From the Editors: What Is Love?
One of the most overlooked art forms is the children's picture book. A well-written picture book is like the most profound poem — a few words artfully chosen to hint at a deeper message that can connect with child and adult alike. One of the more touching children's books this writer has enjoyed recently is a book called What is Love? written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Carson Ellis. In this book, a young man who lives with his dog and his grandmother asks her one day: "What is love?" She tells him that she cannot answer his question, that he must find his own answer out in the world. So he leaves and travels the world, asking various people the eponymous question. The actor tells him love is applause; the carpenter tells him love is a house; the cat tells him love is the night; the farmer tells him love is a seed.
This February issue marks the season of celebrating the one we love on Valentine's Day while also marking the season of celebrating Black history and those members of today's Black community who are giving their love to Erie to help make it better. So what is love to us? How would our writers this month answer the question: what is love? Charles Brown would answer: love is music, as he explores the connection between creating or consuming music and how it can serve as a remedy for a struggling psyche. Amy VanScoter would answer: love is listening, as she shares the efforts of Angelica Spraggins to bring trauma-informed therapy to those who need it most. Liz Allen would answer: love is safety, as she experiences the day to day life of a child in Erie faced with the challenge of walking to school. Erin Phillips would tell you: love is honesty, as she uncovers the true history of Erie's first Black resident.
At the end of What is Love? the young man eventually returns home without finding an answer that satisfies him. He sees his warm home with the lights on, smells dinner cooking, hears his dog barking, and feels his grandmother's embrace. In all of his traveling, he has found what love is. Love is home. Here in Erie, our home, we can find our answer to the question "what is love?" by looking around and finding it for ourselves among all those who are working hard every day to make it better for everyone. Love is home, love is here, and love is created by all the people who make it so.