2001 Newbery Honor book

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Candlewick Press, March 2000
Ages 9-12, ISBN 0-76360-776-2

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, 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 or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship-and forgiveness-can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

Read the Reviews
India Opal Buloni, 10, finds a big, ugly, funny dog in the produce department of a Winn-Dixie grocery store. She names him accordingly and takes him home to meet her father, a preacher. Her daddy has always told her to help those less fortunate, and surely Winn-Dixie is in need of a friend. Opal needs one, too. Since moving to Naomi, FL, she has been lonely and has been missing her mother more than usual. When she asks her father to tell her 10 things about her mother, who left the family when Opal was three, she learns that they both have red hair, freckles, and swift running ability. And, like her mother, Opal likes stories. She collects tales to tell her mother, hoping that she'll have a chance to share them with her one day. These stories are lovingly offered one after another as rare and polished gems and are sure to touch readers' hearts. They are told in the voice of this likable Southern girl as she relates her day-to-day adventures in her new town with her beloved dog. Do libraries need another girl-and-her-dog story? Absolutely, if the protagonist is as spirited and endearing as Opal and the dog as lovable and charming as Winn-Dixie. This well-crafted, realistic, and heartwarming story will be read and reread as a new favorite deserving a long-term place on library shelves. —Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego, School Library Journal

2000 Parents' Choice® Gold Award Winner:

Although she lives in the Friendly Corners Trailer Park, ten-year-old Opal has no friends. She and her preacher father have moved to Naomi Florida for her father's new job. Here, on an errand to the local grocery store, Opal acquires a unique friend, a large brown stray that she names for the store Winn-Dixie. The dog proves to have exquisite taste in people; Winn- Dixie charms his way into everyone's heart. A totally lovable dog and likable characters are part of this humorously gentle, warm, enthralling story about all sorts of friendships. The writing is clear, simple and high quality. —Kemie Nix, Parents Choice

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