Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The Short of the Story:
At the start of Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Honor novel, ten-year-old India Opal
Buloni has just moved to Naomi, Florida. Her mom has left the family, and her
preacher father has been hiding in his old "turtle shell." All India Opal wants
is a friend. That's when she finds Winn-Dixie, a stray dog she rescues at the
local grocery store. Having Winn-Dixie for a dog is great. India Opal starts to
meet people in town, her father starts poking out of his shell, and India Opal
even begins to understand why her mother may have left. All of this happens
because of Winn-Dixie.
Questions to Discuss:
What brings India Opal and her father to Naomi?
Describe Winn-Dixie. What is it about him that makes him appealing to
How does India Opal's father react to Winn-Dixie? How does she convince
him to let the dog stay?
What are the ten things that India Opal's father tells her about her
mother? Connect these ten things to the rest of the story. (For example,
number three is "She liked to plant things." India Opal later plants a tree
with Gloria Dump.)
Gloria Dump says that the most important thing in life is "different for
everyone. . . . You find out on your own. But in the meantime, you got to
remember, you can't always judge people by the things they done. You got to
judge them by what they are doing now." What do you think this means? What
does this mean to you?
Why is Gloria Dump so important to India Opal?
Who were some of your favorite characters in town? Describe them.
How does a Littmus Lozenge work? Would you want to try one? Why or why
What happens at the party to bring India Opal and her father together?
What do you predict for their relationship in the future?
What does the title mean to you?
These discussion questions were contributed by Katie O'Dell, reading
promotions coordinator at the Multnomah Public Library in Portland, Oregon,
www.multcolib.org/kids. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Candlewick Press.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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