Because of Winn-Dixie is Kate DiCamillo's first novel, and it catapulted her into the top category of children's writers working today. The book has won a number of prestigious awards, including a Newberry Honor Distinction in 2001. The New York Times bestseller was adapted into a movie in 2005. Although she has gone on to write a number of successful children's novels, Because of Winn-Dixie is arguably DiCamillo's most beloved work.
Because of Winn-Dixie follows a young girl named India Opal Bulloni, who has just moved to the new town of Naomi, Florida, and is facing life with no mother and no friends. She lives alone with her father, an emotionally reserved preacher in the Friendly Corners Trailer Park. Opal and Winn-Dixie are destined to meet. When Opal happens upon the troublemaking stray in the local supermarket, she knows that she cannot condemn the friendly dog to the pound.
Opal brings Winn-Dixie home and embarks on a series of mini-adventures that lead her to a host of characters and build Opal and Winn-Dixie a community in the new town. Together, Opal and Winn-Dixie befriend a librarian with a fear of bears and a love of telling stories, an ex-convict pet shop manager with musical talent, a little girl who longs for a dog of her own and loves the color pink, among many others. Along the way, Opal faces her loneliness and learns to cope with the loss of her mother.