The Young Mathematical Story Author (YMSA) competition is back! The competition is the world’s first international mathematical story writing competition, and is now in its fifth year. Launched in 2019 by Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai (Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Reading and founder of, the competition has since received YMSA entries from nearly 2,000 students (aged 8-15 years old) across 18 countries around the world.

Dr. Trakulphadetkrai points out that “What truly unique about this competition is the focus on writing stories with an explicit mathematical focus. Specifically, the competition is designed 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 idea behind this competition is based on the promising preliminary findings from a research project by Dr. Trakulphadetkrai which found potential pedagogical benefits of developing children’s mathematical understanding by having children produce their own mathematical story picture books.

Apart from Dr. Trakulphadetkrai, the judging panel of this competition also includes two of the world’s most prolific and best-selling mathematical story authors, Stuart J. Murphy and Cindy Neuschwander. Both Stuart and Cindy have also kindly agreed to let Dr. Trakulphadetkrai name the awards for the winners of the 8-11 and 12-15 age group categories as The Stuart J. Murphy Award and The Cindy Neuschwander Award respectively.

The winner in each of the two entry categories will receive the award of £100, and their school will also receive £100. The Stuart J. Murphy Award and The Cindy Neuschwander Award are kindly sponsored by HarperCollins and Charlesbridge respectively.

Closing date for entries is Friday 31st March 2023 (17:00 UK time).

This competition is organised by, a non-profit and research-based initiative, set up by Dr. Trakulphadetkrai. The initiative sets out to help mathematics learners around the world develop their conceptual understanding in mathematics and to help them foster positive attitudes towards the subject through the power of storytelling. Since its launch in March 2017, the website has now been visited over 1,400,000 times by more than 380,000 teachers and parents from nearly 220 countries.

More details of the competition can be found here.

More details of can be found on its website.


To learn more about Dr. Trakulphadetkrai’s research interests, click here. He tweets at @NatthapojVinceT.