Because of Winn Dixie

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: Review and Activities*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

The Book

Title: Because of Winn-Dixie
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Age Range: 9-12
Grade Level: 4-7

Because of Winn-Dixie is about a girl name India Opal that claims ownership of a stray dog causing chaos in the local grocery store. Being new in town, Opal hasn’t made many friends, but Winn-Dixie changes all that by bringing her together with a host of interesting characters in their small town. Even though her mama left when she was three and it’s just her and the preacher (her daddy), Opal soon discovers that her heart can be full again…all because of Winn-Dixie.

My Thoughts

After reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, I was itching to pick up another Kate DiCamillo book.  This one didn’t disappoint.  Even though I knew a movie version had come out a number of years ago, I like to read the book first!

Because of Winn-Dixie totally engages the reader.  Right away I liked India Opal and thought she had so much spunk! I love how the the author used a dog in this story to help Opal connect not only to her new community, but also to her daddy. Dogs certainly provide friendship and unconditional love and any child who has wanted desperately to take home a stray will be encouraged by Winn-Dixie.

There are some concepts in the story that are better suited for the older reader: Opal has a mother that left when she was three; Amanda has experienced the loss of a sibling; Gloria admits to have once had an addiction to alcohol. Be prepared to answer any questions your child may have concerning these sensitive subjects when you read the book. (I’ve included some links below to help you get started.)

We did rent the movie from the library after we (my daughter and I) finished reading the book.  As is common, the movie doesn’t follow the book exactly and my daughter was constantly pointing out the differences. Overall, we liked the movie, but the book was much better!

Resources for Teaching



The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo: Review and Activities*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

The Book

Title: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Age Range: 7-10 years
Grade Level: 2-5

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is about a precious china rabbit that is loved by a little girl named Abilene.  Edward is very vain and thinks only about himself and how special he is…until one day when he finds himself lost in the depths of the ocean.  From a fisherman’s net to a toy shelf, the journey is more than Edward trying to find his way back to Abilene.  It is a journey of a self-absorbed rabbit learning to love and care for others.

(Even though this book isn’t about a live rabbit, I found that the teachable points of the story were well worth the read.)

Write Through the Bible

My Thoughts

While exploring book titles for rabbits, I came across The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I have a habit for searching out 5-star reviews and was curious as to what made this book so special to earn those coveted 5 stars.  I picked it up at the library (though I enjoyed it so much I bought my own copy) and read it quickly once I arrived home.  This book was one I could not put down.  I followed Edward through his amazing character transformation which is full of heartbreak and hope.  Edward is not a very likeable rabbit at the beginning, but that starts to change as he finds himself moving from one place to another, with each experience having an impact on how he perceives the world.

Edward goes through a range of feelings throughout the book, which is a wonderful way to teach about different emotions to kids.  One of the most important concepts taught is how opening one’s heart to love does not come without pain, but the way it can change us is worth the risk.

The book contains excellent life lessons that could lead to insightful discussions such as:

    1. Vanity and the negative consequences
    2. Opening your heart to love again after being hurt
    3. Learning the importance of putting others first

Resources for Teaching

I try to include as many free resources for you as possible, though I know there are some wonderful activities available all over the internet for just a few dollars.

    • Save