Since 1994, Scholastic’s resident cartographer Jim McMahon (aka Mapman) has overseen the Can You Find Mapman®? contest for Junior Scholastic®, a social studies magazine for students in grades 6–8.
In addition to working on the contest, Jim creates all the maps for Scholastic Magazines+—more than 20 different publications!
Using his map expertise for the contest, Jim provides geography clues for students to test their creative and critical-thinking skills by identifying a mystery location and drawing a map of it. This year, that location was Barbados.
More than 2,000 students from 34 states submitted entries for the 2023 contest. Jim and his wife Helen McMahon, a New York City public school librarian, select the winning maps each year.
This year’s grand-prize winner is Monica Chen, an eighth-grade student at Amity Middle School in Orange, Connecticut. Monica was a runner-up in last year’s contest, and thanks to the encouragement of her family, friends, and teachers, she was driven to enter again. The bold design choices in her entry led her to win the 2023 contest!Monica’s eye-catching map of Barbados highlights the island country’s vivid sunsets, eclectic marine life, and national flag. Monica’s map is featured in the May 2023 issue of Junior Scholastic and online, here.
Monica and her teacher Jennifer Marganski will each receive $250. The names of the 25 runners-up will also appear in the May issue of Junior Scholastic, and those students will each get a Mapman T-shirt, in addition to a congratulatory letter from Mapman himself noting why their entry stood out.
Congratulations to Monica and all of this year’s participants! Stay tuned for the next Can You Find Mapman®? contest in Junior Scholastic this coming fall.