Author helps kids deal with loss
By TIM ZATZARINY
Washington Township resident Dorette Rota-Jackson wrote the
children's book My WishRock and along with her company developed
the book's companion rock to help children cope with the loss
of loved ones.
was a child, Dorette Rota-Jackson's father would tuck her in
at night with a simple, reassuring thought based on an old tale.
the Man in the Moon," he would say. "I'll always be
again found comfort in those words after her father died from
lung cancer in 1998. But her 3-year-old son, Brett, at first
couldn't understand where his grandfather had gone. "I
told him, `he's always with us. He's the Man in the Moon,"
she decided to put into writing the tale that reassured her
and her son. The result is My WishRock, a story about a boy
who wishes upon a star to be able to talk to his late grandfather.
When the star falls to Earth, the boy ends up with a chunk of
the star in the form of a magical rock. When he finds himself
on a pirate ship, he uses the rock and the help of the Man in
the Moon to defeat the pirates. "Because his grandfather
is with him, he can always meet the challenges," Rota-Jackson
book is sold with a polished stone called a WishRock, a "magical"
pouch, and a "mystical" treasure box.
nephew, Michael, gave her the idea for the WishRock after he
came over to console her son about the death of his hamster
in July. Both boys collect rocks; Rota-Jackson's nephew called
them " wish rocks" and gave one from his collection
to her son to cheer him up.
43, thought using a rock would be a tangible way to spread a
positive message to children: "You can dream. You can wish
upon a star," she said. "It's those traditions that
and four family members, including her husband Bob, formed WishRock
Enterprises LLC late last year.
the company introduced its product at The Philadelphia Gift
and Novelty Show, a trade convention.
at three Philadelphia hospitals - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Thomas Jefferson
University Hospital - now carry My WishRock. My WishRock also
can be found at various gift shops in South Jersey and Pennsylvania.
It also is available from the company's Web site.
has a purpose, unlike its faddish '70s ancestor, the Pet Rock,
Rota-Jackson said. "This is more of a motivational, inspirational
mechanism to get parents and kids to talk about topics such
as self- esteem and responsibility. It is a reminder to teach
our children to care--for themselves and others--and to believe
that they can--and do--make a difference."
the company hopes to someday turn a profit, "we're not
approaching this as businesspeople," Bob Jackson said.
" We're approaching it as parents. (The My WishRock message)
is something children can remember and adapt to their lives."
to see whether the first installment will take off, Rota-Jackson
is already planning to turn My WishRock into a series based
on motivational messages for children. She's shooting for the