My kids' school chose Because of Winn-Dixie as their One School/ One Book reading selection. I love that they encourage families reading together aloud because, honestly, it is faster for the kids to do their nightly reading on their own, but it is SO special to all laugh (and cry) together. Additionally, it is so neat to have the whole school reading the same book. It's a shared experience. While Mary Fowler read it in 2nd grade and Davis's teacher read it to his class in 1st grade, I had not read it.
This story is precious! I loved everything about it. I even plan to read it again- and I hardly ever do that! Cannot recommend highly enough!