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Book Review: Because of Winn-Dixie

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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Because of Winn-Dixie is a beautiful story that will invoke childhood memories of summer fun and friends.

Because of Winn-Dixie focuses on a child, who is being raised by her father, and her new friend, "Winn-Dixie." Due to the grief and loss experienced by Opal and her father, is Because of Winn-Dixie a good story for foster or adopted children?

The Storyline

While shopping at a local Winn-Dixie, Opal witnesses a stray dog causing quite a stir. Somehow this crazed mutt managed to get into the store and run around like mad. Opal claims the dog as her own and names him Winn-Dixie.

Opal, who is 10 years old, is new to the Florida town and lives with her father, the preacher. With the help of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes new friends. She also begins to talk more about her mother who abandoned her several years before.

Is "Because of Winn-Dixie" a Good Choice for Foster or Adopted Children?

The story does center around a child who is missing her mother who abandoned her, however, author, Kate DiCamillo, handles the story line beautifully. I liked how Opal asks her dad to tell her 10 things about her mother. I thought that this might be a great exercise for children who miss their parents; a short list of positives to memorize and/or write in a journal or lifebook.

Sadness is, of course, a part of the story, but so is hope, friendship, and love. The characters move on with their lives and grow out of their own loss and sadness. Another great example. Because of Winn-Dixie demonstrates to the readers how everyone has experienced a loss and life still goes on. The characters talk about their losses and compassion is shown to each other. This is a wonderful model for the children who will read and love this book.

There is still much fun to be had as the dog and his little owner get into a few situations at church, the grocery store, and the library. Children will smile while reading Because of Winn-Dixie. I would not hesitate to allow my foster or adopted children to read it.

About the Author

Kate DiCamillo lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She won the Newberry Honor award for Because of Winn-Dixie and the 2003 Newberry award for The Tale of Despereaux.

More Information

Because of Winn-Dixie is a beautifully written story that children and adults will enjoy. Loss is a main theme and is dealt with in an uplifting way.

Because of Winn-Dixie is recommended for children between the ages 9-12.

(Published by the Candlewick Press, March 2000
ISBN 0-76360-776-2)

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