Publication Date: March 2000
Reading Level: Lexile Measure 670L, Scholastic Guided Reading Level R
Interest Level: Grades 4-7
Major Awards: 2001 Newbery Honor
Number of Pages: 208 pages
Approximate Word Count: 63,440 words -- The average reader will spend 4 hours and 13 minutes reading Because of Winn-Dixie at 250 words per minute.*
Audible Book Length: 2 hrs and 29 mins
Book Themes: Abandonment, Compassion and Forgiveness, Isolation, Friendship, Family, Love, Courage
Genre: Young Adult Literature; Comedy; Coming-of-Age
Setting: A Small Town in Florida
There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.
First Line: My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.
Point of View: First Person (Central Narrator -- Opal)
War Books Mentioned in the Novel
We found it interesting that Kate DiCamillo mentions three books in Because of Winn Dixie. Each of these three famous books deal with a war theme. Was this coincidence or not?
- Johnny Tremain - early Revolutionary War
- War and Peace - the story of Napoleon's invasion of Russia
- Gone with the Wind - Civil War
Kate DiCamillo grew up in South Florida. She attended the University of Florida in Gainesville. After getting a degree she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she worked for a book distributor called The Bookman in Minneapolis.
While working for The Bookman, DiCamillo wrote short stories. DiCamillo received a grant from the McKnight Foundation to help support herself while writing her first novel. Because of Winn-Dixie was completed in March 2000. It tells the story of a ten-year-old girl named Opal. She and her preacher father move to Naomi, Florida. On the way to the store Winn-Dixie, Opal meets a dog. The dog was going to be sent to the pound so Opal claims it and names the dog after the store Winn-Dixie. With her new dog at her side Opal is able to explore her new home and meet new friends.
Because of Winn-Dixie was chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 2001. DiCamillo published her second book called The Tiger Rising in March 2001.