Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

The Devil’s Highway

by Stan Applegate
illustrated by James Watling

Travel along the dangerous Natchez Trace in 1811 with two brave and determined young pioneers as they search for their families.

Set in 1811 against the dramatic backdrop of the dangerous Natchez Trace, this exciting historical novel tells the story of fourteen-year-old Zeb and eleven-year-old Hannah who team up to make their way safely down the trail from Franklin, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. Zeb, who does not believe the story he hears that his grandfather was killed by thieves along the trail, is determined to find him. Hannah, who miraculously escaped from the treacherous Mason gang, hopes to be reunited with both her Choctaw Indian friends and her family.

When the two daring young adventurers reach the Choctaw village, Zeb is befriended by the Indians and is rewarded for his bravery through initiation into the tribe. Reuniting Hannah with her family is only half of Zeb’s goal. Can he find his grandfather? Is he even still alive?

As the children narrowly escape life-threatening situations along their journey, Zeb and Hannah learn to value each other’s survival skills, courage, and determination.

Paperback: $8.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-184-5
Total Pages: 148
Size: 6 x 9
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-851-6
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 32713
AR Reading Level: 4.5
AR Points: 7

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: T
F&P Grade: 5

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 5.2
Reading Counts Points: 10
Reading Counts Interest Level: 6-8


“A fast-paced story set against the backdrop of the Natchez Trace in the early 1800s…. Broad strokes of historical details enrich the storyline. Zeb and Hannah are able to sustain themselves, and the plot, with their pluck and determination.” ―School Library Journal

“This story moves quickly and should be a good read for reluctant readers.” ―Kliatt


Georgia Author of the Year (Best of Middle Reader Division) ―Georgia Writers Association 1998

Volunteer State Book Awards (master list, 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2000-2001

Best Books for Young Teen Readers ―R. R. Bowker

Meet the Author

Stan Applegate holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University and Columbia University. He worked in education for many years, as a teacher, as chief of education science and technology for USAID in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, for the office of American affairs in education, and as vice president for research and sponsored programs at the University of South Carolina. He lives in Georgia.

Meet the Illustrator

James Watling lives in Canada, where he is a professor of art education at McGill University. He has illustrated over twenty-five books for children.