Because of Winn-Dixie is a best selling children's novel by Kate DiCamillo published in 2000 and winner of a Newbery Honor distinction the following year. It also won the 2000 Josette Frank Award, and 2003 Mark Twain Award. It has been adapted as a 2005 family film, directed by Wayne Wang, produced by Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox.
"Winn Dixie is no ordinary dog. Big, skinny and smelly he may be, but he also has the most winning smile...just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn Dixie."
It is essentially about a little girl called Opal who finds a dog and how that dog helps her to make some unusual friends, who all in their own way enhance her life and help her find the good in everyone.
India Opal Buloni is a 10-year-old girl who has just moved to a trailer park in the small town of Naomi, Florida, with her itinerant preacher father. While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, she encounters a scruffy dog wreaking havoc. She claims the dog is hers to save it from going to the pound and names it Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie's first act of inspiration on Opal is for her to challenge her father to name ten things about her mother, who abandoned them years before. Winn-Dixie also becomes friends with everyone he encounters, and this encourages Opal to make new friends and gradually learn they all have burdened pasts. Miss Franny Block is the town librarian with a large family reputation to uphold; Gloria Dump is a blind black woman and recovering alcoholic feared of being a witch by neighbourhood children; Otis is a shy ex-con pet store clerk with a musical streak. Opal gains wisdom and different outlooks on life through relationships with adults and peers, and grows emotionally in the process. She and Gloria host a party for all her friends to meet, but a thunderstorm breaks it up and scares Winn-Dixie away. While searching for him, Opal and her father rekindle their strained relationship.
This book is a firm favourite with my children as both a read-aloud and a reader (about 8+). I love this book myself. It is a very heart warming story and completely inoffensive :) There's a film of it too if you like to watch what you read! A+++ - excellent!!
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- Reading Age: 8+
- Reading Aloud Age: 5+
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