Children's publishing, television, and home videos writer Michael Anthony Steele came to the Miami Public Library Friday with a message of confidence and inspiration for local fifth graders.
MIAMI – One of the first things you might notice about author Michael Anthony Steele is his infectious smile and stylish hat.
And as if on cue, Steele greets the last group of fifth graders filling the upstairs activity room at the Miami Public Library with a buoyant greeting and a bit of inside information – the hat, he explains while tipping it slightly at its brim, is just one of many.
As the kids lean forward filled with curiosity Steele goes to work doing what he does best, telling stories.
His hat serves as an essential metaphor as he explains his journey to building a career writing for children’s publishing, television, and home videos. For all the major roles he has filled along the way, Steele shows off a photo, each with its own hat tied to its own pursuit – photographer, special effects assistant, screenwriter and more.
He highlights a budding career that is driven by joyful curiosity and the magnificent moments when he would recognize his potential and take the next leap.
It was those moments that were at the core of his message. Steele described working on the PBS children's program "Wishbone" when struck with what he says are "The four most powerful words in the world – 'I can do that!'"
As the words filled the screen beside him, Steele raised four fingers one-by-one asking the assembled fifth graders to repeat those words with him. At first, the replies were scattered and hesitant, but by the third round, they were confidently cheered.
Later in his presentation when asking who would want to write screenplays or books, hands shot up eagerly and smiles filled the room.
Steele shared some of his latest projects like his novelization of the movie "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" and an interactive comic app called "Commando Clowns."
He also provided the library with several signed copies of some of his other works including books for major brands such as LEGO and DC Comics.
Wrapping up his time with a song, before waving the kids off after a group photo, Steele again reminded them that whatever they chose to do to remember those four powerful words, "I can do that!" There was no muted pause in the return this time.
To learn more about Steele's work and speaking engagements for schools and libraries visit http://michaelanthonysteele.com.
Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor of the Miami News-Record. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.