Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

Paperback, 2001


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Call number

J Dic


Candlewick (2001), Paperback, 192 pages


Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member coolcaro
This book tells the story about a young girl (India Opal Buloni) who has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her father. She has been feeling really alone and missing her mother when she meets a dog who she names Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie becomes Opal's new best friend in this new town, and she meets
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lots of other friends throughout her time there. Each chapter is short and tells a story about one of her new friends. Winn-Dixie becomes her greatest friend of all and the person Opal can tell all her secrets to as she grows up throughout this story.
Opal meets several important people in the book--Otis, who runs the pet shop Opal works at and who used to be in jail because of playing music on his guitar too much; Miss Franny Block, the librarian, who Opal visits at the library and listens to her stories; and Gloria Dump, who Opal is told is a witch, but she is really just an old woman with no friends who can't see very well. Opal grows with each person she meets and learns from each of them about life, death, happiness, and sadness. Her father, who she calls "the preacher" is a prominent figure in her life. Although quiet, Opal looks up to him and asks him to tell her about her mother. Opal also learns about growing up and losing important people.
I think students from third grade up through adults would enjoy this book. It teaches many lessons and it a very enjoyable book. The text is easy to read with not a lot of words on each page and big letters, which makes it easier for younger students to read. However, the story itself makes it enjoyable for the wide array of ages. Animal lovers would enjoy this book, as would people who like to read about friendships. People who don't like to read a lot would also like this book because it is very easy to read.
As a teacher, I believe this would be a great book to read to my students. Not only does it teach the lessons I spoke of earlier (life, death, happiness, and sadness), which I can incorporate into life lessons for my students, but it also tells a story about a child and her best friend, which students can easily relate to. The book is an easy read so I could read it aloud to my students or trust that they can read it themselves. Each character could be talked about in depth with my students, and how they impacted Opal's life. Finally, at the end, we could talk about what it's like to lose someone who is important to us, and how each of us has been affected by losing someone or knowing someone who lose someone. We can talk about the important people in our lives and why they are important. It is a sweet book that young children can understand and gain a better understanding of their own lives from.
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LibraryThing member phoenixcomet
A wonderful tale, perfectly read, about a dog, a girl, the preacher (her father), and friendship. This tale can warm the coldest heart. Winn Dixie is a stray picked up by a 10 year old girl, Opal, who just moved to the neighborhood with the preacher, in the local Winn Dixie supermarket. Her mother
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abandoned her when she was a baby and she's lonely. But through Winn Dixie Opal finds happiness, friendship and greater understanding of life.
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LibraryThing member vsnod
Because of Winn Dixie is about a ten year-old girl who finds a dog in the most odd of places and names him in an interesting way. She convinces her dad who is “the preacher” that they should keep it. India Opal has struggled with being in a single parent household with only her father or “the
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preacher.” Lately since they have moved, she has been thinking a lot about her mom and Winn Dixie is always there to lend an ear or two. The main character, India Opal, recently moved to this new town and finding friends was a bit challenging for her—but, because of Winn Dixie, she is able to flip that around. She meets a dynamic group of characters, including Winn Dixie, who give her lessons about life that she willingly shares with “the preacher.”
The characters in the book definitely make it interesting. India Opal is a very spontaneous ten-year old girl. Missing her mother has sparked an inquisitive streak that she carries through in her everyday life. She is able to stand up for what she believes in and internalize the many ups and downs the world has to offer while still making them into a positive situation (with the help of Winn Dixie and a few others of course). Winn Dixie is a one of a kind dog. His interaction with people in the town is deeper than that of a simple person-dog encounter. He is able to read them as a person and respond to them in ways to let them know he understands. Winn Dixie is definitely the perfect pet match for India Opal. India Opal’s father or “the preacher” as she called him was a very logical thinking character. The fact that he felt more like a preacher to her than her father really said a lot. It wasn’t that he was a bad parent; he just had a shell that he slipped into every so often that made it hard for him and his daughter to communicate heart-to-heart. Otis was a very nice man. He was not ashamed about spending time in jail, because he knew he was not a bad person. With his guitar, he was able to calm a whole store of animals and became a great friend to India Opal. Miss Franny the librarian was a very entertaining character, she always had a story to tell or a book to suggest she gave India Opal a chance to live through her stories and share them with others. Gloria Dump (who India Opal thought was a witch for one minute) did not have the best eyesight, but she had a big heart. She would fix them (including Winn Dixie) peanut butter sandwiches and after or before India Opal shared her stories; Gloria Dump would offer a little piece of wisdom to take home. Sweetie Pie Thomas was only five, but India Opal found a friend in her anyway. She was full of energy and was always on the lookout for a dog just like Winn Dixie. Amanda appeared to be a sort of mean girl who did not want to be friends with India Opal, but after sharing the experience of a story and some candy—they realized there were things they could relate to each other. Stevie and Dunlap were brothers who India Opal thought looked like twins even though they were a year apart. They could be very mean to her, but after getting some wisdom from Gloria Dump, she decided she would try and change things.
The themes within this book are friendship and sadness. Friendship, because the book is centered around a young girl who has no friends and initially befriends her special dog that helps her make new ones. These friendships help to shape and mold her and give her something she shares with her dad “the preacher” which is stories and life lessons that she’s heard or talked about. These friendships create a group of people who seem so very different on the outside, but so alike behind the layers. The sadness theme was there considering the absence of her mother, but it resonated even more when everyone had a taste of Littmus Lozenges they could relate that taste of sadness to something within their own lives. These two themes complement each other, because either their sadness gave them a way to relate and become friends or they were already friends and the sadness that they felt did not have to be alone, but there was someone there for them.
I think the kinds of readers that would enjoy this book are readers who like dogs and know how hard it is to make new friends. Readers who would also enjoy this book can relate to it on some level—whether direct or indirect.
This is a book that can be used in a 3rd or 4th grade class because of the components of the book. It offers a first person point of view from a ten year-old girl and that is in the age range of the students, but a little older which makes it even better. The book talks about real issues that are great topics for book club or literary circles. The author is able to create vivid imagery of the pages in the book. This is a craft that students should study whether they’re writing fiction or non-fiction. It helps students see just how important details that create images in readers’ minds are to their writing. This story creates an effective blueprint or model for students to use during their times of fiction writing.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
In the spirit of 10-year-old India Opal Buloni, who likes to make lists, here are 10 things I like about Because of Winn-Dixie:
1. Winn-Dixie is a friendly dog who smiles.
2. Opal's daddy is a preacher, just like my daddy was.
3. Opal's friend Miss Franny Block is librarian who likes children and
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4. Opal's shy friend Otis has a gift for music with the ability to charm both people and animals.
5. The story reminds me that the best cure for loneliness is to look for opportunities to do something good for someone else.
6. It reminds me not to “judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now.”
7. It reminds me that “There ain't no way you can hold on to something that wants to go... You can only love what you got while you got it.”
8. It illustrates the possibility of finding family within a community.
9. The characters and their voices are exactly right.
10. It's just as good as the movie, a favorite that I could watch over and over again.
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LibraryThing member halo776
This is the story of India Opal Buloni, a 10-year old girl who lives with her dad, a preacher. Her mom left when she was 3, and they have just moved to Naomi, Florida. It's the summer, and Opal hasn't made any friends yet and is feeling very lonely. When she meets a stray dog at a Winn-Dixie
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grocery store, her life begins to get more interesting. Naming the dog Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to come out of her shell and meet some of the local characters. Her world is brightened by an elderly librarian, a nearly-blind recluse, a "pinch-faced" girl, 5-year old Sweetie Pie, a former convict, and two bald-headed boys. This is a sweet little story about a girl learning about friendship and letting go of the past. There is a particularly heartwarming story when Gloria encourages Opal not to judge others by what they've done in the past, but by what they're doing in the present. It's a sweet story with an even sweeter message. I'm so glad Kate DiCamillo managed to write a heartwarming story about a dog who doesn't die at the end!
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LibraryThing member catherine_14
Because of Winn-Dixie was a fabulous book that I loved so much. I may read it again in the future. If your wondering what it's about, I would be glad to tell you. A girl named Opal finds a lost dog and wants to keep it. Opal and her dad argue for awhile until Opal's dad finally agrees to let her
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keep him. The dog's name turns out to become Winn-Dixie. Opal and Winn-dixie go on adventure's together. Until Winn- Dixie is no where to be found.
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LibraryThing member mcelhra
This book was a selection for the intergenerational book club that my nine-year old son and I are in together. I really like Southern literature for adults and I found this to be a very charming example of middle-grade Southern fiction. Part of our book club discussion was trying to figure out in
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what time period the book is set in. Some of us thought the 1950s or 60s while others thought maybe as long ago as the 1920s. That the time period is left vague serves to make this book timeless and one that present day children can relate too as well as children in the future.

The characters in Winn-Dixie were each very well developed, especially considering this book is narrated in first person by a child of around 10 years old. Her narration was authentic for a child of that age and still so descriptive. Each character served to teach Opal some sort of moral lesson but it wasn’t heavy handed or preachy. The ensemble cast of varied characters in a small town reminded me of the Fannie Flagg novels (for grown-ups) I read and she’s one of my favorite authors.

Everyone in the book club agreed that this is a great book.

Side note: We try to have snacks at our meetings that are tied in some way to the book we have read. For the discussion of this book we had a big jar of pickles and a bag of Werther’s Original candy. You’ll have to read the book to find out why!
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LibraryThing member kyaffee
A witch, a preacher, a librarian and a dog. What do these four things have to do with each other? They all help guide Opal through her journey in Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Opal, a ten year old girl, recently moved to a new town, Naomi, Florida, and does not know anyone. Winn-Dixie is
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a loveable, smiling dog. When Opal finds Winn-Dixie in the grocery store her life begins to change. She begins to make friends with a variety of people in her new town. Her friends teach her valuable lessons throughout the book that help Opal come to terms with her mother leaving her and her father. The book is engaging and draws the reader in. It was hard to put down once I picked it up!

India Opal Buloni, who goes by Opal, is the main character in the book. She is ten years old and seems to be very independent. Winn-Dixie is Opal’s dog. He has a huge personality and is able to bring a smile to everyone’s face. The preacher is Opal’s father. Opal describes him as a turtle that draws his head into his shell. Opal becomes friends with Miss Franny Block, the librarian, Gloria Dump, who children think is a witch, and Otis, the owner of a pet shop. She also becomes friends with Sweetie Pie Thomas, Amanda Wilkinson, and Stevie and Dunlap Dewberry.

Friendship is a major theme throughout the book. Opal creates many new friendships throughout the book and creates friendships between other characters. Her friendships with these characters help her fill the hole in her heart. Another theme in the book is the love between a child and a pet. In the book the bond between Opal and Winn-Dixie is very strong. She instantly cares about Winn-Dixie when she first meets him and continues to show their bond throughout the book. She needed Winn-Dixie to help her make new friends in the new town and he became someone to talk to when she needed it most.

Many different types of people would enjoy this book. I would recommend this book to any child aged eight and up. Children who enjoy stories about animals and have a strong bond with an animal would enjoy this book. Girls may easily identify with the main character. Children who are new to a town might also identify with Opal’s loneliness when she had not made friends yet. Even adults may enjoy this book.

This would be a great book to read in the classroom either as a read aloud or as a book club book. The book is well written and engaging. There is vocabulary the students can learn from the book, like melancholy, but not too much that would interfere with their understanding. There are a wide variety of characters that students could identify with. The book could be used to discuss friendship, loneliness, being new in town, or the bond with a pet. Kate DiCamillo uses great descriptions which make you think you can see Winn-Dixie smiling. The chapters are also pretty short which would be useful to break into segments.
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LibraryThing member LeHack
I read the book, but didn't see the movie. I volunteer for a literacy group and we selected this book several years ago for an annual contest for students. All the kids enjoyed it. Their coaches said they had so many opportunities for events related to the book - pickle parties, etc.
LibraryThing member enagreen
This is a wonderful book! I had no choice but to fall in love with Winn-Dixie and the rest of the characters and feel like they were part of my life. After I finished the book, I read the movie, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it stuck to the plot of the book. It wasn't exactly the same
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of course, but it was very similar. It is perfect for fourth grade, and would make a great lit. circle book.
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LibraryThing member candicebairn
Cute book, little kids would like it. The audio book had a great reader, Cherry Jones
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
This was not one of my favorites. First of all, I'm not a dog person. Second of all, this book was so hard to get seemed like a string of ancedotes about this dog and my thought was, "who cares?" I did enjoy Miss Franny Block, the librarian, and the details about Opal's mother, but the
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ending seemed rushed, tacked on and just made me want to throw the book across the room.
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LibraryThing member aprildt
This is a great little book about India Opal, a preacher's lonely daughter, who adopts a straggly dog. Several months unfold, filled with events that happened only because of Winn-Dixie. Easy, smooth narrative, punctuated with anecdotes, told by various characters. Utterly believable, delightful.
LibraryThing member PrincezzRyn
Very cute story staring a girl and her dog, Winn Dixie. They go through a lot together, and by the end you will have fallen in love with Winn Dixie and all the funny things she does!
LibraryThing member denelirate
This book makes me cry every time I read it. DiCamillo has a way with voice and characterization that I can't say I've found equaled in any other children's book I"ve come across, at least not in the same style. She has a way of getting into the main character's head, and getting the reader into
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it, too, so you look out at this paper-and-ink world through new eyes. It really makes you think about all the things in life we often take for granted.
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LibraryThing member goingmerry
Ah, Sweet Kate Dicamillo. She's one of my favorites. I thought Because of Winn-Dixie was very sweet and real. I appreciate the story very much. Keep up the great work Kate!
LibraryThing member MerryMary
It sounds so lame when I try to tell students about this book. "It's about this girl who moves to a new town in the summertime and has no friends until she finds this dog in the Winn Dixie supermarket." But trust me, this is a magical book with some amazing characters - not the least of which is
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this loopy, ridiculous dog who gallumps into your heart and makes himself at home.
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LibraryThing member michcall
This book just feels good all-round. It deals with real life issues in a sensitive way that is perfect for kids and adults. A great way for kids to understand and overcome loneliness.
LibraryThing member r13
This is one of those books that makes you feel so good inside--and don't let the movie be your only exposure to this book. It just doesn't do it justice. It is really great for teaching about character and plot. The journey that Opal goes on in finding herself is great to talk about character
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development and change.
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LibraryThing member cataylor
A sweet story to warm your heart that only takes an hour or so to read. An old dog, a little girl longing for her mom and a place to fit in, and a few misfits in a small town create the charm in this ageless tale. Read it aloud to your children no matter what their age.
LibraryThing member mspioneer
The book was very interesting because she gets into a lot of adventures. Winn-Dixie and India always get in a lot of trouble but it's very funny situations. You should read it to find out what happens to India because of Winn-Dixie, her dog. -B.C
LibraryThing member mspioneer
Indina moved to Florida and had no friends until she went to the Winn-Dixie store. There was a dog in the store. Someone asked whose dog is was and Indina claimed it. Then, everyone started to be friends with her. When she was at a party the dog ran away. She was so upset. WIll she ever find her
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dog? -DH
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LibraryThing member dylantanner
Opal is in a new town in Forida so her dad can preach in a new church. Her motherless life is lonely one until she encounters a giant, mangy, magical dog she names Winn Dixie. With Winn Dixie as a companion Opal finds that friends and purpose pop up in the most mysterious places.

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contemporary fiction

I loved this book. I found myself just drawling through the story as read out loud. The voice in the story is so strong it takes over.

DiCamillo is amazing. Kids relate to almost every part of the story and I found myself laughing out loud with my class on a number of occasions. Love flows through this book. It is amazing.
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LibraryThing member marisam5
winn-dixie is a great book. It is about a girl who meets a dog in a grocery store caleed winn-dixie. She brings the dog home and makes it apart of her family. If you enjoy reading aboutfriendship and happy stories you will love this book.
LibraryThing member anita.west
Because of Winn Dixie was a cute story. It was about a 10 year old girl named India Opal Buloni. Opal, as they called her, was of a lonely child during her first day in Naomi Florida where she had moved with her preacher father. One day things changed for India as she visited a local grocery store
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to pick up some things for her father. It was a dog named Winn Dixie, after the grocery store, which would help change her life. Winn Dixie gave Opal the courage to speak to her father about her mother’s abandonment when she was just 3 years old. He helped her meet new friends and best of all, establish a much better relationship with her father.

This was an easy read and a charming story. Having girls of my own that often have to experience moving and meeting new friends, I can relate to Opal. It is amazing that in real life animals can often impact people just as Winn Dixie impacted Opal.

This book would be great to keep on hand for the times we have to deal with hard issues such as abandonment, moving, making new friends etc. in the classroom. It would be a story that, as a teacher, I would share with my students to help them better understand some of these difficult issues. It would also be a great lead for a journal or story writing session ~ Write about a person, pet, friend etc. that has helped you through a difficult time in your life.
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Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2003)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2002)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2003)
Audie Award (Finalist — 2002)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 2003)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2002)
Parents' Choice Book Award (Fiction — 2000)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2002)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2003)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2003)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2002-2003)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 2001)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2003)
Bluestem Award (3rd Place — 2014)
Mark Twain Readers Award (Winner — 2003)
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (Winner — Grades 3-5 — 2002)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2002, 2003, 2004)
Indies Choice Book Award (Winner — Children's Literature — 2001)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2002)
Blue Hen Book Award (Winner — Middle Readers — 2002)
Iowa Children's Choice Award (Nominee — 2003)
Southern Book Prize (Winner — Children's — 2001)
Mitten Award (Winner — 2000)
Land Of Enchantment Book Award (Winner — Children's — 2003)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Winner — 2003)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2003)
Charlotte Award (Winner — 2002)
Josette Frank Award (Winner — 2000)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — Grades 4-6 — 2002)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Juvenile Books — 2002)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Grades 4-6 — 2003)
Maine Student Book Award (Winner — 2002)
South Carolina Book Awards (Winner — Children's Book Award — 2003)
Friends of American Writers Award (Juvenile Book — 2001)
Minnesota Book Awards (Finalist — Young Adult — 2001)
Great Reads from Great Places (Florida — 2007, 2002)


Original publication date


Physical description

192 p.; 5.92 inches


0763616052 / 9780763616052




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