One of the lectures I went to at Great Homeschool Conventions was about picking the books you want your kids to read before they graduate high school. The lecturer* said there is no definitive list of books to read. You pick the books you want your child to read partially off what books you enjoyed as a kid, partially off what you think they “need” to read because it’s a good book, and partially what you think they “need” to graduate.
And he’s right.
Because of Winn Dixie is on my list because I enjoy the book, and I think it’s got a lot to say about friendship and making your own “family,” it’s a theme I’ve noticed in books, movies, and TV shows I really enjoy. It’s also a theme I’ve noticed I live in my own life. Yes, I have my birth family, but I also have people I’ve chosen to consider family. They’re the ones who I drop everything for to help them. The ones I call when I’ve had a bad day, or a good day and I have to share.
Because of Winn Dixie shows that family being formed.
Back to the lecturer, he talked about just assigning good books to your kids to read and just discussing them with your kids, set however many you can read in a year, and that you think is realistic, and then do it. It got me thinking how there are 100s of great books made into sometimes great movies. That’s a rule I’ve kept pretty consistently, you have to read the book before you can watch the movie.
What if I started a book club around that?
So, I am. At first I was going to write all these discussion questions, and activities, and we were going to do stuff for each chapter, and then I realized we don’t need to do that. That takes away some of the fun of reading the book. Here’s what I came up with instead:
- Read the book.
- Come up with a project that represents the book to you, act out a scene, draw something, write something, but it’s your project.
- Talk about the book, what you liked, what things you saw in it, what was important.
- Watch the movie with fun themed snacks.
That’s it, 4 things, and my goal is to do about 1 of these a month. They loved this. This time it was:
Our Because of Winn Dixie projects
All of the kids loved the first scene of the book with Winn-Dixie running wild through the grocery store, and so they all opted to act it out. I was most impressed with Princess’ puppets and how she carefully designed them. The boys used toys on hand, and while theirs were more practiced, they felt less thought out.
Afterwards I told them for the next book and a movie, I’d like them to not all have the same project and stretch themselves more. I want them not to JUST act out a scene, but look into something, research something, or create something, but I want more from them. They’re all brainstorming for their next project.
Because of Winn Dixie snacks
There are affiliate links in this part, it does not change your price, but I get paid a very little bit. To be honest, the prices on Amazon (at the time of publication) are not the best on these items.
I am not great at snacks by a long shot, I’m actually rather horrid at them, and my food decorating skills are rather abysmal, but fun snacks make this more of an experience, so I’m doing my best to make themed snacks for each movie, some movies go better than others.
First are the peanut butter biscuits (the recipe is from one of the links at the end), Gloria Dump says “You can’t trust a dog that don’t like peanut butter,” and so we made peanut butter dog biscuits, and yes our dog likes them. Sort of.
We figured we should have some Winn-Dixie cookies, and because I was having a terrible time in the kitchen that week we picked up some Scottie dog cookies, which were a huge hit, especially the chocolate ones.
Most of our snacks were inspired by the party at the end of the book, and they had Dump Punch to drink, we made ours using orange sherbet and Sprite, the kids were quite interested to see how punch was made.
Litmus Lozenge and your reaction to the candy was a key plot point in the book, and I knew we had to have some of them for our movie snacks, but it’s also completely made up, so we had Strawberry Créme Savers and some special red jelly beans (I can’t find the package to tell you what they were).
Our final snack for the movie was Nutter Butters, one of the party foods was pickles, but none of us like pickles, and the shape of them vaguely reminds me of pickles. I thought about dipping them in green candy coating, but I didn’t have any, and that just seemed like a way for me to mess something up…..
And sandwiches, they all made their own sandwich because they didn’t want the egg salad sandwiches from the book (can’t say I blame them). Then they happily settled down to eat massive amounts of sugary food as we watched the movie.
Our Because of Winn Dixie activities
Aside from their own projects we had a fun discussion beforehand:
- How would you describe and explain yourself to Gloria Dump?
- What 10 things does someone need to know about you?
- How did she find friends?
After the movie, the big question always is, how are they similar and different, AND which did you like better? I almost always like the book better, but the kids are somewhat mixed on that one. This time they couldn’t quite decide, but 2 out of 3 ended up liking the movie better.
Because of Winn Dixie activities around the web
As I prepared what we did, I always do a quick search on pinterest and on the web to find some ideas, and here’s my favorites that inspired what we did:
- Because of Winn Dixie activites on Scholastic
- Because of Winn Dixie recipes
- Because of Winn Dixie unit (I like the idea of naming chapters)
- Because of Winn Dixie discussion questions (I loved these and used a few of them)
- Because of Winn Dixie activities by chapter