Map Champ

By Linda G. Paulsen

(Based on a true story)

The author lives in Utah, USA.

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Lindi took a deep breath and stepped up to the map.

“We believe in being honest” (Articles of Faith 1:13).

a girl and boy, standing and pointing at a map

Illustrations by Guy Francis; background map by Getty Images

Lindi loved the map game—the whole class did. Right now, her classmate Jason was standing next to Ms. Werner, their teacher. He was staring at a big world map hanging on the wall. He had won three rounds already.

“Ashley,” called Ms. Werner. Ashley skipped up to the map, giggling. She’s going to lose, thought Lindi. She’s not paying attention to the map. Sure enough, almost before Ms. Werner could finish saying, “The Black Sea,” Jason’s finger poked the map, right on the Black Sea. Ashley shrugged her shoulders and skipped back to her seat.

“Jason rocks!” Matt yelled. Other kids started chanting, “Ja-son! Ja-son! Ja-son!”

Soon Jason had beaten two more challengers. Jason was on his way to becoming the Map Champ! Lindi thought she knew Jason’s secret to success: he never took his eyes off the map.

Then Ms. Werner called, “Lindi!”

Lindi stood up and walked toward the front of the class. Megan gave her a high five as she passed her desk. Lindi tried to forget about everything else as she stood next to Jason and scanned the map. Focus! she told herself. You can do this.

Jason and Lindi both stared at the map. Out of the corner of her eye, Lindi could see Ms. Werner open her mouth to say something. But just then, a bunch of kids started shouting.

“Ja-son! Ja-son!”

Jason’s finger shot out and hit the map. “I win!” he said.

Lindi’s mouth fell open. What had just happened? “I didn’t hear!” she said. She turned to Ms. Werner. “I really didn’t hear what you said.”

Ms. Werner looked at Lindi. Lindi looked at Ms. Werner. She wondered what Ms. Werner was thinking.

The chanting faded. “What’s going on?” someone asked

Megan spoke up. “Lindi didn’t hear. Everyone was making too much noise. It wasn’t fair.” This time Jason’s mouth dropped open.

“She just said that ’cause she doesn’t want to lose!” Matt said.

Lindi’s stomach felt tight and sort of queasy. It shouldn’t matter so much, she thought. But it did matter. The truth mattered.

Soon the whole class was quiet and waiting to hear what Ms. Werner would decide.

“I have never known Lindi to lie,” Ms. Werner said firmly. “If she says she didn’t hear, then she didn’t hear. We’ll have a rematch.” She smiled at Lindi.

The tight, queasy feeling drained away. It really does pay to be honest, she thought. People notice. Lindi smiled back at Ms. Werner.

The class was quiet now, and she turned to the map. Jason faced the map too. Anything can happen, Lindi thought. We’re both ready this time.

“Lisbon,” Ms. Werner said.

“There!” Lindi quickly stabbed her finger onto the map. Jason’s finger nearly poked the back of Lindi’s hand. He was that close to winning again. But Lindi’s finger was already there.

“You did it!” Megan squealed.

“No way!” Matt shouted.

Jason turned to Lindi. “You won, fair and square.”

Lindi couldn’t help but grin.

Then she faced the map again because Ms. Werner had called up the next challenger. It was time to focus!

Being Honest Matters

At school, a boy and my friend got into a fight. My teacher asked what was going on, and they told her a lie. She asked me what happened. I was going to tell a lie so that my friend wouldn’t get in trouble. But I had a bad feeling, so I told her the truth. After, she said I did the right thing.

Caitlyn T., age 9, North Carolina, USA