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From Bedtime Whispers to World-Changing Stories

The quiet whisper of bedtime stories echoing in dimly-lit rooms, followed by a hush and the gentle lull of sleep, is a long-honored evening ritual for families around the world. Many parents have said these moments form the cradle of their most-cherished memories. But for Ashin Shaw and his wife, Sahar Abdizadeh, it was much more than just a ritual—it was the birthplace of a mission.


With his background in product management and world travel, Afshin felt a universal resonance during these intimate moments. He often remarked to Sahar, the family’s maestra of human-computer interaction design, that bedtime was his favorite time of the day—a sentiment shared remarkably by nearly 90% of US parents.


Both hailed an intricate tapestry of cultures, from the rich traditions of Iran to the bustling urbanity of Dubai and the diverse landscapes of the United States. Afshin and Sahar’s globe-trotting journeys, combined with their unique professional backgrounds, created a unique perspective. Yet, it was their most-treasured roles as parents that awaked their vision.


It was one evening, after diving into yet another bedtime ritual with their two young sons, that a new realization dawned. Their boys’ beloved bedtime stories, meant to foster growth and shape young minds, often lacked depth in over crucial area…social-emotional development (or SEL). It wasn’t merely Afshin and Sahar’s observation. They learned that fellow parents, teachers, and therapists also felt the void.


Compelled by their personal experiences, enriched by their diverse backgrounds, and fueled by the genuine need in the world around them, their vision was clear. Afshin and Sahar embarked on a journey to weave SEL into children’s stories, with the hope of nurturing the hearts and minds of the next generation, perhaps even generations to come.

Thus, Zoy was born, as not just a company, but a promise—a commitment to harness the magic of storytelling to foster emotional intelligence in every child, everywhere.

Steering the SEL Ship

At Zoy, our mission is to equip educators, therapists, and parents with needed tools and resources that foster holistic social-emotional development in children. We envision a world where every child understands, values, and harnesses their emotions successfully so that they’re empowered for a brighter future.

The Heart & Soul of Zoy

Behind every playful story and meticulously-crafted resource is a team united by a singular purpose: to empower the next generation through social-emotional learning (or SEL). Zoy’s ensemble of experts ranges from licensed teachers and board-approved child psychologists to witty writers and talented illustrators. Each member brings their unique expertise, ensuring that Zoy isn’t simply about learning. We’re about experiencing joy and authenticity in every interaction. Together, our team harmonizes the power of research with creativity, knowledge with novelty, and passion with precision. Jump onto our carousel to meet the team who breathes life into Zoy every day!

Carrie Turner

Writer and Lead Editor Texas, USA

Carrie is a children’s author and editor who’s written over 2 dozen children’s books and edited many more. After studying Child and Family Development at Stephen F. Austin, she taught…

Ashley Bugge

Director of Creative Operations Washington, USA

Ashley Bugge is an award-winning author and K-12 educator, who utilizes her training and expertise in the subjects of human behavior and leadership to create authentic and transformational material for…

Elena Gjorgjevska

Storybook Illustrator Bitola, North Macedonia

Elena Gjorgjievska is a fine artist, painter, and illustrator living in Bitola. Love drawing and painting since an early age. She has an MA degree in painting from the Faculty…

Katy Crawford

Education Specialist New York, USA

Katy holds a Master’s Degree in Education with over ten years of special education classroom experience focusing on behaviors. Katy has a passion for social-emotional learning and has put her…

Mary Beth Bass

Writer Massachusetts, USA

Mary Beth Bass is an award-winning fiction writer with a side of teaching and theatre. She’s also written about life-changing food, far-off places, silly kids, and big secrets! She loves…

Richard Anderson

Head Comedy Writer California, USA

Richard Anderson is a comedy writer who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where he fell in love with Dr. Seuss and other whimsical storybooks. After graduating from the University of…

Saskia Helen

Subject Matter Expert Missouri, USA

Saskia Helen is a former educator and SEL specialist who now provides countless families and classrooms with essential tools for building relationships, supporting and uplifting children, and helping them to…

David Tate

Writer California, USA

David has a background in more traditional literature for older audiences, but after writing his first children’s book a few years back, he fell in love with the idea of…

Dr. Sabahat Shah

Therapist and Child Development Expert Florida, USA

Bibi Sabahat Shah is a therapist and child development expert who works with children and families. Her goal is to help families nurture what is most important for healthy minds…

Natalia Hartono

Storybook Illustrator Surabaya, Indonesia

Natalia is an illustrator based in Indonesia. She has loved illustration and character design (and cute things!) since childhood. She currently works on children’s book illustrations and character design for…

Mariia Shabadash

Storybook Illustrator Mykolaiv, Ukraine

Since childhood, Mariia was interested in painting and was charmed by how every painter depicted their vision of the world. Having become an illustrator of children’s books, Mariia obtained an…

Enghel Garcia

Psychometrician & Illustrator Laguna, Philippines

Enghel Garcia is a psychometrician turned graphic illustrator who has been drawing since she was 5. She loves watching animated series. After having a Psychology Degree and becoming a Psychometrician,…

Olena Danilchenko

Head of Marketing & Strategy Massachusetts, USA

Olena is an award-winning, proactive growth-minded strategic marketing leader with diverse experience in global marketing and consulting roles. Olena has over 25 years of experience developing new go-to-market strategies and…

Pillars of Our Passion

At the heart of Zoy are values that go beyond just words—they’re the compass that directs us in every endeavor, with every resource we create. In the vibrant tapestry of Zoy, these values are the threads that bind us, making us who we are, and guiding us towards a future full of promise and potential.

Joyful Connections

We don’t just aim to teach; we aspire to connect. For us, the journey of learning is peppered with fun, laughter, and those ‘aha!’ moments that make each day a celebration.

Diverse Families, One Community

Every family is a universe, each with its own stories and traditions. We cherish this diversity, understanding that these differences make our community rich and vibrant.

Creative Collaborations

Our spirit thrives on community and creativity. We believe in the magic that’s born when passionate minds collaborate, be it through innovative solutions or a simple doodle that brings a smile.

Open Conversations

For us, open-mindedness isn’t just a value—it’s a practice. We engage in genuine conversations, being always eager to listen, learn, and share, ensuring that our journey is as inclusive as it is enlightening.

The Pursuit of Knowledge

The world of SEL is vast and ever-evolving. With a commitment to continuous learning, we remain at the forefront, making certain that our offerings are both current and impactful.

Unified Expertise

We don’t walk alone. Alongside us are esteemed educators, therapists, and SEL specialists—thought leaders who amplify our mission and enhance our expertise. 

Joyful Connections

We don’t just aim to teach; we aspire to connect. For us, the journey of learning is peppered with fun, laughter, and those ‘aha!’ moments that make each day a celebration.

Diverse Families, One Community

Every family is a universe, each with its own stories and traditions. We cherish this diversity, understanding that these differences make our community rich and vibrant.

Creative Collaborations

Our spirit thrives on community and creativity. We believe in the magic that’s born when passionate minds collaborate, be it through innovative solutions or a simple doodle that brings a smile.

Open Conversations

For us, open-mindedness isn’t just a value—it’s a practice. We engage in genuine conversations, being always eager to listen, learn, and share, ensuring that our journey is as inclusive as it is enlightening.

The Pursuit of Knowledge

The world of SEL is vast and ever-evolving. With a commitment to continuous learning, we remain at the forefront, making certain that our offerings are both current and impactful.

Unified Expertise

We don’t walk alone. Alongside us are esteemed educators, therapists, and SEL specialists—thought leaders who amplify our mission and enhance our expertise. 

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