Rita Porcarelli Letter Essay #3: Because of Winn-Dixie

Recently, I finished reading Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate Dicamillo. The genre of this book is Realistic Fiction. Kate Dicamillo is a famous American writer, who is 53 years old. Kate Dicamillo usually writes children’s literature books mostly about animals. Because of Winn-Dixie won the John Newbery medal, Dorothy  Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, and Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature. The book was published in 2000 and won the Newbery Honor the year after. Because of Winn-Dixie was made into a movie five years after the book was published.


The main character in the book is India Opal Buloni, a 10 years old girl. Opal’s mother left the preacher (Opals’ dad) and Opal when she was just a little girl. Opal and her dad are now trying to find Opal’s mother, so they moved to Florida to try. Opal feels lonely because she has no one to talk to. But one day, she goes to the grocery store and finds a dog running around and making a mess. She decides to name the dog Winn-Dixie like the grocery store she found the dog in. Opal brings the dog to the preacher, her father, begging him to keep the dog. The preacher was convinced and Opal kept Winn-Dixie.


Opal’s life changed when this dog became a part of her life. She felt better because Opal felt like she finally had some company. This dog helped her make more friends that Opal could talk to, read stories with, and play games with. Even Though she had WInn-Dixie and new friends,  she still tries to find her mom. Will Opal be lucky enough to find her?


I was struck and surprised by the passage: “‘Well,’ said the preacher. ‘He’s a stray if I’ve ever seen one’…’Are you looking for a home?’ the preacher asked, real soft, to Winn-Dixie. Winn Dixie wagged his tail. ‘Well,’ the preacher said. ‘I guess you’ve found one(pg 19).’” I thought the father would not let her keep the stray dog but he surprised me by quickly changing his mind.


The theme was inspiring in that it showed the importance of always having hope and fighting for what you want. When Opal was lonely and felt hopeless, she didn’t give up but had hope that she would make friends and eventually find her mother. That is when she found Winn-Dixie and continued to fight for what she wanted, by convincing her dad to let her keep the dog. Also, her mother left at a young age but she never gave up hope to someday see her again.


I read this book because when I first heard about it, the book sounded really good. I read the back of the book and I like books that are about animals; therefore, I decided to read it. Some days I didn’t want to read that much but the book made the time go so by fast and once I started reading I couldn’t stop. It was interesting to guess what would happened next. I liked the way the author would leave chapters open so that I  had to think about what might happen. Out of ten, I would rate it an eight because it really gets you into reading one chapter after another because the suspense of what would happen next continued to build throughout the novel.


Rita Porcarelli

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4 thoughts on “Rita Porcarelli Letter Essay #3: Because of Winn-Dixie

  1. hey, I loved your description on this book now i want to read it. you had good information about the book and the author and her back around.

  2. Dear Rita,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay and you made me want to read this book. While I was reading, I could understand that you understood the book and were interested. I enjoyed reading about how the theme inspired you! Thank you for sharing and awesome job!


  3. Dear Rita,

    I really liked your letter essay it gave us a sense that you knew what you were talking about and that you really enjoyed the book. I really liked how you had a lot of description in your letter essay, It sounded like a really good book to read and you made me want to read it. You did an awesome job.


  4. Dear Rita,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay!
    you did an excellent job summarizing the book, and telling me why you enjoyed reading it. Now I really wanna read this book again!



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