Gündisch, Karin 1948–

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Gündisch, Karin 1948–

PERSONAL: Born 1948, in Romania; immigrated to Germany.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Cricket Books, Carus Publishing Company, 30 Grove St., Ste. C, Peterborough, NH 03458.

CAREER: Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Has received awards for children's books in Romania and Germany.


Lügengeschichten (juvenile; stories), Creangă (Bucharest, Romania), 1983.

Paradies liegt in Amerika), Beltz, 2001, translated by James Skofield as How I Became an American, Cricket Books (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Also author of stories for children published in Romania and Germany.

SIDELIGHTS: Karin Gündisch is an award-winning author of stories for children that have been published in both her home country of Romania and her adopted Germany. How I Became an American is a translation of a book first published in German. It is the story of one family's voyage to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Johann Bonfert's mother asks him to document their travels, and so he begins by describing life in their Austrian-Hungarian village and why they made the decision to move to the United States. His father goes first and finds work in the steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio. Johann's older brother, Peter, goes next and is followed by the rest of the family. Described are the hardships experienced by families traveling in steerage on the long voyage by ship, as well as other challenges they faced upon arriving at their new home. The Bonfert children adapt more readily to America, supporting their family in a number of ways. The family also earns money by selling chicken eggs and turning their barn into a boarding house. Johann, now called Johnny, helps out by selling newspapers.

In writing this book, Gündisch drew on the letters and accounts of families who had lived the experience. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "Gündisch's research and use of primary sources serves her well; the result is believable, interesting, and entertaining." School Library Journal reviewer Diane S. Marton called the story a "lively and interesting account." "This will get students researching their own family stories," Hazel Rochman predicted in Booklist.



Booklist, November 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of How I Became an American, p. 571.

Childhood Education, midsummer, 2002, Mary Laub, review of How I Became an American, p. 306.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2001, review of How I Became an American, p. 1550.

School Library Journal, December, 2001, Diane S. Marton, review of How I Became an American, p. 134.