Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie

Candlewick Press, March 2000
Ages 9-12
ISBN 978-1-5362-1434-5

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.

Awards and Honors

  • Newbery Honor Book
  • ABC Children’s Choice Award
  • Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Book Award
  • ALSC Notable Children’s Book
  • Arizona Grand Canyon Young Reader Award, Intermediate
  • Arkansas Charlie May Simon Award
  • Bank Street College Josette Frank Award for Fiction
  • Book Sense 76 selection
  • Book Sense Best Book
  • Book Sense Book of the Year
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon
  • California Young Reader Medal
  • Children’s Book Councils’ Not Just for Children Anymore!
  • Children’s Librarians of Dover, NH Cochecho Readers’ Award
  • Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
  • Colorado Children’s Book Award
  • Connecticut Nutmeg Children’s Book Award
  • Delaware Library Association Blue Hen Award
  • Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award
  • Hawaii Nene Award
  • Illinois School Library Media Association Bluestem Award
  • Indiana Young Hoosier Award
  • International Literacy Association Young Adults’ Choices Reading List
  • Iowa Children’s Choice Award
  • Judy Lopez Memorial Awards for Children’s Literature
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award
  • Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award Honor Book
  • Maine Student Book Award
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
  • Maryland Children’s Book Award
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award
  • Michigan Mitten Book Award
  • Missouri Association of School Librarians Truman Readers Award
  • National Association for Humane and Environmental Education KIND Children’s Book Award
  • Nebraska Golden Sower Award
  • Nevada Young Readers’ Award
  • New Hampshire Great Stone Face Children’s Book Award
  • New Jersey Library Association Garden State Children’s Book Award
  • New Mexico Land of Enchantment Book Award
  • New York Library Association 3 Apples Book Award
  • New York Public Library Best 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
  • New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award
  • Ohio Buckeye Children’s Book Award
  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Children’s Book Award
  • Oklahoma State Children’s Sequoyah Award
  • Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award in the Junior Division
  • Parents’ Choice Award
  • Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • Rhode Island Children’s Book Award
  • Riverbank Review Children’s Books of Distinction
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Smithsonian Magazine’s Notable Books for Children
  • South Carolina Children’s Book Award
  • South Dakota Library Associations Prairie Pasque Book Award
  • Southeast Booksellers Association Best Book of the Year
  • Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Vermont Department of Libraries Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award
  • Virginia State Reading Association’s Young Readers Award
  • Voice of Youth Advocates Award
  • Washington Reading Association Sasquatch Reading Award
  • Washington State Book Award
  • West Virginia Children’s Choice Book Award
  • William Allen White Children’s Book Award
  • Wisconsin Golden Archer Book Award

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. (School Library Journal, starred review)

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. (Parents Choice Gold Award Winner)