'Moms Don't Have Time To': Popular podcast turns into COVID pandemic anthology

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A New York City mom has an inspirational message for mothers everywhere during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"You are not alone," Zibby Owens said. "It's going to be OK!"

We first met Owens back in 2019 and learned how her podcast, "Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books," was paying off for other readers and writers.

When my original report aired on Taxi TV, a couple of executives from Skyhorse Publishing saw the story in the back of a cab and got in touch with her to put together a book. And now, the result is: "Moms Don't Have Time To, A Quarantine Anthology."

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It's the culmination of her experiences during the pandemic, and what for so many is a state of flux.

Owens has been called "a force for good" and "the patron saint of books" thanks to the success of her podcast, but the pandemic forced her to pivot.

"I felt like it was this calling," she said. "Like I was in a position where I could help those authors whose books were just coming out into nothing and nowhere."

Authors had nowhere to promote books in person during the pandemic, as Laurie Gelman has done for her popular "Class Mom" series of books.

It's a situation Owen calls heartbreaking.

"I was literally on the trampoline with my kids, and I pulled out a pen and paper and I was like, 'I'm going to start an Instagram Live show," she said.

Writers also meet readers online at her virtual book club.

She has loved to read since she was a child and still keeps the list of books she finished as a girl, but now as a mother of four, she knows there are limited opportunities.

"Moms don't have time to read, eat, work out, breathe and have sex," she said.

She asked a diverse group of authors to address those five issues for the new book, and Lisa Barr, for example, has an essay is called: "Forget Date Night, Try Date Day."

"Part of the thing with these essays is that they're so short that you can get a really quick literary infusion in your day," Owens said.

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Sandy Kenyon has more on a non-profit group that continues to bring the magic of theater to New York City's public schools amid the pandemic.

She wrote one of her most honest essays after COVID-19 claimed the lives of both her mother-in-law and her husband Kyle's grandmother in the space of just six weeks.

"This virus came out of nowhere and took them both in one fell swoop," she said.

All profits from this book out today go to a program for COVID-19 vaccine research at the Mount Sinai Health System. It's a program named for her late mother-in-law, Susan Felice Owens.

There is a virtual launch party for "Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books" Tuesday night. CLICK HERE for more details.

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