Christian Elongué, our executive Director, is one of 30 literacy leaders named to the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) 2021 30 Under 30 list. The global list celebrates rising innovators, disruptors and visionaries in the literacy field.
Christian Elongué is an author and researcher on children and young adult literature. Dismayed by a lack of black characters in books available to African children, Christian founded munakalati.org in 2017 with the goal of building international recognition for African children’s book authors and increasing access to African children books.
He was recognized for publishing Muna Kalati magazine, which is becoming a reference for writers, publishers and illustrators of children’s and Young Adult books, as well as librarians, teachers, editors and parents. Christian has supported several researchers, or mentored Master & PhD students to undertake research on African Children literature in Cameroon, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. In 2019, he authored the book: An Introduction to Children Literature in Cameroon, the first scientific work with a holistic approach on the children book industry in Cameroon. Prior to that, he collaborated on children literature with the French National Centre for Children’s Literature. As a founding member of International Board of Book for Young People (IBBY-Cameroon), he spent a number of years developing literacy and educational initiatives as a means to empower children in West Africa.
Chrstian Elongué indicated that the ultimate goal of Muna Kalati’s work is to increase awareness and access to diverse and affordable books for children and young adult in Africa. They shape the future of literacy by increasing the culture of reading and it empowers kids and young adults to be lifelong learners and leaders.
According to him:
“you can’t consistently be a great leader without being a great learner, you stop growing and maturing when you stop learning. As reading is one of the common and best ways of learning, all great leaders are also great readers. So empowering kids to cultivate a passion and genuine interest in reading, not for utilitarian or academic purpose, will definitely help them become the leaders and changemakers that our societies critically need.”
Representing 12 countries, this year’s list of honorees includes educators, nonprofit leaders, authors, volunteers, researchers and social entrepreneurs.
“The start of 2021 is filled with much promise thanks to the work of this year’s class of honorees,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Their work—whether it’s research on multicultural literacy, helping young students find the power of their voice or dismantling systems of oppression in education—is impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities. Not only do these emerging leaders share in our mission of literacy for all, but also they are helping to ensure that the post-COVID era, when we get there, will be grounded in equity for all.”
Christian Elongué hence joins a growing cohort of leaders. Past honorees include Gerald Dessus, social justice teacher and curriculum developer in Pennsylvania; Shiza Shahid, cofounder of the Malala Fund; Allister Chang, founder of Civic Suds; and Freshta Karim, founder of mobile library Charmaghz in Afghanistan.
ILA’s 30 Under 30 honorees are featured in the January/February 2021 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s bimonthly magazine, which published today. To view the Literacy Today feature and read more about the honorees’ accomplishments, visit literacyworldwide.org/30under30.
About the International Literacy Association
The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all through its network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers and experts across 128 countries. With over 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught and evaluated. ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 provides an evidence-based benchmark for the development and evaluation of literacy professional preparation programs. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students and inform policymakers. ILA publishes The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly, which are peer reviewed and edited by leaders in the field. For more information, visit literacyworldwide.org.