Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo tells the story of Opal Buloni, a ten-year-old girl who struggles to get adjusted to her new home in Watley, Florida, after her father (a preacher) moves the family there.
Opal finds her first Floridian friend in the form of Winn-Dixie—a stray mutt whom she meets after he creates chaos in the local Winn-Dixie grocery store. It is through this unlikely canine hero that Opal manages to start meeting the folks around town: Otis, Miss Franny, Gloria Dump, and so on. Still, nothing can quite fill the hole in Opal's heart left by her mother, who abandoned the family when Opal was young.
Tragedy strikes when a thunderstorm interrupts a party thrown by Opal and Gloria. The partygoers attempt to rescue the sandwiches and punch. Meanwhile, terrified of the stormy weather, Winn-Dixie goes missing. This devastates Opal. Gloria attempts to comfort her by telling her that you cannot make something you love stay if it wants to leave, but Opal takes off to look for...
(The entire section contains 4 answers and 854 words.)