Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Many of you had read Because of Winn Dixie prior to book club this week and so I encouraged you to pick up another one of Kate DiCamillo’s books. I loved Louisiana’s Way Home and am eagerly wanting to read Raymie Nightingale and Beverly, Right Here.
If I could have one author come and join me for tea at the Library it would be Ms. Kate DiCamillo
“The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends, and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship-and forgiveness-can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.” Description from the Author’s webpage
What does sadness taste like?
This will be the final question of book club on Wednesday. I know that some of you may need to send your description of what sadness tastes like to me in private and that is o.k. [email protected] Sorrow has a different flavor for everyone.
- “Wait a minute!” Opal says to the store manager (page 9) when he threatens to send Winn-Dixie to the pound. “That’s my dog.” How is she deceiving the man? How is she, at the same time, being truthful?
- Opal’s father is initially reluctant to let Opal keep Winn-Dixie. What are his objections? Why does he change his mind? Have you ever talked your parents in to something like taking in a stray?
- Miss Franny Block claims to have chased away a bear by hurling a big fat book at him. The bear left but kept the book. Do you think this incident really could have occurred? How might it also be a story about the power of literature? Do you think Miss Sherry is a good “story” teller?
- According to Opal’s father, Winn-Dixie has a pathological fear of thunderstorms. Whatis a pathological fear? Do any other characters in the novel suffer from fears? What frightens them? What are your fears?
- According to Sweetie Pie Thomas, a party isn’t a party without a theme (page 141) — and books need themes, too. In fact, good books can have several themes, important ideas read-ers can take away. What are the major themes of this novel?
- Themes: How were the following themes addressed in the book: Friendship, Love, Abandonment, Loss, Loneliness, Judgement, Acceptance, Isolation, Sadness, and Loyalty?
- Write a list of ten qualities that describe who you are. As models, use the lists describing Opal’s mother and Winn-Dixie.
- In the story Frannie compares life to a Littmus Lozenge, because the sweet and sad are often mixed up together. Do you agree with this point of view? How has your life been sweet and sad.
- After the party, Opal goes to Gloria’s mistake tree and tells her mother she won’t miss her as much because her heart feels full. How has Opal’s life changed to make her feel this way? Do any of you have a mistake tree, or a secret place to think?
- Opal wants to write her mother a letter telling her what she has learned over the summer because of Winn-Dixie and all her other new friends. What are some of the things Opal could say to her mother? Some of you may be feeling lonely because of the CoronaVirus situation. What are some of the things Opal learned about loneliness that you may be able to apply to your own life to help you through loneliness?
Discussion questions ideas from:
BooksCaps Study Guide available on the Idaho Digital Consortium
Instructional Guides For Literature available on the Idaho Digital Consortium
Ebook: Idaho Digital Consortium
Audiobook: Idaho Digital Consortium
Writing Narrative: (If any of you should choose to do this, I would be happy to publish it here on our website.)
Imagine Miss Frannie the librarian has asked you to tell a story about something amazing that happened to you. Think about something that’s happened in your life that would make a great story. Then write your story and share it with the group. Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I may not be the story teller that Miss Frannie is, but I hope that I can inspire you to write and share your stories. Perhaps, you may be the next Kate Di Camillo.