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"Children of the Sky is a fascinating fictional account of how the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars played an important part in Skidi Pawnee ceremonial ways 400 years ago."

Pat Leading Fox, Head Chief of the Skidi Pawnee    

"Professionally bonded with the stars through public astronomy, Von Del Chamberlain is also one of our foremost explorers of ancient astronomy in the American West. In 1982, he wrote the book—When the Stars Came Down to Earth—on the rich sky lore of the Skidi Pawnee, for whom the stars were the framework for belief and survival on the Great Plains of eastern Nebraska. Now, in Children of the Sky, he again pulls those Skidi Pawnee stars back down to earth in a story that turns ethnography into characters, action, and consequences and lets us see through engaging narrative the meaning one group of people found in the sky."

Dr. E.C. Krupp, Director, Griffith Observatory
Bob Blasing, Retired Area Archeologist,
Bureau of Reclamation,Oklahoma-Texas Area Office

“Author, astronomer, Von Del Chamberlain, is a master in combining the very different disciplines of astronomy, geography and ethnography. He has taken this insight and extensive research to a new level by expanding it into an epic novel, Children of the Sky. The book not only describes the lifeways of an intelligent people with star-based religion that lived 400 years ago but also gives this information a human face.”

Bob Blasing.Retired Area Archeologist,
Bureau of Reclamation, Oklahoma-Texas Area Office

“Von Del Chamberlain, an astronomer, and educator has written a wonderful new novel, Children of the Sky. His love of the land, the Pawnee people, and their history is reflected in this highly recommended gripping saga of a people and the stars that deeply influence their culture.”

Richard Gould, Administrator
Pawnee Indian Village Museum

"A highly regarded astronomy educator and cultural astronomy researcher applies knowledge of rich Skidi Pawnee cosmic traditions to imagine what life might have been like for people on the Great American Plains during the 1600s as they struggled with the land and with each other under the guidance of the Sun, Moon planets, and stars. Now he shares this insightful vision with us in Children of the Sky."

Victor B. Fisher, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
Towson University    


      I first read Von Del Chamberlain's book “When Stars Came Down to Earth” when I was a graduate student in Anthropology during the early 1980’s.  I was fascinated both by his painstaking research of the subject and by the insight he displayed in interpreting this information.  His mastery in combining the very different disciplines of astronomy, geography and ethnography literally made me change my way of looking at my chosen field of Anthropology.

     I still use his early book as a resource in my research today.  One of the things I found most fascinating about his early book was that it gave the reader insight into not only the actions and habits of these ancient people but into the thought and reasoning behind their actions.  Now he is taking this insight to a new level, by expanding it into an epic novel that not only describes the lifeways of people living more than 400 years ago but also gives this information a human face.  

     He combines his extensive research on the star based religion of the ancient Pawnee People with a portrayal of the day-to-day decisions involved in the dramatic lives of fictional but very believable individuals.  By doing this, he gives the reader a vision of these ancient people and how their understanding of the world around them influenced their actions.  He sees these ancient inhabitants of the Plains not as primitives, but as highly intelligent planners. They are shown to have had an understanding of the natural world that, while very different from our own, was extensive and served them well. 

Bob Blasing
Retired Area Archeologist,
Bureau of Reclamation, Oklahoma-Texas Area Office


      For many of us who are involved in archaeoastronomy, it seems natural to think of Von Del Chamberlain in terms of our personal relationships with him. When I did my doctoral dissertation in archaeoastronomy I was given the opportunity to invite someone from this field to be on my committee. I immediately went for the best and sought Von Del Chamberlain to serve in this capacity. It was my great good luck that he agreed to do so. He has guided and inspired me ever since. Had it not been for Von Del, my dissertation might not have been possible. 

     Von Del Chamberlain is appropriately regarded as one of the founding fathers of American archaeoastronomy. He has contributed significantly to the body of literature that defines this discipline. The breadth of his knowledge, the clarity of his thinking, and the excellence of his writing have earned him the respect of an international body of colleagues. He is famous for his calm, steady, and dependably balanced evaluations of arguments presented by scholars in this “interdiscipline.” On top of all the rest, Von Del is certainly one of the most personable people in this field.
     I know of no one in any academic field who understands Skidi Pawnee culture as fully as Von Del. It was he, after all, who wrote the highly acclaimed When Stars Come Down to Earth: Cosmology of the Skidi Pawnee Indians of North America. In it, his ability to explain matters of astronomy and culture in simple language to non-astronomers emerged as a major asset. 

     In explaining the Skid Pawnee devotion to (or obsession with) matters astronomical, in his new book Children of the Sky, Chamberlain has put flesh on the bones of astronomy. He has created Skidi characters who, while engaged in their day-to-day lives, are nearly always aware of events in the heavens. The motion of the stars in particular, but also of the planets and the occurrence of a meteor shower – these are portrayed in terms of their impact on and relevance for Skidi individuals. All of this is done in a compelling manner by a professional astronomer whose extensive knowledge of Native American cultures enriches the narrative. 

Victor B. Fisher

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Towson University