Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo


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  • Item #058990 in Online-Only Online-Only
    • Grades: 3 - 5
    • Ages: 8 - 11
    Newbery Honor
    • Format: Paperback Book
      Paperback Book
Short Summary
It's not easy being the new girl in town, but Opal's new dog has an almost magical knack for turning lonely people into new best friends.

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The summer Opal and her preacher father move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog—a big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie, and perhaps because she has grown up a bit too, Opal learns to let go a little. She also learns that friendship and forgiveness can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm. Beloved by critics and teachers, this extraordinary book is an enduring favorite for young readers.
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Product Details

    • Grades: 3 - 5
    • Ages: 8 - 11
  • Product Type: Book
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5 1/4" x 7 5/8"
  • Language: English
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-439-25051-1

Editorial Reviews

In this exquisitely crafted first novel, each chapter possesses an arc of its own and reads almost like a short story in its completeness."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

When she was five years old, two-time Newbery Medal–winning author Kate DiCamillo moved with her mother and brother from Philadelphia to a small, very friendly town in Florida. She was suffering from chronic pneumonia, and the doctors recommended a warmer climate. It was there that she met many of the people (and one very special dog) who became the basis for the characters in some of her books. "I wrote Because of Winn-Dixie because I was homesick for Florida," she explains. She had moved to Minneapolis by then—where in the winter, it is very, very cold.

Because of her illness, DiCamillo learned very early to entertain herself with books. But she didn't begin her career as a writer until the age of 29, when she went to work for a book warehouse and was assigned the floor where all of the children's books were stored. For four-and-a half years, DiCamillo spent every workday with those books and, eventually, she fell in love with children's literature.

"It's not enough just to have talent, if you want to be a successful writer," says DiCamillo. It takes work. She writes two pages a day, five days a week—which means that it takes her about a year to finish each book. To the many children who contact her each year to ask about writing, DiCamillo has some very simple advice: "If you want to be a writer, write a little bit every day. Pay attention to the world around you. Stories are hiding, waiting everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and your heart."

Kate DiCamillo won a Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux in 2004 and another for Flora & Ulysses in 2013. In 2014 she was appointed US National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress.