Lecture on WWII WASPS set for June 15 at Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s Warren branch

Carol Levin librarian red jacket

Carol Simon Levin, a SCLSNJ youth services librarian and historical interpreter, will present A W.A.S.P. Takes Wing: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II at SCLSNJ’s Lunch & Learn on June 15, at SCLSNJ’s Warren Township Library branch. (photo courtesy Carol Simon)

On June 15 at 11 a.m., Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s Warren Township Library branch, located at 42 Mountain Blvd. in Warren Township, will host a special Lunch & Learn program about the Women Airforce Pilots (WASPs) of World War II.
Refreshments will be provided; attendees are welcome to bring lunch.

SCLSNJ Youth Services Librarian Carol Simon Levin will tell the amazing
story of WASPs through the eyes of Ann Baumgartner Carl, the Jersey girl who trained as a WASP and became the only American woman to test-fly experimental planes during World War II and the first American woman to fly a jet airplane.

“This program came about by accident,” said Levin, who has worked with SCLSNJ
for over 25 years. “In another program I was leading, attendees were asking lots of questions about WASPs. I started to do research and came across Ann’s autobiography. It immediately caught my interest because she was a Jersey girl who went through WASP training and then became the only female military test pilot in WWII.

She was absolutely fascinating. I enjoyed researching her and now I enjoy sharing her story.”

For over four years, Levin has been telling the stories of our rich history through first-person presentations. Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge or pioneering female pilots, Levin focuses on women who haven’t received a lot of attention.

“I try to bring out the ‘not-so-well-known’ stories,” said Levin. “Did you know that during World War II, more than 1,000 women volunteers completed the WASP military pilot training program? Thirty-eight of them died serving their country. Then they were told that men needed their jobs and they were dismissed and forgotten. But their impact on aviation – and women in the workforce – is undeniable. That’s a story worth sharing.”

If you are curious to learn more about the WASPs, Levin recommends:
A WASP Among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II by Ann Baumgarten Carl
Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II by Amy Nathan
On Silver Wings: the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, 1942-1944 by Marianne Verges
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
Wings by Karl Friedrich
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

She also suggests these titles about fascinating women history forgot:
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — and the World by Rachel Swaby
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh
Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers by Anna M. Lewis
Roaring 20: The First Cross-Country Air Race for Women by Margaret Whitman
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy
Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II (DVD)

All of Levin’s suggestions are available for checkout at SCLSNJ.
For additional title suggestions or more information about Levin’s programs visit

For more information and to register for Levin’s June 15 Lunch & Learn program, or to learn more about additional SCLSNJ Lunch & Learn adult education programs, visit
SCLSNJ.org or call 908-754-5554.

This item was submitted by Somerset County Library Systems of New Jersey.



About Carol Simon Levin

Carol Simon Levin has had a career as a college & children’s librarian, author, storyteller and program presenter. Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge, telling the amazing stories of early women in aviation, engaging families in a rousing Halloween Hootenany of songs and stories, expanding on the mathematical and artistic possibilities of a simple square, or sharing the story of a dolphin who learned to swim with an artificial tail (along with activities to help children understand what it is like to live with a disability), she always strives to create exciting programs that engage her audience’s interests and expand their horizons. She has always been particularly fascinated by the history of technology and women’s history. She has authored Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates and has created three programs introducing the women — well-known and unknown — who worked tirelessly for women’s rights in this country. For more information on any of her Telling Her Stories presentations, check out the website tellingherstories.com. She can bring her presentations to libraries, senior centers, historical societies, schools, camps and other venues. Each can be tailored to different ages. Additional programs and resources for children and teachers can be found at: www.carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com. Carol Simon Levin is a member of the New Jersey Storytelling Network, the New Jersey Library Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She can be reached at: cslevin59 (at) gmail.com or by phone 908 781-6041 (home) or 908 361-6519 (cell).
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