Callum Manning bullied for his love of books gains 250,000 Instagram followers.
A 13-year-old boy from South Shields who was bullied for his love of reading has gained 250,000 Instagram followers and received message of support from a host of famous authors.
Callum Manning created his social media page, ‘Cal’s Book Account’, last week, reviewing works by Jane Austen, George Orwell and Mary Shelley.
But Callum says he was left “devastated” when pupils at his new school began mocking him on a group chat, calling him a “sad weirdo.”
“I don’t tend to cry that often but I think that was the first time in a while I’ve actually cried”, Callum said.
When his sister’s Ellis posted about the abuse on Twitter, Callum’s account amassed thousands of new followers and was inundated with messages of support.
Ellis said she was hoping “20 or 30 friends (would) like a few of his posts or follow him or give him some words of encouragement.”
By Sunday morning his account had 50,000 followers. Waterstones in Gateshead tweeted their support:
We’re so sad to hear this! 😞 Talking about books is a great way to make friends and discover books you might never have otherwise read! Please tell your brother to keep up with the reviews! And if you’re local to the Metrocentre tell him to pop in – the next book is on us 👍 📚
— Waterstones Gateshead (@WaterstonesGate) February 29, 2020
Authors including Malorie Blackman and Matt Haig posted messages of support. Caroline Kepnes, the author of You, also got in touch.
“She texted us, which was really cool”, Callum said. “Obviously, I’m a really big fan so I was kind of nervous but that was really cool.”
Callum’s mother Carla Landreth said her son was a “very, very clever kid.”
He’s been reading since he was really young but he reads Crime and Punishment and stuff that probably not your average 13-year-old wicked be interested in reading.
The family has received offers of thousands of free books. I think we’re going to go to Ikea and get some bookcases.