Kate DiCamillo grew up in South Florida. She attended the University of Florida in Gainesville. After getting a degree she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she worked for a book distributor called The Bookman in Minneapolis.
While working for The Bookman, DiCamillo wrote short stories. DiCamillo received a grant from the McKnight Foundation to help support herself while writing her first novel. Because of Winn-Dixie was completed in March 2000. It tells the story of a ten-year-old girl named Opal. She and her preacher father move to Naomi, Florida. On the way to the store Winn-Dixie, Opal meets a dog. The dog was going to be sent to the pound so Opal claims it and names the dog after the store Winn-Dixie. With her new dog at her side Opal is able to explore her new home and meet new friends.
Because of Winn-Dixie was chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 2001. DiCamillo published her second book called The Tiger Rising in March 2001.