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Introduction

Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo

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Author

Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo

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About the Book

At the start of Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Honor novel, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni has just moved to Naomi, Florida. Her mom has left the family, and her preacher father has been hiding in his old "turtle shell." All India Opal wants is a friend. That's when she finds Winn-Dixie, a stray dog she rescues at the local grocery store. Having Winn-Dixie is great. India Opal starts to meet people in town, her father starts poking out of his shell, and India Opal even begins to understand why her mother may have left. All this happens because of Winn-Dixie.

About the Author

Kate DiCamillo lived in the South for much of her childhood and received her bachelor's degree from University of Florida in Gainesville. She writes for children and adults and is a recipient of the 1998 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers. She says about Because of Winn-Dixie, "The book is (I hope) a hymn of praise to dogs, friendship and the south." 

Kate DiCamillo currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because of Winn-Dixie, her first work with Candlewick Press, is a Newbery Honor Book. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What brings India Opal and her father to Naomi?
  2. Describe Winn-Dixie. What is it about him that makes him appealing to India Opal?
  3. How does India Opal's father react to Winn-Dixie? How does she convince him to let the dog stay?
  4. What are the ten things that India Opal's father tells her about her mother? Connect these ten things to the rest of the story. (For example, number three is "She liked to plant things." India Opal later plants a tree with Gloria Dump.)
  5. Gloria Dump says that the most important thing in life is "different for everyone...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." What do you think this means? What does it mean to you?
  6. Why is Gloria Dump so important to India Opal?
  7. Who were some of your favorite characters in town? Describe them.
  8. How does a Littmus Lozenge work? Would you want to try one?
  9. What happens at the party to bring India Opal and her father together? What do you predict for their future?
  10. What does the title mean to you?