North Carolina teen talks on anti-bullying, writes book to inspire

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A 13-year-old published author from North Carolina is making it his mission to send a message to kids to not be a bully.

J.J. Calloway was visiting town to speak to second graders at Jennie Moore Elementary School in Mount Pleasant. An idea he had in kindergarten is comforting kids all over.

"I really want to end bullying forever," Calloway said.

He's from Marshall, North Carolina, and he has a story that got him to where he is today. This was before he wrote his book and before he began traveling to talk with other students.

"I was bullied in kindergarten and this kid called me stupid every single day," Calloway said.  "I started to believe him, I was put in special classes and I didn't know what to do. One day I came and told my mom I wish I was dead and that was really hard for mom."

At the time he had an imaginary friend called Monster to help him through his situation. Monster is now a reality.

"He could take me places that I wanted to be, but couldn't," Calloway said. "It made me feel like I had a place."

Now he wants others to feel that sense of place. 

For a 5th grade project he wrote the book "Monster Visits the Land of Colors" and then he got it published. It's not only a book that's a teaching tool for learning colors, but it also comes with a furry friend, Monster.

"It's meant for kids to have a safe feeling," Calloway.

These second graders at Jennie Moore Elementary are taking away some lessons and leaving inspired after Calloway's talk.

Second grader Ramsey Armbruster says he really likes the book.

"It's bad to be bullying so just be nice," Armbruster said.

Second grader Anson Harrison says he might write a book one day too.

"It doesn't matter how old you are, you can write a book at anytime," Harrison said.

Calloway says it feels good that his message is getting out to people.

"Everyone doesn't have to bully it's just people feel weak to other things and they feel that they can feel more powerful by being mean to other people and by having power over them," Calloway said. "I don't feel like that's the right way to feel power."

He's now giving power to other people.

"You should really read this book, it was really fun," Armbruster said. 

Calloway donates the proceeds of his book to a Food Bank program in his hometown that helps feed children and their families on the weekends.

He also has other books in the works for a Monster series.

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