How an Imaginative Child Learning Software Startup Avoided Death by Retail
… as desktop software, ItzaBitza, which gives life to imagination, was fighting death at the hands of a poor economy and a consumer population shifting away from desktop software toward mobile applications.

ItzaBitza eventually found traction through Steam’s gaming platform and its millions of members. Today, Sabi is a lean, cash-flow positive operation in the midst of transition.

USA Today – 4 stars (out of 4)

Animals teach kids to read in ‘ItzaZoo’ “Another great aspect of this game is its replayability. Every time you play, you have a different experience because your drawings will always change.”

USA Today

Perfect for kids learning to read. Emerging readers go on adventures with friendly animals at the zoo. Kids read what the animals need by moving their computer mouse over talk bubbles which are read aloud. Then, they draw requested objects that magically get incorporated into the story. This is one of the most innovative games of the year.

American Library Association (ALA)

Great interactive software for kids.
CHICAGO — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected its Fall 2009 list of Great Interactive Software for Kids (GISK), which recognizes high-quality computer programs and digital media for children 14 years of age and younger. 

Gaming: A Gift Guide for Parents

ItzaZoo (Windows): In this exciting learn-to-read game, children’s drawings become interactive objects. Drawings are incorporated into the game and animated via a revolutionary technology called “Living Ink.” I’m not sure who will be more amazed by the magic behind this game – you or your kids.

The Funky Monkey 

ItzaZoo: Unique & Fun Drawing Computer Game for Kids Giveaway
How fun is this?!?!? I’m telling you – MY 5 1/2 & 7 1/2 (soon to be 8 ) year old LOVE THIS GAME! It’s always ItzaBitza and ItzaZoo time in my home!

CD Reading Games for Kids.  An effort that took three years of work among researchers and educational software developers, ItzaBitza is a reading game unlike any other software game on the market. It allows the child to draw pictures, which are then animated by the program. The objects the child draws then are recognized by the program, and the program’s characters play with the objects the child has drawn. Children To Read And Comprehend.
Within this novel drawing game, animals including elephants, lions and turtles accompany children on a unique journey through the animal kingdom. The magic of Living Ink transforms drawings into interactive environments and allows each child to participate in the creation of an ongoing story. Reading and creative problem-solving skills are taught in a manner that builds self-esteem while providing a fun, unique experience for every player.

The National Parenting Center
Holiday 2009 Seal of Approval Winner

High marks were given for the creativity of the design, the connection the software had with children and the effectiveness of the title to enhance word recognition and reading comprehension.

Parentville received ItzaZoo to try out, which is a follow up game to Sabi’s ItzaBitza software for kids age 4+ (for use on Windows, XP, 7). This is a terrific game to teach reading (each word is called out audibly when you hover the mouse over) and counting (use the mouse to find or make a certain number of objects appear).

Parentville received this ItzaBitza software by Sabi to try out, and it is at the top of my list for learning. It was started by former Microsoft employees who were looking for a better way to empower children’s creativity and promote the love of reading.

Microsoft News Press Release

Sabi Launches “ItzaZoo,” the Latest Breakthrough Learning Game.
KIRKLAND, Wash. — Nov. 24, 2009 — Sabi Inc., a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup company that spun out of Microsoft Research in 2008, has launched “ItzaZoo™,” the latest in a series of unique, engaging interactive drawing and reading games for children age 4 and older.

Business Week – Best Tech For Kids

Why we like it: Adds a new dimension to children’s artwork; when kids sketch a picture on their computer, on-screen avatars actually interact with it.

ABC News

‘ItzaBitza’ brings kids’ drawings to life as they learn ItzaBitza, a new computer game for the PC, offers an exciting new way for kids to play on the computer while learning to read and exploring their creativity.

San Francisco Examiner

Meet the mom behind “..The spotlight is on Margaret Johnson, mom to two kids 11 & 16, and the co-founder and CEO of  .

USA Today – 5 (out of 5) stars

ItzaBitza’ brings kids’ drawings to life as they learn – ItzaBitza, a new reading game for the PC, offers an exciting new way for kids to play on the computer while learning to read and exploring their creativity.

 Itza Bitza {Giveaway}

“.. So he was thrilled when I told him I found a game for him to play on the computer!  The game I am referring to is Itza Bitza, by Sabi, which allows kids to be creative and interact with their creations all while learning and problem solving.  They think they are playing a game while we parents know they are also learning.  Which of course is the best of both worlds right?”

ItzaZoo, an Exquisite Gaming Trip to a Learning Zoo

Sabi has, in our opinion, established a new gaming standard, combining scientific insight into the ways kids learn and state-of-the-art gaming design principles,” added Sharieff Mansour, director of the IP Ventures program at Microsoft. “We’re proud to be part in this collaborative effort, providing the Sabi team with guidance and access to innovative intellectual property so that they can do what they do best — ignite and inspire creativity and learning for kids.” 

Media World: Should parents wage war on video games? 

And plenty of video games, such as ItzaZoowhere kids’ drawings are animated in a pretend zoo — fire up kids’ imaginations, says Jinny Gudmundsen, video games editor of non-profit group Common Sense Media.”

Interested in giving your child something that isn’t so brainless as other games available across various platforms this coming Christmas? You can always purchase ItzaZoo for $19.99 where they will send a boxed version of the CD installer to your doorstep, while folks who want to cut down on their carbon footprint can always do so via an online download. ItzaZoo is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

Computing With Kids Ezine – 5 (out of 5) stars

“One of the most innovative games for kids! Teaches reading and creativity.”
“With the holidays approaching, ItzaZoo would be a great present for any young girl or boy on your list. And libraries, this is a great one to add to your collections.”

The Seattle Times

Xbox exec saw games for daughter and decided to create her own – Microsoft is licensing technology from its advanced-research group to a new children’s video-game company called Sabi in Kirkland.

ItzaBitza wins Parents’ Choice Gold Medal

The more you play ItzaBitza, the harder it is to stop playing. At first it seems like a basic drawing program…ItzaBitza is a must have addition to your home’s interactive library.

[Note: The reviewer wrote more on hew web site – http:///?p=839] Family Computing (4.5 out of 5 stars)

The first word that came to mind when I tested out ItzaBitza was, “Wow!” Imagine drawing a house and having your main character open the door and walk inside. Draw a cloud and it starts to rain. Draw a friend and have a big party. All this and more is possible with kids’ software ItzaBitza from Sabi Software.

ItzaZoo | TechCelebritycom’s Gadget Review

Children jump inside a zoo exhibit, where the animals are friendly and ready to play. With Living Ink–a unique drawing recognition technology–kids draw.

 PC Game Review – Fitzhome

” If you’re a parent looking for a creative way to engage your youngsters ages 4 and up, Itzabitza is a great way to spend some time with them and let them explore their creative side while learning.”

 Island Life

“I really liked how this program encouraged her to read and rewarded her with a sense of accomplishment. She’s a very independent person and thrives on being self-sufficient. I felt this was the perfect program for her to help foster this trait. She also had a lot of fun along the way. It’s a great way to express creativity!”

The Funky Monkey

“ItzaBitza is more than just a fun game. The game has been crafted specifically for early-readers..  Through a delightful twist on drawing games, ItzaBitza introduces a new way for kids to game and while they are playing, really important learning is happening. New methods to engage children, discovered during a multi-year research project conducted by Microsoft Corporation, are fused into the game’s design, yielding a unique experience that encourages fun and learning.”

 Modern Babies and Children

“Wonderful and unique computer game that children 4+ will love this Christmas!  With ItzaBitza, kids can sketch their own creations and watch them come to life!  Not only is this encouraging kids to bring out their inner artist but it will also keep them focused while you cook dinner.” 

The Toy Man – 5 (out of 5) evaluation

ItzaBitza is a pioneer on the bleeding edge of product development It seems like every time we have a new inductee that exceeds everything else to date in WOWfactor!™, you can guarantee that another new inductee is going to make its mark as well soon after, perhaps even better. It seems like new inductees building a better mousetrap. Such is the case with ItzaBitza.


ItzaBitza is now available on Steam – With 20M customers, Steam is one of the largest – if not the largest – online game distribution site on the Internet.

ItzaBitza: Review + Contents – Focusing on teaching basic reading comprehension, problem solving and creativity make for a much more fun experience than expected.

Computer Explorers Includes ItzaBitza in Curriculum

Revolutionary Reading Game, ItzaBitza, Tapped by COMPUTER EXPLORERS to be Incorporated Into International Curriculum – COMPUTER EXPLORERS, a company dedicated to technology and learning, today introduced Sabi, Inc.’s educational computer game, ItzaBitza, as part of the company’s newest curriculum. ItzaBitza is designed to nurture creativity, inspire play and encourage you children to learn to read.

Microsoft Press Pass – Sabi is a Microsoft spin-off company

Innovation Through Intellectual Property (IP) Collaboration: Microsoft and Sabi Team Up to Make Learning Fun – “ItzaBitza” fuses cutting-edge game design with cognitive science never seen before in previous reading games. ItzaBitza promotes reading comprehension, foster creativity and provide a compelling gaming experience for kids ages four and older.

Callapidder Days –ItzaBitza is Fun and Unique

Computer games giveaway: ItzaBitza – ItzaBitza is a fun, unique game for pre-readers and early readers…Overall, I’m a fan of ItzaBitza. Its icon now has a permanent home on our PC’s desktop.

Daily Connect

Microsoft, Sabi launch ItzaBitza, a game that makes learning fun – Sabi Inc., a Seattle-based startup company, and Microsoft Corp. announce the launch of ItzaBitza, a unique, engaging interactive drawing and reading game for children age 4 and older.Sabi was created through…

Common Sense Media

ItzaBitza receives 5 (out of 5) star review – ItzaBitza Video Game Reviews for kids and families. Common Sense Media helps parents find video games appropriate for kids.

Microsoft-backed Sabi launches cool drawing game for kids – Kids educational programs haven’t been the most exciting market for game makers. But Microsoft is announcing today that it has …

ItzaBitza on Kong 6 (local Seattle channel)


3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Review: ItzaBitzaPC Game for Kids – Bravo Margaret Johnson! She is the mom behind , whose team was responsible for developing this computer game for children age 4 and over called ItzaBitza.When I was offered a chance to review this game, I knew my son Jake (who just turned 5) would be the perfect guinea pig. …

From Melissa’s Desk

ItzaBitza Review and Giveaway!! – ItzaBitza is a fun new children’s educational computer game in which your child’s own creativity powers the game world. The main characters of the game are called Sketchies and they have interesting wants and needs. Your child provides for them…

Classy Chaos

ItzaBitza Review and Giveaway We have lots computer games at home. Some educational and some fun. I can honestly say that this is a game that is both. It is well worth the $20.

Daddy Forever

ItzaBitza Review and Giveaway – Even though the game is probably better suited for younger readers, I had the Little Princess (age eight) test drive the game. She loved it and enjoyed figuring out how to help the Sketchies…

Pajama Mommy

ItzaBitza – I would have to say, it is by far the most creative and fun game I have played, and I am a twenty-one year old!…You can purchase the ItzaBitza game right now at ItzaBitza, or you can purchase a physical copy at If you are not ready to buy the product, you can also experience a 2-day trial of the game Although, you will not be disappointed with your purchase, it is totally worth the money!

A Roaming Aussie Mum

Drawing and Reading with Itzabitza – All in all I was very impressed with Itzabitza. I thought it was educational and engaging for kids and built on great technology that was lots of fun to play with.

Mom in the City

ItzaBitza brings your child’s art to life – ItzaBitza is a really wonderful new drawing game for kids. My (almost 5 year old) son Michael has wanted to play it every day since we received it to review.

Army Mom: New Jersey

ItzaBitza Review and Giveaway – It’s educational and the graphics are great.

what mommies need

Review: ItzaBitza – Itza Bitza was different than anything else we had played before.


ItzaBitza Review – Both my 4yo and my 5yo fight over who gets to play first. The cost of this game is very reasonable and it is a download. So no waiting for it in the mail.

Annoyingly Boring?

ItzaBitza Product Review! And a Bitza a Giveaway! – So, what did the kids (and I) thought about the game? Read on…My kids have really gotten a kick out of it, they think, “it’s fun to see what you draw come to life“, “playing in the different worlds is fun“, “the game is very creative and fun.” “Any game with cow poop must be cool.”

No Minivan

It’s a small world after all – …The game was great for that because no matter how his 4.5-year-old scribble looked, the game accepted it and interacted with it the same as it would if a professional artist drew it. We even had a good laugh when the little character was using his shovel upside down. The colors are bright, the animations are simple but captivating, and the directions are appropriate for all ages.

this game is so much fun! – This is one of the most entertaining game I’ve played in a long time. Yes, I admit I played ItzaBitza. My kids weren’t even around. The concept of ItzaBitza is awesome..I’ve never seen anything like it.

Best video games for young kids – For young video gamers between 4 – 6 years old, we recommend Itzabitza by Microsoft Windows for personal computers. This game has a new drawing recognition tool that incorporates a child’s artwork into the game play.

All American Mommy

Itza Lota Fun With ItzaBitza Game! – ItzaBitza is a great new educational game for children that teaches learning and creativity. Kids love this game because they draw their own pictures, things like houses and trees, and those drawings become part of the animation and story. All

Supermom Reviews

ItzaBitza Computer Game ~ A Review – I would like to say a BIG HUGE THANK YOU for the opportunity to review this game with my children!!! THANK YOU !! THANK YOU !!

It has been an instant hit since being installed onto the computer! Really!!! It’s all they can think about and ask about. Can we play the game? Can we play the game? It’s like in surround sound when they all ask together.

What Mommies need

Review: ItzaBitza – …Itza Bitza was different than anything else we had played before…What an awesome way to teach reading skills!!…I hope your children will enjoy this game as much as mine has.

Dad of Divas

ItzaBitza Product Review – Overall, I would say that I would recommend this to anyone. It has great features that encourage kids creativity and allows for the turning of brainless computer time into something more productive!


Product Review – ItzaBitza – ItzaBitza is one of the most intriguing kid’s programs I have ever seen.

No Ordinary Moments

ItzaBitza Review and Giveaway –  Bottom line ~ the kids LOVE it!

School Library Journal

Parents as game Designers – There’s a new generation of video game creators who are parents, self-publishers, and savvy technologists, among them the CEO of Sabi, Margaret Johnson, Leveractive’s Tim Leverett, and Digitell’s Giselle Uffens.

Lookit! I Spy…

ItzaBitza Game for Kids – Both of my kids enjoyed the game, and I look forward to them using it for a few years to help with reading and problem solving all in a fun way.

Chicago Sun-Times / Entertainment section

‘ItzaBitza’ takes kids into a world of learning – The game, for ages 4 and up, launches a new frontier in reading for preschoolers, turning a normal computer screen into an interactive art easel that propels children into a learning arena that enhances word recognition, reading comprehension, reasoning skills and creativity.

Simple Mom Reviews

ItzaBitza – Let’s Draw and Learn, Computer Style! – I’m pretty picky when it comes to what online games my daughter can play. ItzaBitza gets my parental seal of approval.

a nut in a nutshell

It’s magical and completely charming! – Although the game is intended for prereaders ages 4+, my teenage son and I had an absolute ball with it, and we laughed so hard that I had tears streaming down my face. He told me that this is exactly the kind of game he would have loved when he was little.

The Opinionated Parent

With ItzaBitza your child’s drawings spring to life! – Brilliant! It teaches simple following of directions while allowing for the flexibility of creativity and whimsy.

At only $19.99, it’s an absolute steal. For the price (and even a higher one), in my opinion, there aren’t many finer educational (all the while fun) games out there for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children.

ItzaBitza gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from our family!

Flying Giggles and Lollipops

Anyone who says computer games do not promote creativity and spark the imagination of children, has not seen or played ItzaBitza.  The game is rated for ages 4 and up. I played the ItzaBitza game with her the first few times and then left her to explore the game on her own. Once she understood how to read the dialogue with the mouse, she did not need anymore assistance from me. Although, I still love hanging out with her while she played because I enjoy seeing the excitment on her face when her creations came to life.


PC Game Review: ItzaBitza  The folks at have an amazing understanding of what makes kids tick and how to keep them entertained while simultaneously teaching them about cause and effect, reading, and how to use their creativity.