A 13 year old bibliophile was left shattered and distressed after being a victim of bullying and persecution for a simple reason - his intense love for books. The disheartening story of the teenager's dismay was brought forth by his elder sister that unknowingly brought about a drastic positive change in her brother's life.
Callum Manning from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, became subject to bullying and mockery because of his online book reviews on his instagram page, 'Cals Book Account' where he gave out his suggestions and reviews on books including Jane Austen, George Orwell, Mary Shelley, Harry Potter and Twilight novels.
Tragically, Callum's classmates from his new school cunningly added him to a Whatsapp group chat where he was mocked and bullied over his online book reviews. The kids went on to the extent of labelling Callum as a 'creep'.
In an attempt to bring in support and positivity in Callum's life was his elder sister, Ellis Landreth, who tweeted her brother's state with a photo of his book account.
Can’t believe how awful kids are. My little brothers made an Instagram reviewing and talking about books and 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 🥺 pic.twitter.com/wuuj2XlO34— Ellis (@EllisLandreth1) February 29, 2020
A devastated Callum said: "I don't tend to cry that often but I think that was the first time in a while I've actually cried." On his sister's viral tweet, Callum added: "People saw it and people just thought 'it's not right' because it isn't. Then I started getting loads of comments from everyone showing their support. "I just think it's really nice that there's still people in the world who are nice."
Ellis' tweet however, helped Callum's account gather hundreds of thousands of new followers including authors, publishers and book shops offering him not only support but also books for free to review on his account.
Happy to send Cal three books of his choice.— Big Green Bookshop (@Biggreenbooks) March 1, 2020
Just DM me the name and address to post 'em to and the three titles.
I'll post them off asap.
Ellis' tweet which also contained an example of Callum's review of the book 'You' by Caroline Kepnes, which he had depicted as better than the TV series and a good read for people preferring scary stories, was spotted by the author herself who contacted Callum to which he happily explained: "She's one of my favourite authors - she texted us, which was really cool." He also added: "Obviously I'm a really big fan so I was kind of nervous but that was really cool."
It is devastating and I would very much like to send Cal some books.— Caroline Kepnes (@CarolineKepnes) March 1, 2020
Where Callum initially obtained around 150,000 followers on instagram in just a few hours, his instagram follower count now stands over 340,000 followers. Callum was also showered with love, support and free signed books from prominent authors like Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Matt Haig, David Nicholls, Caroline Kepnes and several others.
I think the love from all around the world has probably let him know he isn't alone. But all the interesting people I know were once considered weird kids with books. Including me.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 2, 2020
Hi Cal, I'm not on Insta but if you'd like any of books let me know and I'll happily send you a signed copy.— David Nicholls (@DavidNWriter) March 1, 2020
Cara Landreth, Callum's mother revealed his childhood love for reading, including books about crime and punishment, books a 13 year old is not expected to read and adore. Cara, excitedly, also revealed that the count in Callum's book possession is on a climb as free books have been continuing to drop in from all around the country, for which, they might as well require to purchase new bookcases from Ikea as the storage space stands limited.
"On Friday night he was in tears," Cara complained. "He was absolutely devastated that people could be so cruel. "And since this has been happening, his confidence has just soared. He's a lovely kid, he's a very loving kid, and he's just saying, 'I can't believe these people want to follow me on Instagram and want to send me stuff'. "We're just so shocked. It's been absolutely brilliant. He's just over the moon."
Besides all the support and signed books from authors and book stores, people all around the world have also taken to Twitter to shower Callum with love and support, giving out a big slap to bullying.
just followed cals_book_account, can confirm it is the most wholesome thing https://t.co/vKLP1KFRRS— leesh (@cosmic_aleisha) February 29, 2020
Just followed cals Instagram account. Need to encourage any love of books and help him understand the children of his new school are just bullies https://t.co/AAy4TsvMXr— Marrie Holt (@pinkhedgehog81) March 1, 2020