Because of Winn-Dixie

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Because of Winn-Dixie
Author Kate DiCamillo
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publisher Candlewick Press
Publication date
March 2000
Media type Hardcover and Paperback
Pages 182 pp.
ISBN 0-7636-0776-2
OCLC 41601218
Followed by The Tiger Rising

Because of Winn-Dixie is a children's novel written by Kate DiCamillo which was published in 2000 and the winner of a Newbery Honor distinction the following year.[1] In 2000, the book won the Josette Frank Award[2] and in 2003 won the Mark Twain Award.[3] Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[4] It was one of the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[5] It has been adapted as a 2005 family film, directed by Wayne Wang, produced by Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox.[6]


A 10 year old girl named India Opal had 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 encountered a scruffy dog that was wreaking havoc in the store. She claimed the dog as hers in order to save him from going to the pound and named him Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie's first act of inspiration on Opal was for the girl to challenge her father to list ten things about her mother, who had abandoned them years before, due to a problem with alcohol.

Opal also befriended the very wealthy librarian, Miss Franny Block, who shared great stories about her past, about the civil war, and --about a bear. Her tales included one about her great-grandfather, whose family members had all died while he was fighting the South in the Civil War. Grief-stricken upon his return from battle, he decided he wanted to live the remainder of his life filled with sweetness. Therefore, he invented Littmus Lozenge candies which tasted like a combination of root beer and strawberry but included a secret ingredient — sorrow. Anyone who tasted the candies tasted sweetness mixed with sadness. In Because of Winn-Dixie, these candies symbolize that even though life sometimes deals people a bit of sadness, there is always much to appreciate. Opal also encountered Gloria Dump, a woman thought to be a witch by many children, and Otis, the pet shop manager in Naomi. Otis was shy and distraught about his past because he had spent time in jail for playing his guitar on the street. Now he played for the pet shop animals and for a parrot named Gertrude.

Otis was the man who owned the pet shop. He didn't want to give Opal a job cleaning the pet shop, but Opal said "Thanks, I'll be here in the morning," before Otis could even say a word. The next day, Opal was there to work. She was already cleaning the windows while Otis was sitting comfortably on the floor playing his guitar. When Opal had finished the windows, she and Winn Dixie stepped into the store and she saw Otis sitting on the floor. All the animals started panicking when they saw the big furry dog. Birds were flying across the room and acting like clowns.Otis again played the guitar and the animals calmed down. Then Opal went to visit Gloria. They had a discussion and decided to host a small party. They invited everyone they knew, even old Amanda Wilkison. They set up everything on a dark night outside, but when the party had just begun it started to rain. Everyone helped to bring the party inside. Then, Otis arrived with a gift. It was the collar Winn−Dixie had wanted from Gertrude's. When Opal received the gift, she couldn't find Winn−Dixie anywhere. She immediately ran outside looking for the dog. She called his name over and over, but received no response. A few minutes later, she ran to her house to tell her father the dog was missing. They looked all over the city of Naomi, Florida. Her father got tired and they returned home, but Opal wouldn't give up on looking for her dog. Ten minutes later, they heard scratching on the door. was Winn-Dixie! Opal was relieved. The moment he walked in, the first thing he saw was his new collar.


  1. ^ Newbery Medal winners
  2. ^ Josette Frank Award winners
  3. ^ Mark Twain Award winners
  4. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) Allmovie entry