Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), from south Los Angeles, has a talent for words. In spite of the objections of her mother Wanda (Angela Bassett), Keke enters a spelling contest. Her gift takes her to compete in the National Spelling Bee, the most famous competition of its kind in the world. On the way, she is helped by a forthright, mysterious teacher, Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) and a cast of colorful characters from the community.
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