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Boy bullied for love of books gets big surprise on Instagram

Schoolboy Callum Manning recently took to Instagram to share reviews of books that he loved reading.

But when students at his school found out, they started mocking his Instagram site in an online group chat, which they then invited him to join so that he could see their nasty comments.

The 13-year-old bookworm from South Shields in the north of England said he felt “devastated” by the bullying. But the situation took an unexpected turn when his sister posted a tweet highlighting the insulting behavior toward her little brother.

“Can’t believe how awful kids are,” she wrote, at the same time explaining how others at the school had created a group chat making fun of Callum’s initiative before adding him in.

Thanks to a bunch of retweets, the story reached a wider audience, including authors, publishers, and bookstores, causing Callum’s follower count to surge to more than 200,000 people from just 40 a couple of days earlier. Plenty were offering to send him free books for review, too.

Commenting on the abuse from some of his fellow students, Callum told the Associated Press, “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.” The book fan added: “I just think it’s really nice that there are still people in the world who are nice.”

Callum’s mom described her son as “a very, very clever kid,” adding that he reads “everything and anything,” including titles that you wouldn’t necessarily expect a 13-year-old student to go for, such as Crime and Punishment.

Callum’s reviews are usually short and to the point, as befits a social media platform. His recent take on Pride and Prejudice, for example, says: “It’s great I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was but it’s great for you guys who like romance/old English literature.” Some of the comments on his Instagram account are asking Callum to set up an Amazon wish list so they can send him books, while others are requesting particular titles for review.

Suffice to say it appears to have worked out really well for Callum, whose Instagram profile reads: “Yo, it’s me Cal and I LOVE books.”

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Trevor Mogg
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