Book Review & Giveaway: Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing, May 1, 2022
Category: Children’s Graphic Novels, Pirates, Action Adventure, Jewish, Children’s Prejudice and Racism
ISBN: 978-1728420097
Available in Print and ebook, 96 pages
Jose and the Pirate Captain


Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive.

José Alfaro is a cocky, rambunctious teen in the 16th-century colony of Santo Domingo, pulling pranks and dodging the authorities. One day, José’s mischief lands him in serious trouble.

Hoping for a fresh start, he stows away on the Laqish, not knowing that it’s a pirate ship. From his hiding place, he watches the pirates divide their loot and plan their attacks on long days at sea. He also takes note of the respect they have for their captain, the intimidating Toledano.

But the captain has a secret―like José, he is a Jew. For him, piracy is not about the gold; it has a different purpose.

Under the tutelage of the ship’s quartermaster, José learns the intricacies of pirate life. But when he can, the captain finds ways to pull José away from the crew, to teach him about his ancestors.

Guest Review by Sal

“On Sundays, I went to church like everyone else. But late at night, I prayed to our God and studied our holy books. I kept a careful calendar so I would not miss our holidays. And on Friday nights, I lit the candles, and recited the blessing over wine.” – ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

A story about the perseverance of faith and loyalty in an unjust world, ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is a graphic novel for all ages, and one that everyone should read.

In 1547, much of the world was being crushed in the cold grip of the Spanish Inquisition. This graphic novel is set in one such part of the world, San Domingo, a fictional colony in the new world, where a young man named Jose Alfaro resides.

Jose is a wildly intelligent, if a little over-confident young man who has, up until the start of the story, led a pretty easy life. Despite losing his mother at a young age, Jose has had the benefits of an extensive education from his father, the treasurer of the colony.

Of course, this all goes away when a ship bearing several high up members of the Spanish Inquisition washes ashore, having been attacked by pirates. Jose’s father, Señor Alfaro, reveals to him that they are Jewish and that he has hidden this fact for Jose’s entire life.

Terrified that he is going to be arrested, Señor Alfaro tries to entreat Jose to listen so that he can be prepared to evade arrest, but just as he is going to do so their door is kicked in and Señor Alfaro is arrested by the Inquisition.

Jose escapes, but only barely and winds up climbing aboard a pirate ship where he must rely on the captain, the aforementioned Captain Toledano, in order to survive and hopefully return to San Domingo and recue his father.

A compelling story with a lot of heart, expertly written and illustrated! ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is just the story for you if you love historical fiction!

Advance Praise Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano 

Winner of the PJ Our Way Author Incentive Award

Praise The Pirate Captain Toledano Film

“Despite its brevity this movie was extremely well done, emotionally very moving, realistic, and genuine.”-Anne, Amazon

“I’ve definitely never seen this version of pirate storytelling, or even knew about their existence historically until now, but it’s SO fascinating to think about what these pirates could have been like. The score, the acting, and the storyline flows so well and definitely makes you want to keep watching what happens with the stowaway. I’d love to see this made into a feature one day.”-Milagros Ortiz, Amazon

“Filled with suspense and genuine emotion. I was moved by the story and very impressed.”- Philip W, Amazon

IndieFEST Film Awards Winner: Award of Excellence

Near Nazareth Film Festival Winner: Jury Award

About the Author

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrArnon Z. Shorr is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker of character-driven adventures and thrillers, where heroes grapple with the extraordinary, and in doing so, learn important truths about themselves.

Arnon spent most of his childhood between worlds: a Hebrew speaker in America, a private school kid in a rented two-bedroom apartment. Whenever he’d set foot in one world, his other foot would betray him as different. For that reason, he tells stories that embrace the peculiar, where encounters with the unexpected reveal who we are.


About the Illustrator

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrJoshua Edelglass is a freelance illustrator from Massachusetts. He is also the Assistant Director of Camp Ramah New England. At Brown University, Josh wrote and drew the political cartoon, WorldView for The Brown Daily Herald. That experience gave him the bug for cartooning, a passion that has never left him.

Josh’s work has appeared in a variety of exhibitions, including Pow! Jewish Comics Art and Influence that ran at the Brooklyn Jewish Art Museum in Spring 2018. Josh was included in the Jewish Comix Anthology, published in 2014 by Alternative History Press. Josh was also included in SCI: The Jewish Comics Anthology vol. 2, which was published in the fall of 2018.





This giveaway is for 2 print copies One for each of 2 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

2 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

  1. teddyrose1 June 28, 2022 / 3:04 pm

    I’m so glad Sal enjoyed the book! Thanks so much for hosting!


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