photo of Vanessa DiffenbaughCuesta College’s popular annual celebration of the printed word features a host of events including films and workshops, culminating in a campus lecture by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the New York Times best-selling author of 2013’s Book of the Year, “The Language of Flowers.” She will visit Cuesta for a free reception, lecture and book signing Feb. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cultural and Performing Arts Center on the San Luis Obispo campus. Book of the Year is presented in partnership with SLO County Public Libraries SLO Reads Program.

Diffenbaugh was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico. She taught art and writing to youngsters in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children. Their oldest, Tre’von, a former foster child, is attending New York University on a Gates Millennium Scholarship. She founded the Camellia Network, which is dedicated to helping teens make a successful transition from foster care to adulthood.

Events include:

Feb. 1-28

Cuesta College SLO Campus, Cultural and Performing Arts Center lobby

“Pause on the Path” art exhibit

Local artist and retired educator Gene Elsdon celebrates the beauty of spring wildflowers with his vibrant watercolor paintings and microscapes of nature. “Watercolor is my media,” Elsdon says. “As a biologist, I loved to explore the forests, creeks, lakes, and tide pools.”

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 4 to 5 p.m., KCBX FM 90.1

Author Interview

San Luis Obispo County Public Library Director Brian Reynolds and Library Manager Kristine Tardiff discuss this year’s Cuesta Book of the Year/SLO County Reads novel “The Language of Flowers” with author Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 am to 1 p.m.

Earth Tones: Gifts, Gallery & Center for Healing, 1319 Park St., Paso Robles

Plant Passion: Accessing the Soul’s Imagination

Mary Ubersax presents a free workshop on the use of essential plant and floral oils to stimulate senses and creative spirit. Materials and snacks included. Contact Earthtoneswb@yahoo.com or (805) 238-4413 to reserve a spot; space limited. Ages 12 and older.

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Cuesta College SLO Campus, Room 5401

Stepping Up for Emancipating Foster Youth, a workshop in support of the Foster Youth Success Initiative

Featuring “Language of Flowers” author Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Cuesta’s Independent Living Program and Foster and Kinship Care Education, and the Department of Social Services sponsor a forum to consider community and college capacity in meeting the needs of our local foster youth and the impact of the Foster Care Initiative on Cuesta student success.

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 5 to 7 p.m.

Cuesta College SLO Campus, Cultural and Performing Arts Center

Author Lecture

Vanessa Diffenbaugh will discuss “The Language of Flowers” followed by a reception and book signing. Park free in Lot 2.

Saturday, March 2, 1 to 3 p.m.

Oak Glen Pavilion, SLO Botanical Garden (Across from Cuesta’s SLO campus)

Floral Arranging 101: The Language of Flowers

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden teams up with Cuesta’s Book of the Year for a flower arranging workshop with Cuesta instructor Cheryl Ziehl. Bring clippers; vases and flowers provided. RSVP to kdecou@cuesta.edu or call (805) 546-3100, ext. 2287.

Saturday, April 20, 1 to 3 p.m.

Oak Glen Pavilion, SLO Botanical Garden (Across from Cuesta’s SLO campus)

Growing Together: Foster Family Workshop

Foster kids and parents will celebrate the wonders of spring with this hands-on, family planting workshop led by SLO Botanical Garden Education Coordinator Lindsey Collinsworth. Guided tours follow. Ages 5 and older. For reservations call (805) 541-1400, priority given to foster families.

 

There will also be a series of films shown on the San Luis Obispo and North County campuses.

• “From Place to Place” (12 min., 2012). Follows the lives of young adults who recently aged out of Montana’s foster care system. “American’s Most Unwanted” (21 min., 2012). Provides a glimpse into the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender foster youth. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 3 to 4 p.m. and Thursday, Feb.14, 6 to 7 p.m. at Cuesta North County Campus, Dallons Hall, Room N3102. And Monday, Feb. 25, noon to 1 p.m. at Cuesta College SLO Campus, Library, Room 3219.

• “Ask Us Who We Are” (75 min., 2011). Award-winning film focuses on the lives of Vermont’s youth in foster care, kinship and foster families as well as two mothers who lose their children to the system. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 14, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Cuesta North County Campus, Dallons Hall, Room N3102. And Tuesday, Feb. 26, noon to 1:30 p.m. at Cuesta College SLO Campus, Library, Room 3219.

• “Ecuador: Flower Power” (11 min., 2008). Filmmakers visit Ecuador, a leading supplier of cut-flowers for the U.S. market. “Love at First Sight: America’s Affair With the Rose” (26 min., 2006). Meet the people, stories and secrets behind the world’s most passionate flower in this documentary by All-America Rose Selections. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6 to 7 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 14, 3 to 4 p.m. at Cuesta North County Campus, Dallons Hall, Room N3102. And Thursday, Feb. 28, noon to 1 p.m. at Cuesta College SLO Campus, Library, Room 3219.

• “Le Gamin au Velo” (Kid with a Bike) (87 min., 2011). Cannes award-winner from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne follows 12-year-old Cyril, who has been abandoned by his father. The boy comes to accept his fate with the support of his new-found foster mother. French with English subtitles. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 14, 4 to 5:30 p.m.; and Monday, March 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Cuesta North County Campus, Dallons Hall, Room N3102. And Monday, March 4, noon to 1:30 p.m. at Cuesta College SLO Campus, Library, Room 3219.

Public libraries are also holding events. The schedule is available at http://www.slolibrary.org/Events/cboty2013.htm.

Cuesta College Book of the Year is sponsored by Cuesta Foundation, Friends of the Cuesta College Library, Cuesta College Cultural Diversity and Student Equity Committee, Associated Students of Cuesta College and SLO County Public Library.

For event updates visit http://library.cuesta.edu/book or contact Carina Love clove@cuesta.edu. All events are free. Parking permits are required for all events on Cuesta College campuses, except the author lecture. Permits are available for $2 at kiosks in campus parking lots. For maps and directions visit www.cuesta.edu/student/findingway.