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The following articles and/or books have been recommended by Montana ABLE colleagues for both personal and professional growth.  There are also some suggestions taken from NIFL Discussion Lists.  Click here to make a suggestion for the list.

Most current postings listed first.

Book/Article Comment
Posted 1/11/09  
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

I was cruising through some emails and thought I would share some info about a few Jodi Picoult books.

I enjoyed reading how the Amish and the English cultures found love and truth. Contrasts were shown between the English  legal system and the Amish way of life as the murder of a  newborn baby was unraveled. A lawyer also finds happiness as she admits her weaknesses and learns more about herself from a young girl who she defends. Surprise ending as to who murderd the baby.

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

Mercy by Jodi Picoult What would you do for love? This book is about more than romance. The story unfolds as one of the lovers is charged for murder for helping the other lover. Other moral and lusty relationships complicate the story as those who represent the law become involved.

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult A family becomes confused and somewhat dysfunctional as they fight the battle of keeping a sick family member alive. Conflict reigns as  moral issues creep into the life of the family. Another surprise ending as the problem is resolved in a heart wrenching accident. 

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult A child rebels, father tries to parent and the mother
withdraws to work. This story unfolds the father relates the story of his parenting challenges through a dark comic book hero and the mother participates in helping the girl in an unconventional way.

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie I don't know if  I liked the book because many of the  issues were presented in a comedy fashion yet they are real life problems that plague the  Native Americans. The teachers in Great Falls that have seen Sherman Alexie speak rave about his style and presentation.

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Great Story..... short, easy read. The book is great the
movie is good even though just a few messages were changed.

Submitted by Jackie Goldhahn, Great Falls

Posted 11/28/08  
Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar


Book Club idea.....Two books to use with students.....Math Doesn't Suck ( ) and also Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar. I believe she is an actress in the Wonder Years. She has so fun ways to explain math. These books are written more for girls. She also has a website

Laurel Kaae, Williston Adult Learning Center

Posted 11/23/08  
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks


Suggested book for ESL students

This is a book that I have used a few times in my esl reading classes. It is on a level that my students can understand, has an interesting story, and was made into a movie which can also be used in class. The students have also enjoyed the young adult novels we have used in class, such as "The Outsiders" and "Holes." Townsend Press also has many great books that are available at very reasonable prices.

Taken from English Language Discussion List

John Fox, Director of International Student Program, English Language Institute
Georgia Southwestern State University

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman Suggested book for ESL students

This book offers wonderful discussion possibilities on everyday life as well as the immigrant experience and American culture.  Short chapters can be stand alone readings but also add up to a very satisfying conclusion to the whole book.

Taken from English Language Discussion List

Sandy Jensen, Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Iowa, ABE/GED/ELL Manager

Posted 10/28/08  
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell This book is by the author of "The Tipping Point" which was a bestseller a few years ago. This book explores the science behind what we know in an instant, or the time it takes to blink. It has a lot of interesting anecdotes where the trained eye is shown to be as accurate in an instant, or even more accurate, than a whole team of scientists, researchers, and lawyers over 14 months. It reveals how our subconscious can be fooled and when we should listen to it. For every teacher who knows a lot about their students in the blink of an eye, and wonders where that knowledge comes from.

Dixie Stark, Hamilton

Jackalope Dreams by Mary Clearman Blew This story is set in a fictional Montana town that resembles Lewistown and sometimes Fort Benton, by the description of the surrounding area. Thisnovel explores the collision between the "Old West" and the "New West" with characters that I wanted to call the next week to see how they were doing, they seemed so real. This book includes some troubling themes, including molestation, suicide, and methamphetamine use. The author grew up on Spring Creek near Lewistown and is now a professor of writing at Moscow, Idaho. She
has also written "All But the Waltz" and "Sister Coyote".

Dixie Stark, Hamilton

Triangle by Katharine Weber This novel about the Triangle fire in 1911 in New York is a fascinating read. The fire was a seminal event in changing child labor laws and fire codes, after 146 people died in a fire on the 9th floor of a garment factory. There is a mystery intertwined with the book, and I found myself re-reading large sections of the book to solve the mystery. The novel is based on truth, and there are several interviews with the last survivor of the fire after she passed 100 years old.

Dixie Stark, Hamilton

Posted 10/27/08  
The New Teacher of Adults, A Handbook for Teachers of Adult Learners 2nd Edition by Michael Brady and Allen Lampert This book is ordered for all Adult Basic and Literacy Education teachers hired in the South Dakota. It is highly recommended to help teachers new to adult education frame their professional practice. I have ordered a copy and would like to share it with the field. Please contact me at  if you would like to borrow this book; it is a quick read, and I would enjoy hearing comments about the book. Maybe it will become a required Montana read!

Margaret Bowles, OPI

Tear Soup by Pat Schweiber and Chuck DeKlyen, illustrated by Taylor Bills.  It is an excellent book that explains in simple terms how different people deal with grief.  What’s unique about it is that it is easy to understand.  The illustrations are excellent, a must for any adult education program.

Kathy Jackson, Billings

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink "The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind ..."

Recommended by presenter Doug Johnson at MEA-MFT Conference

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki "Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant -- better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future ..."

Recommended by Lennox McLendon at Montana Leadership Academy