Automatic interpretation of human actions gained strong interest among researchers in patter recognition and computer vision because of its wide range of applications, such as in social and home robotics, elderly people health care, surveillance, among others. In this paper, we propose a method for recognition of human actions by analysis of skeleton poses. The method that we propose is based on novel trainable feature extractors, which can learn the representation of prototype skeleton examples and can be employed to recognize skeleton poses of interest. We combine the proposed feature extractors with an approach for classification of pose sequences based on string kernels. We carried out experiments on three benchmark data sets (MIVIA-S, MSRSDA and MHAD) and the results that we achieved are comparable or higher than the ones obtained by other existing methods. A further important contribution of this work is the MIVIA-S dataset, that we collected and made publicly available.