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Thursday, 22 June 2017
About Cindy McKinley

When I Was Young…

I was born in Ann Arbor on July 21st, 1968 but grew up in Milford, Michigan where I have lived ever since. It is a very peaceful town with fun things to do, plenty of places to play, and no tall buildings. I think I plan to stay here forever.

I have a younger brother, Ben. When we were young he was fun to bother and my girlfriends and I used to make him play house with us. One time I tied him to our tire swing and he got stuck there. Another time I sent him down the stairs zipped up in a sleeping bag. (P.S.  Don't do that to your brother!)  But the worst thing I did to him was accidentally pull his arm out of the socket while jumping on the bed. (See, that really is dangerous!) Now he is an engineer and bigger than me. I don’t pick on him anymore.

When I was little I loved to play with my friends, ride bikes, and play board games. (OK, well, I still love board games!)  We lived on an apple orchard and I loved to climb the apple trees; especially the "Horsey Tree". I loved school. I loved my teachers. I loved to pretend I was a teacher and made up worksheets of math for my little brother to do. I guess it was good practice because when I grew up I became a real teacher. I had thought about becoming a nurse until Ben got shot in the leg with a bow & arrow. (No, it wasn’t me!) As soon as I saw that, I realized I was really more suited to be a teacher.

When I was young, I was pretty shy. My handwriting was super messy and I hated to read. I won a writing contest in elementary school with a story called "The Green-Scaled Dragon". I figured then that I must be a pretty good writer and ever since I have loved to write. Luckily, somewhere along the line, I also learned to love reading. My handwriting became a little better, too.

Growing Up…

In Junior High and High School, I enjoyed playing on the tennis team and being on the yearbook staff. I loved taking pictures and photography is still a great hobby of mine today. A friend once bought me a darkroom set and I love developing my own black & white prints. (You can see some of my favorite photos if you go back to the homepage and click on "Cindy's Photo Gallery".)

I went to college at Michigan State University, Oakland Community College, and then finished up at Eastern Michigan University. That’s where I got my degree in Elementary Education. During college I worked at a daycare center and confirmed that I really enjoyed working with kids. I went on to teach at 2 elementary schools in Milford for about 7 years. I taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. I loved these grades because the kids learn so much and grow so fast but still love to do fun projects and be silly with me.

Later, I went back to EMU and got a Masters Degree in Teaching Reading. I love reading and I love helping kids become better readers. Right now I am teaching college classes at Oakland Community College to help older students become better readers and writers.  I also tutor elementary and middle school kids and do Author Visits at elementary schools. It is super fun. 

Today…

I have two children, two boys. Jordan and Justin are both in college.  In 2009 I married  Dan.  We have 2 cats named Jinx & Watson.

When I am not working, you will usually find me reading. I love to write, too, and want to write more, but it’s tough to find time when there are so many great things to read! If you ever to go to Kensington Metropark in Milford, you may find me wandering the nature trails in search of wildlife... or maybe a good story idea!  Actually I've had a few animal articles and some of my photos published in some kids' magazines like Kid's Zone and Skipping Stones.

My favorite books are good, realistic fiction; they’re especially nice if they have an unexpected twist in them somewhere. I also have a collection of children’s books that is close to taking over our house. Although it would be impossible to name them all, my favorite children’s authors are probably Eric Carle (for his easy-to-read text and timeless lessons) and Chris Van Allsburg (for those “ah-ha!” endings I am so fond of). I also admit to having been completely hooked on the Harry Potter series.  My favorite grown-up authors are Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve.

These days, my favorite things to do are read a really good book on a sunny beach, take some photos at the park with my family, go for walks, watch the sunset on Lake Michigan or the sunrise over the ocean in Virginia. I love crab legs and potato chips and I think no one can ever get too many hugs or be too kind.