Because of Winn-Dixie
|Media type||Hardcover and Paperback|
|Followed by||The Tiger Rising|
Because of Winn-Dixie is a children's novel written by Kate DiCamillo, which was published in 2000, and was the winner of a Newbery Honor distinction the following year. In 2000, the book won the Josette Frank Award, and in 2003 won the Mark Twain Award. It was adapted as a 2005 family film directed by Wayne Wang, produced by Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox, and starring AnnaSophia Robb as Opal Buloni.
In 2007 the U.S. National Education Association named Winn-Dixie one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children", based on an online poll. In 2012 it was ranked number 20 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal – the first of three books by DiCamillo in the Top 100.
A 10-year-old girl named India Opal Buloni has just moved to a trailer park in the small town of Naomi, Florida, with her father, The Preacher, known as that because he preaches at the local church. While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, Opal sees a scruffy dog wrecking the store. Opal claims the dog is hers, and takes it home to The Preacher. Opal christens the dog Winn-Dixie, after the supermarket. She asks her father to list ten things about her mother, who abandoned them.
Miss Franny Block, a librarian, shares great stories about her past including one about her great-grandfather, whose family members died while he was fighting for the South in the Civil War. He invented Littmus Lozenge candies, which tasted like 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 learns that her sour faced neighbor, Amanda Wilkinson, lost her brother Carson because he drowned. She vows to be nicer to her from then on.
Opal finds a dog collar that she wants to buy for Winn-Dixie but she has no money and decides to work for the pet store to earn it. Otis, owner of the pet shop, is unwilling to hire Opal as a cleaning girl, but she comes to work. When Opal finishes cleaning the windows, she and Winn-Dixie step into the store, and the animals panic when they see the big dog. Otis plays his guitar to calm them. Opal learns that Otis once went to jail for hurting a police officer after he was told that he could not play his guitar on the street.
Opal and recovering alcoholic Gloria Dump decide to host a small party, inspired by the party in Gone With the Wind, inviting everyone they know. In the process, Opal becomes a friend to her former enemies, the brothers Stevie and Dunlap Dewberry. She also invites Amanda Wilkinson, and Sweetie Pie Thomas, a girl who has no pet, and so had fallen in love with Winn-Dixie. Otis and Miss Franny Block are also invited.
They set up everything outside, but it starts to rain, so they bring the party inside. Opal can't find Winn-Dixie anywhere, even after searching the town. Ten minutes later she returns to Gloria's home, to discover that Winn-Dixie had been there all the time, hiding because he is scared of storms. The book ends with Otis playing his guitar and everyone singing one of The Preacher's songs.
- Newbery Medal winners
- Josette Frank Award winners
- Mark Twain Award winners
- Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) Allmovie entry
- Because of Winn-Dixie - IMDb Retrieved 2015-08-22
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
- Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Retrieved August 19, 2012.