Skull­caps and Crossbones

Yon­ah Klein
  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

Rab­bi Shmuel Kafri, a his­to­ri­an work­ing for the Jew­ish Antiq­ui­ties Soci­ety, and his son Yitzchak trav­el to Israel to exam­ine arti­facts from a new­ly unearthed genizah dat­ing back to the 1500s. Among the con­tents, Kafri finds the diary of Yaakov Koriel, a con­ver­so Span­ish ship cap­tain dur­ing the time of the Inqui­si­tion who turned to pirat­ing after his con­tin­ued secret prac­tice of Judaism was dis­cov­ered. Hid­den with­in the diary is a trea­sure map that takes Rab­bi Kafri and Yitzchak to Jamaica to inves­ti­gate. How­ev­er, the father-son team soon dis­cov­er that they are not the only ones after the trea­sure, and they will have to act fast to get to it first. 

Deliv­ered in graph­ic nov­el for­mat, Skull­caps and Cross­bones offers an engag­ing introduc­tion to a less­er-known aspect of Jew­ish his­to­ry. Well-com­posed pan­els move the nar­ra­tive for­ward dynam­i­cal­ly, while fac­tu­al notes at the bot­tom of each page pro­vide his­tor­i­cal context. 

Skull­caps and Cross­bones is the first in a series of Shmuel Kafri’s adventures. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 10 – 14.

Discussion Questions