Personally, I like the English Firsthand series. I find that the books are attractive and well written. There are many good activities in the books. Not every idea is wonderful, but there is enough there to enliven any novice to intermediate classroom. One drawback is that these books are primarily conversation-based so they're not so strong in presenting grammar or vocabulary. To make up for this i would recommend combining EF with bits and bobs from a good grammar book (like grammar in Use) and vocab book (like the Oxford Picture Dictionary).
EF may not be perfect, but I find it to be the best conversation-based textbooks that I've used.
Eric from Japan
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