The Young Mathematical Story Author (YMSA) competition is an annual international competition set up to encourage young mathematics learners (8-13 years old) from around the world to embed their mathematics learning in a meaningful and engaging context through creating mathematical story picture books. The competition is organised by Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai (Lecturer in Primary Mathematics Education) and his project. Its first competition was held this year.

The idea behind this competition is rooted in Dr. Trakulphadetkrai’s research on empowering young mathematics learners to become mathematical storytellers. He comments that “Sometimes, it can be difficult for researchers to try to entice busy and risk-averse classroom practitioners to try new teaching approaches. By organising this competition, teachers in different countries and their pupils suddenly became very excited by this new mathematics teaching and learning idea and were very happy to give it a go without me having to spend days and weeks trying to convince them of the benefits behind the approach. This competition is very handy for me to try to generate real-world research impact in a fun and engaging way.”

In addition to Dr. Trakulphadetkrai, the judging panel also includes two of the world’s most prolific and best-selling mathematical story authors, Stuart J. Murphy and Cindy Neuschwander.

There are two entry categories: 8-10 and 11-13 years old, and the awards for these two categories are named The Stuart J. Murphy Award and The Cindy Neuschwander Award respectively.

The winner in each of these two categories receives an award of £100, and their school also receives £100. The Stuart J. Murphy Award and The Cindy Neuschwander Award are funded by HarperCollins and Charlesbridge respectively.

This year, the competition has been very competitive with over 260 mathematical stories from students, aged 8-13 from 30 schools across six countries.

To read winning and shortlisted stories as well as the authors’ and judges’ comments, please click here. Below are the winning authors’ and judges’ comment in each of the two categories:


The Stuart J. Murphy Award (the 8-10 years old category)


The Cindy Neuschwander Award (the 11-13 years old category)