- Thirteen-year-old Callum Manning was being bullied for his love of books, says his sister.
- Callum dedicated his Instagram account to reviewing his favorite books, but his schoolmates made fun of him.
- The bullied boy has since received messages of support from friends, strangers, and authors.
Ellis Landreth took to Twitter to express her frustration at “how awful kids are”. Her 13-year-old brother, Callum Manning, was being bullied by his classmates at school for his love of books.
She then recounts how her little brother was being bullied for setting up an Instagram account to review his favorite books.
Ellis posted a screenshot of her brother’s account, saying that “Kids in his new school have seen it and have created a group chat calling him a creep slagging him off about it and added him to it so he could see.”
“All I was expecting was a few of my followers to show him some encouragement and support, and that he wasn’t ‘weird’ or ‘sad’ for preferring to read,” she told CNN.
But then Twitter did its thing.
Callum soon raked in thousands of followers, hours after his sister tweeted about the bullying incident.
By Monday, the Instagram account he was being bullied over has been followed by thousands.
“He’s absolutely overwhelmed,” Ellis said. “He can’t even get through all his DMs. He has around 15,000.”
Twitter users shared their personal experience of being bullied in the comment section of the post. Some responded to the tweet to express their own love of books.
The post had reached the local bookstore in Gateshead, promising the boy a book on the house.
A number of authors rallied behind the boy to show their support.
Authors including @matthaig1, @malorieblackman and @DavidNWriter rallied together to support a 13-year-old boy bullied over his love of books—with over 238k (and counting) followers, Callum Manning is now an Instagram sensation. ❤️ https://t.co/On2slkNSMp pic.twitter.com/zEPdDLI3S2— Penguin Books UK (@PenguinUKBooks) March 2, 2020
Caroline Kepnes and Malorie Blackman shared Callum’s story on their social media.
English novelist Matt Haig sent his support along with a collection of books for Callum to read, saying, “Hey let’s all follow Cals Book Account on Instagram and show him some support.”
Callum set up his Instagram account last month, with his first post on February 23. The said post was his first review of “The Shining” by Stephen King, captioned, “This book was the first book I read in 1 day.”
This was when the bullying started, Ellis said.
She said that Callum was added to a group chat and removed immediately after, making it so that the boy could read all the negative comments made about him, but could not reply.
Callum can now go back to school on Monday carrying the support from thousands of people.
For the bullies, Ellis says, “I’m sure they’re all super jealous”.
Callum’s mother is just as pleased as her son. “She’s so happy people are spreading positive messages about these issues. No matter how small some things seem, they can stick with kids forever,” Ellis said.