Cover final Ingramspark Front Cover.jpg

Harriet on Goodreads

The Worlds of Harriet Henderson

Add Harriet to your Goodreads bookshelf


Hover your cursor over the widget below and click on FULL SCREEN. Then you will be able to:

  1. read the first chapters of the book by USING THE ARROWS at the foot of the page

  2. read the book’s blurb by clicking on INFO

  3. watch a short video of 20 readers’ responses to the novel by clicking on VIDEO

  4. watch a short video of the making of the cover for the novel by clicking on VIDEO

  5. share the widget on social media (this would be doing me a big favour!) by clicking on SHARE



You should be able to order the book from any bookshop. Most have accounts with IngramSpark, the company that prints the book.

The bookshops below have copies in stock, or have had it in stock and can order it.

Or, if you live in Australia, you can send me an email at and for $24.95 (the RRP) I’ll post a paperback out to you

Click here to go to my Amazon Author page

These bookshops and online stores sell copies already. Most bookshops will be able to order it in. (2).png


An exquisite and engaging book which I loved. It’s a beautifully written work about the power of story, teachers and perseverance.
— Cris Tovani, US author and teacher
A novel that will appeal to English teachers because of the sophistication of the shifts in point of view and the beauty of the prose. A wonderful book.
— Emeritus Professor Brenton Doecke, Deakin University
I can’t imagine having anything to read that would be more life-affirming or more in tune with the values that inform our work as educators.
— Dr John Yandell, UCL Institute of Education, London, author & journal editor)
A story about a teacher, two students and a grandfather looking for the places where the openness can live, at least a little while, in an adult world of closures. A must for English teachers as they consider their commitments in these difficult teaching times.
— Dr Kim McCollum-Clark, Assoc Professor of English/English Education, Amazon review
It’s a warm, whimsical and cleverly constructed tale about inclusion and the power of story telling. It is fun to read, unfolding itself like an Escher drawing, and carries a touching message about the capacity for all children to learn, not just the so-called ‘good’ kids.
— Emily Yarra, organic farmer
I quickly became engrossed in the lives of the characters in this novel and its familiar, finely drawn settings. The story is a celebration of narrative and its ability to both make sense of the world(s) we inhabit and to simultaneously unsettle them. Shann’s novel reminded me why I teach, and what is possible in spite of the standards that now govern education.
— Natalie Bellis, Head of English, Warragul, Goodreads review
I read this book in two days (and they were workdays, mind you). It reads at once as a tribute to teaching and learning, and a critique of the educational system’s rigidity. There is something tender about the story, and the writing feels energetic and fundamentally optimistic. It made me feel innocent, somehow, and that was worth the read.
— emilianbooks, Canada
I purchased your book from Bookface at Gungahlin last weekend when I went to ride the light rail. I try to buy and support local (and by that I mean Canberran) authors as much as possible.This is one of those ‘can’t-put-it-down-till-I’ve-finished’ books and I want you to know I just loved it to bits. I hope you sell many many many copies, because people do need to read it
— Vanessa, comment left on my website
A beautifully written and sensitive novel that should be shared with every teacher, student, parent and principal you know.
— Rebecca Palethorpe, ACT teacher, Amazon review
This is a difficult book to review. I am VERY certain it would be very entertaining and interest to young adults. Four stars our of five
— Edna G, NetGalley reviewer
I found the book intriguing a lot. The book has many twists and turns. This book would appeal to young readers. Some of the strongest voices in the book are from teen characters. It’s a great story and an overall great read. Five stars out of five
— Reviewer 532530, NetGalley reviewer
I absolutely loved this book! I related to it on so many levels. The characters are wonderful; each with their own complexities and a realness that drew me in. Honestly, once I started reading, I could not put the book down. I read this when I was needing some inspiration – it gave me that. Thank you, Harriet!
— Rosie Grimm, teacher
The story helped me remember what it was like to be a struggling high school student and allowed me to reflect on the ways we learn. Most spectacularly, the book allowed me to marvel at the power of storytelling. It spoke to me on more levels than I can fit in this review and remains present in my mind weeks after reading it. I absolutely loved it and recommend it to others every chance I get.
— Sass Cocker, art therapist
I enjoyed this novel very much. It describes the inside of a world of English teaching, of a distinctive and now arguably threatened kind, which I recognise and recall.
— Emeritus Professor Bill Green
I finished the book at 2am - read in two straight settings with a meal and meeting in-between!! I haven’t done that for years. I was moved by Molly’s passion for her subject and students, and by her struggle to be with people and systems who seemed to have lost (or not yet discovered) the soul of their vocation, as well as her struggle to be with herself. I’d definitely offer this as a text for reflection if I were working with teachers and educational administrators
— - Dr Neil Millar, Center for Courage & Renewal, Canberra
I’ve Just finished ‘Harriet’ and I just loved it. Found it fascinating, thought provoking reread sections to mull over. Thoroughly enjoyed the zig zags. Today I’ve luxuriated in reading the last 12% and am now recommending ‘Harriet’ to friends both here and overseas.
— Mary Waters, Museum Collections Curator
What a wonderful world Steve allowed me to enter. His vision of the magic that can happen in classrooms is reflective of his enormous talents as a teacher, and inspirational for all dedicated teachers. His message of what teaching should be allowed to strive for is a message that politicians and those who claim to know teaching and teachers, should heed.
— Robyn Saunders, University of Canberra, Goodreads review
I have just finished ‘Harriet’ and enjoyed it very much. It’s obvious how much the written word means to the author. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships and thought they were very well drawn and sympathetic, particularly Harriet, Zeph and Molly.
— Michael Bourchier
This is a subtle and beautiful book that doesn’t shout at people, so much as lead them by the hand and let go of them in the middle of a labyrinth.
I wholeheartedly recommend ‘The Worlds of Harriet Henderson’. Every time you expect it to zig, it zags.
It reminded me what I love about teaching and English and stories. Especially stories.
— - CeCe Edwards, English teacher & author
This was a beautifully constructed book that took place on so many levels that it’s quite hard to describe what it’s really “about”. And yet it cohered so neatly around the ideas of story, myth, and their place in our lives.
— Tim Allan, ACT teacher, Goodreads review
This is a wonderful piece of work, a sophisticated novel beautifully penned. I recommend this novel wholeheartedly.
— Anila Komal
Captivating, thought-provoking, magical.
— Brooke Brown, teacher, Goodreads review
I stayed up after my three-month-old son’s 2am feed to finish this novel... not a choice a sleep-deprived mother would make for a lesser book! It spoke to me as both a reader and (English) teacher. I have 51 annotations of things that made me say, “This happens in my classroom!” or “I wish this happened in my classroom!”, or that I want to reflect on at greater length. I’ve also annotated some especially elegant phrases, because the writing is good, too.
— Ashleigh Gilbertson, teacher
Steve Shann’s story – I think it could be described as an allegory - shows us the transformative power of education, and by education I mean the experiences that allow a student to become different from what they were, to discover and build new parts of themselves, to draw out their particular latent talents.
— Terry Werner, ACT teacher (retired), Amazon review
A novel worth reading because deeply rooted in real-life experience and because radiating genuine love for the ‘art of teaching’ in all of its forms, not just the mere academic. Moreover, Dr Shann has a way with words…a way that goes through to the heart!
— Fede Maggioni, teacher, Amazon review
 I really connected with the characters and issues in this novel. There is a sense of wonder about the world. I think this novel will appeal to young adults and anyone close to the world of education. The ideas about learning and teaching are expansive, inspiring, inclusive. Not least, it is full of excellent advice about how to write well
— Jane Shipley, Amazon review
This is a marvellous book which I found hard to put down. The book is full of twists and turns as the young characters pursue the creative paths that give them life.
It is a book that should be read by any English teacher keen to remember why he or she got into the business of subject English as well as those who have a vision for what the world of imagination means for young learners. A must read!
I love the way the author has built up the complication at the heart of Molly’s approach to teaching English and the difficulty of institutional pressures to perform and demonstrate achievement that beset all who want to go for depth of understanding rather than tick the box demonstrations of ‘easy knowledge’. Molly the English teacher is a luminous figure for me.
— Dr. Mary Macken-Horarik, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University, Amazon review
Part 3 was an unexpected and a wonderful surprise. Harriet is a wonderful character to know. A rollicking read! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I really really enjoyed Part 4 and the resolution of all the threads. I think I want to be Molly!!!
— Verity Beman, English teacher
I found the book engaging, compelling with many strong voices. Some of the strongest voices in the book are from teen characters. It’s a great story and an overall great read. I enjoyed the book.
— Jim Mactier, Canadian reader, Goodreads review
I have recently had the pleasure of reading a first novel by the author of several non-fiction books, Steve Shann. and it is a very engaging read. The book blends fantasy and realism and the reader feels teased at times because it is by no means clear how things will resolve - until the last few pages. The characters are realistically presented, people whom we might meet each day. But all isn’t as it seems and a great deal of learning occurs particularly for Harriet, Zeph and their teacher, Molly.
— Chris Melican, educational consultant
It’s a story that has all sorts of stories inside it - and the concept of stories surfaces and resurfaces. People here have inner story worlds too. Books are windows, we learn, through which our characters can see and know and experience more about the world, as we readers are doing with this. Then there is the contested question of the real world and what that means. This is a book about the very many interdependencies and ways that the worlds of our imaginations and of our unconscious and of our yearnings and aspirations collide with the world of facts and verifiable rationalities. Yet the book is full of hope.
— Margaret Byrne, author & film maker, Amazon review
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