Girl pays it forward by selling 100 of her books

Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng trying out Score! Score!, a game organised by pupils from Frontier Primary's Red Cross CCA, at the school's Children's Day carnival yesterday.
Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng trying out Score! Score!, a game organised by pupils from Frontier Primary's Red Cross CCA, at the school's Children's Day carnival yesterday.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Frontier Primary School pupil Talia Astapura, 10, was born deaf, but she can follow lessons in school thanks to the cochlear implants she received through a National University Hospital fund.

The help she received inspired the Primary 4 pupil to give back to society. She wrote an e-mail message to principal Martin Koh, 48, to share her idea of selling storybooks in school to raise money for charity.

Yesterday, she was given a booth at the school's annual Children's Day carnival to sell her books.

It was the first time the 240 Primary 4 pupils - the school's pioneer batch - were given the job of running the booths themselves. Proceeds from the carnival will be donated to the Community Chest.

Talia's mother, teacher Julianah Johar, 39, said she was pleasantly surprised that her daughter wanted to raise funds for charity. "She's a bookworm and had more than 100 books at home, so she decided to sell some," she said.

Along with her parents, Talia took about 100 books to school yesterday, including titles from the Geronimo Stilton and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid children's books series.

She priced them at $1 to $2 and, by 10.30am, all were sold.

"I had too many books and they were everywhere at home. So I decided to sell them for charity," said Talia, who is left with about 30 books at home, including the Harry Potter series she is now reading.

Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng, who visited the school yesterday, said: "Even at this young tender age, educators are partnering (the children) to give back some proceeds to society. This is very important in character building."

He said he was heartened to hear about what Talia had done, and that it reminded him of his childhood.

"I liked to read when I was a young boy as well," said Mr Ng, adding that he enjoyed the Hardy Boys and Famous Five series as a child.

To ensure that yesterday's carnival would not be affected even if the haze worsened, the school held it indoors.

"We wanted to make sure that, no matter how bad the haze was, we could run the event... The children would be disappointed if it were cancelled," said Mr Koh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2015, with the headline 'Girl pays it forward by selling 100 of her books'. Print Edition | Subscribe