The use of actual books that you hold in your hand and read is dropping dramatically. Libraries across the world have seen the effects of the electronic age. People are still reading, they are just reading in smaller bites and, typically, on their handheld devices. It doesn’t mean, however, that booklovers don’t exist and they often are a very loyal bunch.
Among the book lovers is a 13-year-old boy who loves books and started his own Instagram book account. Unfortunately, he began to be bullied because of that account but some high profile Instagrammers came to his aid.
Callum Manning had switched to a new school in South Shields, but when other students found out about his Instagram account, they started to make fun of him. That Instagram account allows him to discuss and review the books he has read. A chat group is where the bullying took place.
Carla Landreth, Callum’s mother, described her son as being “devastated” after he read the messages on the chat group. The messages described him as being a “sad weirdo” because he loved books. Callum could see the messages but he was blocked from responding, and his mother said that made matters much worse.
Ellis Landreth, his sister, went on Twitter to talk about “how awful kids are.”
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
“My little brother’s made an Instagram account 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,” she wrote.
It wasn’t long before the post went viral and both bookstores and book lovers started taking notice. The response from the Internet world has been largely positive. He has been getting messages from authors and bookstores encouraging him and offering free books of his choosing.
Happy to send Cal three books of his choice.
Just DM me the name and address to post ’em to and the three titles.
I’ll post them off asap.
— Big Green Bookshop (@Biggreenbooks) March 1, 2020
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
I am happy to send him any of my books signed and for free if he wants them. Dm if interested.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 1, 2020
And I’ll send him a fifth.
— S J Watson (@SJ_Watson) March 1, 2020
He was offered tickets to see Romeo and Juliet by the Globe Theater.
It’s so wonderful Cal is sharing his love of reading. It’s also great to see Romeo & Juliet is one of his favourite Shakespeare plays, it’s one of ours too!
We’d love to offer Cal tickets to Romeo & Juliet this summer, let us know if you’d like to visit 🎭https://t.co/1fNwgvsMlx
— Shakespeare’s Globe (@The_Globe) March 2, 2020
Neil Gaiman wrote, “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.”
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
Caroline Kepnes, Callum’s favorite author, encouraged him with a personal message.
It is devastating and I would very much like to send Cal some books.
— Caroline Kepnes (@CarolineKepnes) March 1, 2020
Callum’s Instagram follower numbers have really taken off, thanks to his sister’s tweet.
“Yesterday I had 39 followers, now I have more than 85,000 – it’s bizarre, but nice to know that people care” Callum said.
“[The online response] has made him feel so good, and sends out a really strong, anti-bullying message-a case of who’s getting the last laugh now,” Callum’s mom said. Her “book obsessed” son was “over the moon” to be contacted by authors, in particular, she added.
“He’s even been invited to visit the Instagram head office,” she said. “It’s just bonkers but in a really good way, that we’ve been able to turn a negative into a positive.”
I love to write and it keeps me busy. I've been working online, full time since 1999.