India Opal Buloni is lonely when she and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida. When she goes to the grocery store and a stray dog is causing havoc, she immediately claims him as her own. As Opal and Winn-Dixie wander the small town, they make friends with a diverse group of people—Otis, the pet shop worker/musician; Miss Franny Block, the old spinster librarian; Gloria Dump, who all the other kids call a witch; and even pinch faced Amanda Wilkinson. It is through her friendships that Opal learns everyone has their problems and weaknesses as well as great strengths. She and Winn-Dixie show the residents of Naomi that there is great strength in differences.
This is a story of a young girl and her dog, but it rings true for readers of all ages. We did this for a mother / daughter book group, but I also read it to my 4 and 5 year old sons. The story is engaging, but also teaches powerful lessons.