaks of her. This distresses Opal, who has no friends in the new town they’ve just moved to. With…

Most fans of middle grade are already well acquainted with 10-year-old Opal and Winn-Dixie, her loyal canine companion. Opal is missing her absent mother, and is isolated in a new town – Naomi, Florida when she discovers Winn-Dixie at the supermarket. Winn-Dixie is the catalyst that leads her to consider her new community through fresh eyes. It’s a story of learning to heal, forgive, and find comfort through the friendship of others.

One of the reasons I think I enjoyed this book so much as a kid was because I was often bored by the town I grew up in…

From Monica's list on protagonists with grit.

Follow India Opal around her new town as she hunts for friendship and new family even as she learns more about the mother she lost. It’s a mangy mutt that helps break into the world of so many interesting people in her town. I’ve read this book at least a dozen times, and I’m always in love with the tangled ways that bring so many disparate characters together by the end of the book. 

Bonus: it contains the best fictional candy of all time: the Littmus Lozenge!

Although Because of Winn-Dixie was not written eighty years ago, I think it is destined to become a classic like Lassie Come-Home. Kate DiCamillo is my absolute favorite author of books for any age, and this is my favorite of her books. When ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local grocery store to buy groceries for her and her preacher father, she comes home instead with a scruffy, homeless dog she names Winn Dixie. And as the title says, it is because of Winn Dixie that all kinds of interesting things and people come into this lonely…

From Bobbie's list on about dogs for grades 3 and up.

A lonely girl adopts a dog who becomes a sort of friendship gateway for her. Because of her new dog—Winn Dixie—India Opal forms many friendships with the people in her new town, and generally brings the community together. This book was a favorite for my son and I to read together when he was small. I return to it every few years and am never disappointed. A perennial favorite.

This book touched my heart the first time I read it. I love that it depicts strangers as people who can become friends, who can come together and heal each other. Opal feels alone after she and her Dad move to Naomi. But thanks to Winn-Dixie, a mangy dog who adopts her, Opal slowly builds a community in her new town. She discovers that everyone has a story and that all sorts of different people can become family, even if they aren’t related.

I love this beautifully written story of friendship and loss. No life is without struggle. But when it comes, animals have an uncanny ability to reach into our hearts and to soothe the ache. Readers will fall in love with ten-year-old Opal who finds hope and friendship where she least expects it – in a grocery store! The spirited stray dog, which she names Winn Dixie, turns out to be more than a furry face in need of a home. He reminds Opal that hurts can heal, and that forgiveness has a power all its own.

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