The Young Mathematical Story Author (YMSA) competition is the world’s first annual international competition set up to encourage young mathematics learners (8-15 years old) from around the world to embed their mathematics learning in a meaningful and engaging context through creating their own mathematical story picture book. The competition is organised by Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai (Lecturer in Primary Mathematics Education, University of Reading) and his project. 2020 is the competition’s second year and it received entries from 329 students across 50 schools and homeschooling sites in 10 countries around the world.

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: 8-11 and 12-15 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.

To read winning and shortlisted stories as well as the authors’ and judges’ comments, please click here.


The Stuart J. Murphy Award (8-11 years old category)



The Cindy Neuschwander Award (12-15 years old category)