Just about everything that happened to me that summer happened because of Winn-Dixie.
I am beyond excited that Kate KiCamillo will visit Sydney next month. And I am jumping up and down because twenty lucky students from my school will be able to hear her speak. I know I will be smiling right through the day just the way Winn-Dixie does in this book.
We are all reading (and in my case re-reading) as many of her books as we can squeeze in before this exciting Sydney Writer's Festival event. If you cannot come to this event take a look at Kate's question and answers on her web site.
This morning I picked up Because of Winn-Dixie. I first read this book 17 years ago and today I just loved it all over again. This is a ten out of ten book! I love books where lonely people are bought together and I can totally relate to Opal's relationship with her dog. The name Winn-Dixie is so funny - I love to tell students in my library the origin of this name and I also mention the other funny American supermarket name The Piggly Wiggly which we read about when we talk about Rosa Parks.
There is so much quiet wisdom in this book. Opal may be lonely and confused as to why her mother left when she was just three years old but her warmth, good humour, sense and gentle understanding of other people and herself work together to bring a group of other isolated people together. In the end there is no need to be lonely any more and some true healing can begin.
Here are a few quotes from the book that I treasure :
"It's not hard to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor."
"All of a sudden, I felt happy. I had a dog. I had a job. I had Miss Franny Block for a friend. And I had my first invitation to a party in Naomi. It didn't matter that it came from a five-year-old and the party wasn't until September. I didn't feel so lonely anymore."
"Why don't you go on and tell me everything about yourself, so I can see you with my heart."
"He (the preacher) leaned way over and gave Winn-Dixie a kiss, too, right on top of his head."
Read some reviews
A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice.
''Because of Winn-Dixie'' is a poignant and delicately told story of a dog as a child's much-needed best friend.
New York Times
...it is almost impossible not to fall in love with Opal, a little girl who doesn’t understand why her mummy went away; a little girl with a heart that is big enough to fit everyone she meets, even if she doesn’t think so at first.
Kids Book Review
Here are a set of discussion questions.
I have talked about other Kate DiCamillo books on this blog - clearly I am a huge fan.
Here are alternate covers for Because of Winn Dixie and the movie jacket. I also thoroughly recommend the movie - just perfect.