I've been working on another educational book assignment during my off hours. This one is those high-interest publications for grade school students about Predators! With an exclamation point. These assignments come up from time to time, they're usually quick work for me, and they help keep my hand in when it comes to publishing. I do have a goal of having 100 books published with my name on them, and I think I've got less than twenty titles to go.
Because these books are designed to be slotted into school curriculums, they tend to follow similar patterns: a series of short, to-the-point, action-heavy chapters highlighting some key facts, and finishing off with links to further resources, such as websites, or other books to read.
Unfortunately, this latter part has become more challenging in recent years. The publishers want to offer up links to other educational and age-appropriate books. It goes without saying that they should be professionally published. It used to be an easy thing to do a search on your subject matter in Amazon's children's book category and select some of the most recent titles that are there. Unfortunately, with Amazon's embrace of independent publishing (not that I'm objecting to people having a venue to publish what they wish), the noise-to-signal ratio has gotten to the point where professionally-made alternate titles are hard to find -- especially if your publisher (reasonably) asks that the alternate material be up-to-date and not published before, say, 2017. The same is unfortunately true with finding additional web resources, though links to more general sites such as the San Diego Zoo usually serve.
It was during this search for alternative resources about spiders that I discovered this link deep, deep within my Google Search on educational resources about spiders. Spiders of Toronto appears to have been published some years ago (this site suggests 2013) as part of the City of Toronto Biodiversity Series. It goes on at length about the spiders we're likely to find in the city and the ecological benefits they provide. Along the way, it busts a few myths and tries to change a few minds.
Unfortunately, I can't point to this publication as an alternative resource, as it's too old for the audience. It's also something of an accident that I'd found it; I don't think it's even meant to be there.
I hadn't heard about this series, but there are other publications, including for birds, trees, shrubs and vines, fishes, butterflies, mammals, and reptiles and amphibians, all on the City of Toronto website. What I haven't found, at least with what searching I've done, is the landing page that links to all of these publications. This suggests to me that this page has been overwritten or vanished, leaving the PDF publications behind on the server, to be stumbled upon by accident as I did.
I always enjoy such discoveries of Internet treasures that would otherwise be lost and forgotten. Indeed, I'm thinking they might be worth downloading and saving, possibly until the Toronto Archives is ready to accept them for preservation...