Pen Pals tells the story of Shelly, an 8-year-old girl who writes idealistic letters to the Ku Klux Klan. In 1981, a Chinese-American family moves to a conservative town in Virginia. Shelly is the only English-fluent member of her family, and is responsible for translations and communication with local adults on behalf of her parents. The Klan, who has targeted the family, doesn’t realize it’s communicating with an 8-year-old girl. Pen Pals is based on true events.