India Opal Buloni and her father, the preacher, have just moved to Naomi, Florida, where her father now pastors the Open Arms Baptist Church. Opal has no friends and no memories of her mother, but everything changes when she rescues a mangy, sneezing, smiling mutt from the Winn-Dixie grocery store. Because of Winn-Dixie (the dog), Opal makes friends with Miss Frannie Block, the librarian; Gloria Dump, possibly a witch; pinched-face Amanda Wilkinson; irritating Dunlap and Stevie Dooberry; finger-sucking Sweetie Pie Thomas; and guitar-picking ex-con Otis. Warm yet real, as Southern as lemonade in the shade, and as gracious. Recommended.
(My apologies for possible name misspellings; unavoidable with audiobooks.)