Spanish Language Blog

Manolito Gafotas Posted by on Aug 7, 2008 in Spanish Culture

Have you ever heard of Manolito Gafotas? Manolito is a series of kids’ books written by Spanish author Elvira Lindo. They tell the story of Manolito in the district of Carabanchel, in Madrid. Manolito is a common kid and his stories are written with lots of humor and tenderness. These stories started on the radio, then became books, and were eventually adapted as movies and a TV series. It’s a good read and I highly recommend it. Here’s a link to one of the stories, Manolito tiene un secreto (Manolito has a secret), (, check it out, you won’t regret it! You can also buy his books and DVDs in the USA. Post your comments and tell us what you think!

Nos vemos prontito.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. George Meagher:

    The first line of the story reads:
    El otro día, la sita Asunción entró en clase con una noticia muy grande que darnos.
    What is “sita”?
    I have asked Spanish speaking friends from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru. None of them have any idea.

  2. david carmona:

    “Sita” is childspeak for “Señorita” (referring to a teacher). Another common way for children to refer to their female teacher is “Seño”.

  3. Adir Ferreira:

    And in Mexico they also use “señito” as a diminutive of seño.

  4. George Meagher:

    I’m guessing “la tía” in the second line means something like “the old hag” rather than “the aunt”?

  5. david carmona:

    You guessed it right! 🙂

  6. George Meagher:

    How should I translate sardinillas ?

  7. david carmona:

    Well, the truth is that “sardinilla” cannot be translated into English, since it’s culturally unique. A translator would just put it in italics and explain it in a footnote.
    The meaning of the term is explained in the text; it’s in brackets right after it appears. However, I don’t think you can quite picture it unless you’ve seen someone perform it before. You’re supposed to approach the “victim” from behind, raise your hand, and then drop it as fast as you can in a whip-like manner so that your knuckles brush very quickly down the victim’s bum. Oddly enough, you can do this to friends and foes alike, although the response you get from them will be very different, since the procedure is quite painful for the receiver. Oh, and bear in mind that performing “sardinillas” becomes quite unfashionable after the age of 12-14.

  8. Aida:

    Hi to all fans of Manolito
    Manolito is a great hero in his own world. He is nice and lovely but naughty child.
    The writer’s stile and imagination is really great to make this attractive story with highly affective words out of usual life of a usual boy.
    I love you Manolito

  9. George:

    any idea how to translate
    “Taran tarateja… Taran tarateja … Colleja. Colleja. “

  10. david carmona:

    The first part is just a silly meaningless ditty that leads to the rhyming “colleja”. A “colleja” is a slap on the nape, normally after sneaking up from behind the victim. Depending on your relationship with that person, the purpose can range from a playful greeting to a friend, as a laugh, to an act of bullying if done repeatedly and mockingly.

  11. Ailsa:

    Hi! I’m studying translation also, I just wondered if Manolito tiene un secreto has yet been translated into English at all that anybody knows of?
    Thanks very much