An Elementary teacher, mother, and former WNBA draftee’s story of self-image affirmation
“Figler: My Imaginary Friend is a profound story that captures the real creativity of children. This book can even help us adults see the strength and courage we have within. Bravo to Mrs. Taylor for not only creating a positive message, but for also using her sports platform to empower the next generation.”
—Celia Anderson, author of Love, Ocean and Daddy’s Home
“Beautiful illustrations and pleasing words breathe life into the imaginary Figler!”
—Spelile Rivas, award-winning author
“A journey of self-realization comes to life as a child ultimately discovers that the wonderful abilities possessed by Figler, the beloved imaginary friend, are talents (he/she) also possesses. The whimsical illustrations draw readers into the main character’s journey of self-discovery. This book offers a delightful poetic read inspiring young readers to dare to imagine and reach for the ‘impossible.’”
—Jeanine Wood, Distance Learning Coordinator Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative
Erica Charlotte Taylor was born November 29, 1982 in Brinkley, Arkansas and grew up five miles down the road in a small town of Wheatley, Arkansas where she went to Palestine-Wheatley school. Erica Taylor is seven of seven children born of her loving parents of fifty years, Hurley and Dorothy Smith. At an early age, Erica Taylor was introduced to the sport of basketball by her older brothers, Reginald and Jason Smith. Jason later played basketball for the Ole Miss Rebels. Erica Taylor followed in her brother’s shoes as she was an outstanding basketball player which allowed her the opportunity to try-out in the 2000 Olympic Trails at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. She was also awarded Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year. Erica Taylor took her talents further when she committed to playing for women’s powerhouse Louisiana Tech University under the legendary coach Leon Barmore. There she was not only an outstanding basketball player earning prestigious awards such as WAC freshman of the year and Miss LaTech; she also earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in English. In 2005, Erica was drafted first in the second round by WNBA’s Washington, Mystics.
Erica always aspired to become a writer; however, becoming a teacher was not far from her options, as she witnessed her older sisters, Angela, Phyllis, Dionne, and Shameka teach elementary and secondary education. As expected, Erica became a teacher of third grade at Little Rock Preparatory Academy. Although she enjoyed teaching all subjects, English Language Arts was her favorite. Erica was inspired to write her first children’s book, Figler My Imaginary Friend, because of her youngest daughter, Laila. Figler is Laila’s real imaginary friend. Erica noticed Laila’s admiration for her friend, Figler, talents and gifts; yet, she wasn’t confident in her own talents and gifts. From that moment, Erica knew it was a need to write a poetic story that encouraged children to believe in themselves, to be self-assure, and to have confidence.
Erica Taylor is the mother of four plus one, Nia Jay, Tyra, Laila, and Jace, plus Jermain Jr. Erica Taylor resides with her family in Forest City, Arkansas. When she is not writing books, Erica enjoys playing with her children, spending time with family & friends, dancing, and singing karaoke.