Tanager George, who now makes his home in Worcester, Mass. said he was inspired to create “CityLand” because when he was a kid, it’s the type of book he would have loved, featuring big, colorful pictures of cities with lots of trains, planes and vehicles.

A 2013 Mount Shasta High School graduate is the author and illustrator of a children’s book that shares the wonder of big cities and bustling spaces.

Tanager George, who now makes his home in Worcester, Mass. said he was inspired to create “CityLand” because when he was a kid, it’s the type of book he would have loved, featuring big, colorful pictures of cities with lots of trains, planes and vehicles.

“I grew up drawing buildings and fantasy vehicles,” George said. “With my LEGOs I built structures I encountered in real life like airports and train stations.”

Living in the rural setting of Mount Shasta, a rare trip to the city left George “in awe,” he said, as he watched huge cranes pick up steel beams and trains packed with passengers rush by on the tracks.

The book features nine large scenes including an airport, a shopping mall, a train station and a freeway interchange.

Each illustration is accompanied by a glossary page with pictures and fun descriptions of the mini scenes inside the city.

“‘CityLand’ is meant to quench curiosity and inspire children to read and draw,” said George. “I decided to write a children’s book because I was working as a children’s English tutor in Seoul, South Korea for the last two years,” said George, who also attended College of the Siskiyous after graduating from MSHS.

“I read a lot of books to kindergarten through 12th grade students and I decided I could probably make my own book that kids would like,” George said.

The day he decided to create a children’s book is still clear in his head.

“It was fall in Seoul, South Korea and I had just finished a class with two of my students, Sean and Brian Lee. I was walking back from their house ... thinking about the book we had just read together: a children’s picture book about cars and trucks and such. Both of the boys had loved the book and they seemed to have infinite questions about the features and purposes of each car we read about. They were so fascinated by it and it made me recall my childhood where I would obsess over any book about airplanes or airports.”

George said it dawned on him that it was within the realm of his talents to create a children's book of his own.

“I had always wanted to make a book. In college I had tried my hand at edgy emotional fiction and had finished some hundreds of pages of various novels but they have sat unedited in my cloud drive since,” George said.

He soon realized that writing a children’s book presented more opportunities.

“A children’s picture book you can pick up and know if you like it or not almost instantly based on the pictures. In children’s books the words are important but an afterthought,” said George. “I began the first drawing later that week.”

The first drawing he completed was of a busy downtown street.

“The inspiration for this drawing came from Geongdeok Junction in Mapo, Seoul,” said George. “I was visiting this busy intersection almost every day for work and the scale of the buildings was always breathtaking. The real Geongdeok is far more impressive than the drawing, with five lanes on each road and four different subway lines intersecting under the street.”

George explained that in Seoul, flat land to build on is always at a premium, so buildings on main streets are usually miniature malls with the first four floors and bottom two basement floors filled with shops, cafes, barber shops, doctors offices and dentist offices.

“A few of the most choice places I ate at would be on the basement floor of some nondescript office building,” he said.

“The second drawing I did was the one I know I would have loved the most when I was a child: the airport,” George said.

His inspiration came from the Sacramento International Airport, which is the one he flew through during most of his childhood and a place he was always excited to visit.

“Like in the drawing, the design of the airport is nothing special. Just a simple concourse built in the late 80s. However its simple layout was very nostalgic for me,” he said.

Since growing up and having air travel become a norm for him, George said his love for air travel “has dimmed a bit.”

“While I will never not be impressed by an airbus A380 or a long line of tails sitting at the gate, I now am forced to associate air travel with long lines, invasive security procedures, misleading fees and most importantly, the very negative effect it has on our environment,” he said.

However, George said Seoul-Incheon airport “is one of the best airports in the world,” describing it as “huge, but cozy,” with fast lines, even for immigration and staff.

George said he did everything that went into printing the book.

“On my way back from Korea I visited Guangzhou, China, where I met my printing manager and received the first copy of my book. The company I worked with was great. They were super helpful and showed me a great time in China, but for my next book I would really like to print in America.”

George said he is looking forward to getting started on his next book, which will probably also be a picture book in a similar vein as “CityLand.”

To order the soft cover book for $13, go to www.citylandbooks.com.