In 1991, the Estonian Children’s Library – the predecessor of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre – organised a sculpture competition to establish a tiny statue for a children’s literature award. The competition was won with the entry “Nukitsamees“ by Elo Liiv, a second-year student in the sculpture department of Tallinn’s Academy of Arts. After the competition, a clay model was cast into bronze – a little horned boy sitting cross-legged and reading a book. In 1992 the same bronze statues were awarded for the first time to the winners of the Nukits competition.
The round logo bearing the figure of Nukitsamees, drawn by Elo Liiv, was adopted in 1993.
In 1995 the first issue of the magazine Nukits was published.
In 2007 a competition was held to acquire a new logo: over one hundred entries were submitted. The winning work was a logo designed by the artist Joonas Sildre, depicting a reading Nukitsamees stepping up stairway made of books.
The Story of Nukitsamees
Oskar Luts, a beloved Estonian writer, wrote Nukitsamees (English title: Bumpy) at the beginning of the 20th century. The story was first published in 1920.
Nukitsamees is a fabulous fairytale of a sister and brother, Iti and Kusti, who get lost in the forest and end up in the household of a wicked old lady. There they find a little child with horns whom they start to call Nukitsamees (the man with the horns). During the time they are kept in the house they have to take care of the household and look after the boy. When they finally find a chance to escape, they decide to take Nukitsamees with them, but having reached home they start to understand that the little boy from the forest is different from them.
In 1981 the book Nukitsamees was made into a movie. The music for it was written by one of the most beloved Estonian composers, Olav Ehala. The movie as well as its music are as popular as the book itself.