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Because of Winn-Dixie Paperback – February 10, 2009

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Editorial Reviews Review

Because of Winn-Dixie, a big, ugly, happy dog, 10-year-old Opal learns 10 things about her long-gone mother from her preacher father. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes new friends among the somewhat unusual residents of her new hometown, Naomi, Florida. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to find her place in the world and let go of some of the sadness left by her mother's abandonment seven years earlier.

With her newly adopted, goofy pooch at her side, Opal explores her bittersweet world and learns to listen to other people's lives. This warm and winning book hosts an unforgettable cast of characters, including a librarian who fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace, an ex-con pet-store clerk who plays sweet music to his animal charges, and the neighborhood "witch," a nearly blind woman who sees with her heart. Part Frankie (The Member of the Wedding), part Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird), Opal brings her own unique and wonderful voice to a story of friendship, loneliness, and acceptance. Opal's down-home charm and dead-on honesty will earn her friends and fans far beyond the confines of Naomi, Florida. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Through the love she gains from her new pet, a girl gains the courage to ask her father about the mother who abandoned them. "In this exquisitely crafted first novel [a Newbery Honor book], each chapter possesses an arc of its own and reads almost like a short story in its completeness," said PW in our Best Books of 2000 citation. Ages 8-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Series: Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763644323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763644321
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo's writing, and no matter their nationality or age, readers around the world have come to appreciate and anticipate the messages of shared humanity and connectedness in her work.

In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself facedown on the ocean floor -- lost, and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux -- the Newbery Medal-winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures --stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And The Magician's Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to
ask the question, What if?

Kate DiCamillo's own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her twenties, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie -- her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. "After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls," she says. "I was stunned. And very, very happy."

The author's second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Award Finalist. And since then, this master storyteller, whose books are now published in more than forty languages, has written for a wide range of ages. Her luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy, is enjoyed by children as young as preschoolers. Three early-chapter-book series demonstrate a quirky humor that appeals to emerging readers, whether the books feature "porcine wonder" Mercy Watson in her obsessive pursuit of buttered toast, or Bink and Gollie, who embody the tall and short of a marvelous friendship. More recently, spin-off characters from Mercy Watson have appeared in Tales from Deckawoo Drive, a series launched in Fall 2014 with the first title featuring the reformed thief Leroy Ninker.

Kate DiCamillo's latest novel and second Newbery Medal winner, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, was released in Fall 2013 to great acclaim, garnering five starred reviews and an instant spot on the New York Times bestseller list. A laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format -- a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page black-and-white illustrations by K. G. Campbell -- Flora & Ulysses was named a finalist for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize; chosen by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year; and designated a Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.

It's no wonder that Kate DiCamillo was selected to be the U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014-2015. Of that mission, and on the power of stories, she says, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another."

Born in Philadelphia, Kate DiCamillo lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

262 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Ann W. on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As my ten-year-old daughter and I were browsing for new realistic fiction children's books to fulfill a school reading assignment, we, by chance, came across "Because of Winn-Dixie," by Kate DiCamillo. The title of the book (and the fact that it was new) influenced our purchase, but it wasn't until my daughter and I read it that we realized what a treasure we had discovered. Both children and adults will be drawn into the story of India Opal Buloni's tenth summer, when she adopts a big, ugly, but affable dog, Winn-Dixie, named after the Florida grocery store where he was found. India Opal, or Opal for short, is a preacher's daughter with a fairly unusual name. Opal has some major life adjustments to make, after moving with her dad to a trailer in a strange, new town. While trying to break through the seemingly impenetrable shell of her introverted father's feelings, she also has to wrestle with her own sadness, disappointment, and curiosity about her alcohol-abusing mother, who deserted the family when Opal was three years old. Winn-Dixie, a magnificent mutt who, among other talents, can smile with his teeth, is the facilitator of a number of new and sometimes unlikely friendships that Opal establishes over the summer, including one with her father. "Because of Winn-Dixie" acknowledges in is characters their shortcomings and sufferings, but the triumph of this book is how it celebrates friendship, forgiveness, tolerance, and new beginnings. (P.S. You might want to have a handkerchief on hand for some parts.)
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145 of 150 people found the following review helpful By X. Libris on May 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Our elementary school library just acquired two copies of "Because of Winn-Dixie," because of its status as a Newbery Honor book. I gave it to one of our fourth grade teachers to preview. She devoured it, raved about the book and immediately began reading it aloud to her class. Now we have a growing list of students waiting for it on hold.
Before letting the kids check it out, I read it, and absolutely loved it. The other reviews here give you a good picture of what the book is about. What I liked about "Winn-Dixie" is that it packs a lot of grace and wisdom into an appealing scruffy dog story. For example, when Opal befriends elderly Gloria Dump, she asks her about learning "the most important thing."
"'It's different for everyone,' she said. 'You find out on your own. But in the meantime, you got to remember, you can't always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now.'"
Quite often in the past few years I've been disappointed by titles that have received the Newbery Medal or Honor. "Because of Winn-Dixie" is a title that genuinely deserves this honor. In my opinion, this Honor book will become a classic, much as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Newbery Honor books of the 1930s and 1940s are still being read today.
Very rarely do I read a book that I insist my friends and fellow teachers read, or that I'm tempted to buy for many people. "Because of Winn-Dixie" falls into that category.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By D. Treiber on June 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Racing through an airport, I spotted this book for sale and purchased it for my 9 year-old. I started reading Winn-Dixie just to get a feel for the story and the next thing I knew, I had finished the book, missed the first hour of the flight and had throughly enjoyed a book I thought was written for children! Needless to say, my daughter enjoyed the book so much that she, her father and her younger sister then read the book aloud together. I plan to read Winn-Dixie aloud to my 8th grade students next fall. Buy this book. It is remarkable and to not read it is to miss a wonderful story by a very talented writer for all ages.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I rate this book five out of five dogs. Because of Winn-Dixie is a terrific story about as lonely girl, named Opal,and a stray dog, named Winn-Dixie, who change each other's lives. Winn-Dixie helps Opal make friends in her new home, Naomi, Florida. She moved there with her dad, the preacher, when he got a job there. Opal is lonely because her mom left when Opal was three. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets all sorts of new friends. I recommend this book to all people who love dogs. This book is special because it won the Newbery Honor Award in 2001. Winn-Dixie is the first book by the author, Kate DiCamillo, who works in a children's bookstore. I rate this book 5 out of 5 dogs and highly recommend it to all who like great stories about dogs--especially those who don't die at the end of the book!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Because of Winn-Dixie is the best book I've ever read!It is about a girl named India Opal who is new in Naomi Florida who is in desperate need of friends. Opal finds a stray dog at a Winn-Dixie grocery store who is also in need of a friend. Their lives change from that point on. This is a great story about friendship. You'll want to buy a dog after reading this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the differences in the children's book world is that everyone always asks, "What age is the book good for?" We never ask this of adult books. Here is a book for any age. Anyway, this is a wonderful, warm book about survival and rebuilding. Opal,the young protagonist and her adopted dog, Winn-Dixie, both have to rebuild trust after betrayal. The setting is sultry Florida and the town is Any Small Town in America. The community that Opal discovers and the forgiveness she must extend will captivate all readers to the very end. I would compare this with Dicey's Song and with Clyde Edgerton's prose. I will give this book as a gift to ten year olds and anyone else, of any age, who can read!
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