Questlove released The Rhythm Of Time on Tuesday, April 18, shortly after he launched Auwa Books, his imprint with MCD Books. The book is aimed toward preteen readers, but Questlove wrote it with one very specific kid in mind. He dedicated the book to his nine-year-old self, as he explained on The View this week.
“When I would travel with my parents, my father and mother, we were like basically the Black Partridge Family,” he said on the talk show. “My father was an oldies doo-wop legend back in the ’50s. I’d often read to them. Well, they would trick me into reading to them, and oftentimes, I’d pick books in which I didn’t see myself.”
He continued, “There’s a term, ‘alt-Black kids,’ where you might not talk the right language or you just look weird. I had weird hair, and I dressed weird. I wanted Black nerds to see themselves as well, so that’s kind of why I wrote the book.”
The Rhythm Of Time‘s official listing on Penguin Random House lays out the intricate plot:
“Seventh grader Rahim Reynolds loves testing out the gadgets invented by his brilliant friend Kasia Collins. First there were the X-ray glasses and all the trouble they caused. Now there’s the new cell phone she built for his birthday, even though his parents won’t let him have one. But Rahim is excited to use the phone to search for videos of his favorite old-school rap group. What he doesn’t know is the phone has a special battery that interfaces with a secret government satellite, which spells trouble when the phone transports him back to 1997. Almost immediately, he learns what every time traveler before him has: Actions in the past jeopardize the future. With Kasia as his only lifeline to the present, Rahim works with her to get home unscathed, all the while dodging bullies (on his end) and suspicious government agents (on hers).
Philadelphia in the late nineties is a new world for Rahim and Kasia, but it is a familiar place for Questlove, who, alongside S. A. Cosby, delivers a high-velocity tale where two best friends discover that sometimes the best beat is the one that brings you back home.”
Questlove further explained why The Rhythm Of Time is “the book I been dying to make for a decade” in an Instagram post:
Watch Questlove’s appearance on The View above.
The Rhythm Of Time is out now via Penguin Random House. Find more information here.