Topics important on a local as well as global level will be addressed at this year’s 20th annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival.

Such issues include female empowerment, immigrant experiences, mental health and parenting challenges. The programs highlighting those topics are among the many events offered as part of the book festival, which will run Oct. 21-27 at locations across the region. Following are specifics on some of the programs:

Female empowerment

• “Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time,” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, UW-Eau Claire’s Centennial Hall Room 1614, 1698 Park Ave.

Inspired by the film of the same name, Tanya Lee Stone’s “Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time” tackles the following questions: Why are there 130 million girls around the globe not being educated? And what can we do about it? Stone will explore how educating girls is the single most powerful tool available to make the world a safer, healthier, more functional place. This event will include a mini-screening (one chapter) of the film.

• “Mrs. Bond: The True Role of Female Spies During the First World War,” 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, Altoona Public Library, 1303 Lynn Ave.

When someone mentions female spies, especially during the era of World War I, often the only names they can recall are either the notorious femme fatale Mata Hari or the saintly nurse Edith Cavell. The real role of women in espionage was far more varied and prevalent. Anna Lee Huber will explore the fact and fiction behind these female secret agents, explore the spy rings with which they worked behind enemy lines, and examine their lives after the guns fell silent. The featured book is “Treacherous is the Night.”

Immigrant experiences

• “Making the Unseen, Seen: Giving Voice to Diverse Characters in Fiction and Beyond,” 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, Memorial Student Center Ballroom at UW–Stout, Menomonie.

Neel Patel’s debut story collection, “If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi,” gives voice to the most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of whom are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert expectations that they will sit quietly by. This program will discuss the importance of turning peripheral characters into primary ones, both its challenges and delights. Gain a better understanding of the impact literature, television and film have on shaping the identities of people from different walks of life.

Mental health

• “Don’t Call Me Crazy: Navigating Mental Health With Compassion, Understanding, and Honesty,” 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, Schofield Hall, 105 Garfield Ave., UW–Eau Claire.

While roughly 20% of Americans live with a mental illness, more than half of those who suffer have gone untreated for the past year. Kelly Jensen, editor of “(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health,” will talk about her own experiences with depression and anxiety as well as where and how she decided to get help for herself when she turned 30. Using what she learned from her own life, Jensen will discuss where and how to talk about mental health as well as tools and resources for cracking open those discussions.

Parenting challenges

• “Small Animals: Parenting in the Age of Fear,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, Riverfront Room in Pablo Center at the Confluence, 128 Graham Ave.

Building on her own harrowing experiences, Kim Brooks will reveal how expectations of parents have changed over the course of a single generation and how these expectations — fueled by fear rather than reality — pressure mothers to report one another. The featured book is “Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear.” Tickets are required for this free event.

For full festival details and a complete list of authors, visit